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These files are transcriptions of a series of articles written by Albert J. Edmunds in support of his thesis that the early Christian movement grew at least partially out of the influence of Buddhist missionaries on the religious thought of the Levant. Although he strenuously denies that this is his object in the prefatory note, he went on to develop that thesis at much greater length after these articles were published. (I hope to be able to provide some of his later work in the future.)

Edmunds was a convinced Protestant, and although he was of the 'liberal' stripe, his translations are highly suspect due to his overwhelming desire to show parallels. He uses the word God to translate Brahmâ throughout, and even uses 'Kingdom of God' to translate the phrase that others render 'Brahmâ-world'. (See the fourth section of the second series.) He also uses the word 'angels' where others translate 'god' in a further effort to remake the polytheism of ancient India. (See the second section of the third series.) There are also clues to the influence of 'spiritualism' on Edmunds interpretations; see his explanation of the phrase "diffuse his Benevolence" by "projection of affectionate thought-waves toward all creatures." (See the fourth section of the third series.)

While none of these interpretations/translations may be outright 'wrong', they do, taken as a whole and with the weight of two thousand years of Christian tradition, create the impression that Buddhism is actually a sort of crypto-Christianity, an interpretation which goes against the grain of nearly all Buddist scholarship, secular and religious, eastern and western, modern and Victorian. Being what they are, these articles are interesting as an example of how far people are willing to go to see what they want to see, and of the tendency for a liberal 'religious dialogue' to become the co-opting of one tradition by another. All cross-cultural understanding, however, is founded on a dialogue of 'parallels', and this is a genuine attempt. Although the influence of this particular line of thinking appears to have waned, the book of history is never closed, and stranger ideas than these have resurfaced in our time.

In spite of his predispositions, Edmunds was a competent scholar of the Pâli language (if not of philosophy), and his translations are viable if one is aware of his slant. In some cases, his versions are the only ones that are indisputably in the public domain at this time. Most of the 'parallels' in his series are short extracts, but there are a few of substantial length. These are of course far more valuable (and less suceptible to mistranslation), and have been marked with bold type in the links below.

(This page and the entire markup package are copyright May, 2002 Christopher M. Weimer, and are freely distributable for noncommercial use.)

Index of Articles

JournalVol., No.Month, YearPagesArticle
Gospel Parallels from Pâli Texts
OCXIV, 2Feb., 1900114-118First Series
OCXIV, 4Apr., 1900246-250Second Series
OCXIV, 6June, 1900358-363Third Series
OCXIV, 10Oct., 1900628-633'The Penitent Thief' (Fourth Series)
OCXV, 1Jan., 190143-45Fifth Series
OCXV, 7July, 1901428-432Buddha's Discourse on the End of the World (Sixth Series)
OCXVI, 9Sept., 1902559-561Seventh Series
OCXVI, 11Nov., 1902684-688Eighth Series
Related Articles by Edmunds
OCXII, 8Aug., 1898485-490The Canonical Account of the Birth of Gotama the Buddha (including further notes)
Mon.XIV, 2Jan., 1904207-214A Buddhist Genesis (including further notes)


Table of Sources

Vinaya-Pitaka Mahâvagga I. 10, 11
Kullavagga V. 6
V. 8
VII. 3
IX. 1
X. 1
Sutta-Pitaka Dîgha-Nikâya 12
16, p. 23
16, p. 46
Majjhima-Nikâya 22
Anguttara-Nikâya I. 13
I. 15
I. 17
I. 19
III. 60
III. 80
IV. 33
VI. 24
V. 79
V. 132
VII. 62
Khuddaka-Nikâya Udana I. 7
V. 5
VI. 1
Itivuttaka 22
Sutta Nipâta 557

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