On Critics and New Texts

Parts 1 and 2 of the present dictionary (CPD) were welcomed by Professor Meillet (BSL XXVII: 2,44; XXX: 3,73), and in the same Bulletin (XXXIII: 3,26) Professor Jules Bloch gave an account of parts 3—4, kindly mentioning our attempts to apply metrical criteria, as well as other features of 'critical' endeavour. In spite of the reservations in our preface (p. X 1. 25 foll.; 'lower criticism' = niedere Textkritik = critique verbale) the title "critical dictionary" has given offence to English ears, and our last reviewer (JBAS 1933 : 435—437) quaintly interprets it as if our primary concern was a criticism of the Pāli Text Society's Pāli-English Dictionary (PED) — "that corpus vile for "critical" pre-occupation" (p. 436,4). Of course, a lexicographic work, proceeding — slowly — from about 1870 (Preface p. IX) to the present day, must take notice of its "elder sister" from (1916) 1921—1925, and we have often met with inaccurate references and perplexing word-analysis (contrasting with most useful philosophical contributions), but we had no time for correcting systematically (not even the 46 pp of PED corresponding to CPD 1—234), nor for accurate statistics as to misprints or mistakes of predecessors (as in PED, Afterword p. 202,7), nor yet for calculating the percentage — CPD contra PED — of negatives in a- an- (JBAS 1933: 436,2). We take as compliments the reviewer's remarks about proper names (436,1) and compound nouns (436,9), and we do not cavil at inconsistencies in the allegory about 'Sisters' and 'Godmothers', fancy being admissible in fairy-tales; but it is a matter of regret that, of the two things expected from a book-review, viz. a characterization of the work and advice to the workers (desiderata), the former has been obscured by uncalled-for comparisons, and the latter condensed into an injunction ex cathedra to "keep severely to philology, and shun general statements about Buddhist ideas inserted without historical safeguards" (437,4).

Our well-meaning critics all unite in kindly regretting the small output of seven years (2 fascc. in 1926—30, one fasc. yearly in 1931—33). We too regret that we have had other work to delay us (one of us Saddanīti I—III in 1928—30), and still more we deplore that our list of corrections and additions — to be published at the end of the vowel-volume: A-O — exceeds 500 entries for pp. 1—234, this chiefly from re-testing Ct.s and from a closer analysis of classical passages, to a lesser extent from entirely new books.

[p.XXVIII] For — thanks to the Pāli Text Society, the Simon Hewavitarne Bequest, and the Siamese Government — after 1926 there remained very few Pāli classics to edit. Nevertheless we obtained from Ceylon: first editions of Cp-a, Th-a II, Suttas-a, and the first complete Paṭis-a, besides the first reliable text of Ap (by A. P. Buddhadatta).

From Burma: first editions of Mp-ṭ, Vism-mhṭ, a complete Sp-ṭ, and a MS of Ja-pṭ.

From Siam, as a Government gift: the new Tipiṭaka, and a Vism-mhṭ with useful pratīka-indexes.

The Pāli Text Society gave but one first edition (JRAS 1933: 436,16 uses a different terminology), viz. Buddhadatta's Manuals II (Vin-vn, Utt-vn with full index), but, besides the concluding volume of Professor Geiger's wonderful Mahāvaṁsa work (Cūlavaṁsa II), it has brought out about 4500 pages of Ct.s, known before in Colombo and Bangkok prints, so that within two or three years, the whole of the Aṭṭhakathā will be referred to here as "page and line of Ee".

As a matter of course, we are adopting Ee references as soon as the editions reach us, but the oriental prints must still be consulted, for:

is more scientific than Ps-Ee, which (in vol. II—III) only gives an eclectic text from three oriental editions;
does not always improve on Ce (Se), and its readings have not been checked by reference to Mp-ṭ;
Sv-Ee (II-III),
a most disappointing piece of work, is of little use without Se (Ce) and the pṭ;
suffers from underrating of the ṭīkās (Vjb, Sp-ṭ, Vmv), and the Chinese translation does not seem to have improved our text as yet.

Only the editor of Ud-a and Spk has tried to compensate inferior MS tradition by a systematic study of parallels. Unfortunately the ṭīkās on Spk are scarce works; we have none, and surely Mr. Woodward would have made constant use of ṭīkās if available in full, as he is well aware of the importance and the antiquity of the mṭ and pṭ class (see Ud-a 94,9 and cp. Ud-a 22,22—23,16 pṭ on Sv I 33,14-34). We are, personally, indebted to Mrs. Rhys Davids for having introduced us to Professor Maung Tin, thus facilitating our access to ṭīkā editions, and we thank our Rangoon friends for Ja-pṭ, useful (besides Ja-pot) as an instrument of exegesis, and interesting as (probably) the source of early interpolations in the Jātakaṭṭhakathā (Ja VI 12,21' = pṭ; 110,33' [tud°] = pṭ; I 135,18'-19' [cat° . . . rājā] = pṭ; 418,5 ≠ pṭ).

Since Indian and European editions will continue to help out each other, we are sorry that our appeal (Preface p. IX 1. 24) as to Se page-numbers has met with no sympathy. It is a pity that the handy text-references — "[3810]" and the like before pratīkas — introduced by the American editor of Ps I (or at least page-references as employed by the Indian editors of Paṭis-a-Ee Nidd-a-Ee) have not been adopted by English, German, and Japanese co-workers. No system of sigla [p. XXIX] — like that of Feer (SN), Fausbøll (Sn), and Rhys Davids (Sv I), which we tried to complete CPD p. XVII 17-23 — has been imposed on PTS-editors; some have two sets of foot-notes, others mix up parallels with various readings; some (e.g. Sp) are allowed to give the Pāli as we generally write and analyse Sanskrit, Prākrit and neo-Indian, others puzzle the beginner with the pāli shibboleth ŋ, and with padacchedas such as ogadha appattā paṭigadh' appattā (Spk I 295,4), susiraŋ nāma vaŋs' ādi-ghaṇaŋ nāma sammādi (Sv II 617,6), uttar' itara-ñāṇo (Sv III 878,20), c'anuppajjanti. . . visikhā-sucariyânuyuttatā (ib. 945,1 ... 3), kappa-tidvaṅgulaṃ kappo (ib. 962,4).

After these frank remarks on the welcome, but hurried, editions of the Aṭṭhakathā, we profess unreserved admiration for the PTS Translation Series, that truly 'critical' part of the Society's work, and express our gratitude to scholars like Maung Tin and Wilhelm Geiger, and to the General Editor, who created this series in 1909, and gave the example, philologically and esthetically, by her Psalms of the Sisters.

I — VIII — 1933.
The Editors.