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Stratifying the Mahābhārata

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The Textual Position of the Bhagavadgītā

image of Indo-Iranian Journal

Disputed authorship and text transfer are notorious problems in the textual transmission of Sanskrit, especially for large anonymous texts such as the Mahābhārata. Stratification methods for such texts have so far mainly relied on manuscriptology, higher textual criticism, and scattered historical evidence. This paper introduces a quantitative method for text stratification that uses frequent linguistic features for inducing authorial layers in Sanskrit texts. The proposed method is tested with texts whose authorial composition is known, and then applied to the Bhīṣmaparvan of the Mahābhārata.

Affiliations: 1: Düsseldorf University


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