The Wisdom of Balahvar A Christian Legend of the Buddha
Originally published in 1957 and forming a companion volume to The Balavariani, this volume provides valuable research into the biography of Gautama Buddha and its influence on medieval Christian thought. This work, the romance of Barlaam and Josaphat, was included by Caxton in The Golden Legend and inspired the episode of the Caskets in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice; its heroes were venerated as Saints. Over a century ago, however, the legend was finally identified as an adaptation of episodes from the life and ministry of the Buddha. The first part of the book is devoted to tracing the development and migration of the Barlaam and Josaphat legend from its original Buddhist environment to the West. The second part is a translation of the Georgian text – the first published in any Western European language. The volume therefore gives one of the oldest Near Eastern versions of the story.
Part 1: From Bodhisattva to Saint Josaphat: The Metamorphosis of a Legend 1. The Indian Background 2. The Manichaean Evidence 3. The Arabic Versions 4. The Georgian Versions 5. St. Euthymius the Georgian and the Greek Barlaam Romance. Pedigree of Barlaam and Josaphat. Part 2: The Wisdom of Balahvar Translated from the Old Georgian Version. The Fables. Further Fables of Balahvar, Translated from the Jerusalem Georgian Text. Dogs and Carrion. Physician and the Patient. The Sun of Wisdom. Postscript: Mr. Graves, Mr. Podro and the Kashmir Shrine.