Bhagavad Gita: Difference between revisions

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Theories on the date of the composition of the ''Gita'' vary considerably. Scholars accept dates from the firstfifth century to the second century CEBCE as the probable range, the latter likely. The Hinduism scholar [[Jeaneane Fowler]], in her commentary on the ''Gita'', considers second century CEBCE to be the probable date of composition.{{sfn|Fowler|2012|page=xxiv}} J. A. B. van Buitenen too states that the Gita was likely composed about 200 CEBCE.{{sfn|J.A.B. van Buitenen|2013|pp=6, Quote: "ca. 200 CEBC is a likely date".}} According to the Indologist [[Arvind Sharma]], the ''Gita'' is generally accepted to be a 2nd-century CEBCE text.{{sfn|Sharma|1986|p=3}}
[[File:Kurukshetra.jpg|right|thumb|upright=1.2|alt=An old torn paper with a painting depicting the Mahabharata war, with some verses recorded in Sanskrit.|A manuscript illustration of the battle of Kurukshetra, fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, recorded in the ''Mahabharata''.]]
Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, in contrast, dates it a bit earlier. He states that the ''Gita'' was always a part of the ''Mahabharata'', and dating the latter suffices in dating the ''Gita''.{{sfn|Upadhyaya|1998|pages=16–18}} On the basis of the estimated dates of ''Mahabharata'' as evidenced by exact quotes of it in the Buddhist literature by [[Asvaghosa]] (c. 100 CE), Upadhyaya states that the ''Mahabharata'', and therefore ''Gita'', must have been well known by then for a Buddhist to be quoting it.{{sfn|Upadhyaya|1998|pages=16–18}}{{refn|group=note|According to the Indologist and Sanskrit literature scholar [[Moriz Winternitz]], the founder of the early Buddhist [[Sautrāntika]] school named Kumaralata (1st-century CE) mentions both ''Mahabharata'' and ''Ramayana'', along with early Indian history on writing, art and painting, in his ''[[Sanskrit Buddhist literature|Kalpanamanditika]]'' text. Fragments of this early text have survived into the modern era.<ref>{{cite book|author=Moriz Winternitz|authorlink=Moriz Winternitz|title=A History of Indian Literature: Buddhist literature and Jaina literature|url= |year=1996|publisher=Motilal Banarsidass |isbn=978-81-208-0265-0|pages=258–259}}</ref>}} This suggests a ''[[:wikt:terminus ante quem|terminus ante quem]]'' (latest date) of the ''Gita'' to be sometime prior to the 1st-century CE.{{sfn|Upadhyaya|1998|pages=16–18}} He cites similar quotes in the Dharmasutra texts, the ''[[Brahma sutras]]'', and other literature to conclude that the ''Bhagavad Gita'' was composed in the firstfifth or seconsfourth century CEBCE.{{sfn|Upadhyaya|1998|pages=17–19}}{{refn|group=note|The Indologist [[Étienne Lamotte]] used a similar analysis to conclude that the ''Gita'' in its current form likely underwent one redaction that occurred in the 3rd- or 2nd-century BCE.<ref>{{cite book|author=Étienne Lamotte|title=Notes sur la Bhagavadgita| publisher=Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner|year=1929|pages=126–127}}</ref>}}
According to Arthur Basham, the context of the ''Bhagavad Gita'' suggests that it was composed in an era when the [[Dharma-yuddha|ethics of war]] were being questioned and renunciation to monastic life was becoming popular.<ref name=basham1991p95/> Such an era emerged after the rise of [[Buddhism]] and [[Jainism]] in the 5th-century BCE, and particularly after the semi-legendary life of [[Ashoka]] in 3rd-century BCE. Thus, the first version of the ''Bhagavad Gita'' may have been composed in or after the 3rd-century BCE.<ref name=basham1991p95>{{cite book|author=Arthur Llewellyn Basham|title=The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism| url= |year =1991| publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-507349-2|pages=95–96}}</ref>