ProjectProblems of Ascription in the Corpus of Paramārtha: A Computational Philological Study

Paramārtha 真諦 (6th century) was one of the greatest translators of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. The corpus of “translations” ascribed to him is of great significance for the history of Buddhist texts and doctrines both in India, and in China. However, this corpus is riddled with problems relating to the ascription and nature of the texts. The received corpus certainly contains several false ascriptions; other texts are in fact not translations at all, but rather, were composed in China; and, by analogy to other similar cases, it is possible that other texts, in fact by Paramārtha, are hidden in the modern canon under ascriptions to other translators. This project addresses these problems systematically, using a suite of computational philological tools (TACL) developed by both Michael Radich and the late programmer Jamie Norrish over the past decade, and associated philological methods, the worth of which has already been demonstrated in a series of publications.

Screenshot of TACL backend