St. John Damascene: Barlam and Ioasaph

St. John Damascene: Barlam and Ioasaph

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St. John Damascene: Barlam and Ioasaph

St. John Damascene: Barlam and Ioasaph

Read FREE!

Excerpt

There is no doubt that the author of Barlaam and Ioasaph himself regarded his story as a true narrative of the lives of real characters and that this view was universally held until quite recent times. The names of Saint Barlaam and Saint Ioasaph have figured in the Calendars both of the Roman and of the Greek Church and still retain their place in the latter. To-day, however, this view can be no longer held. A comparison of the story with the well- known legend of Buddha must convince every open- minded reader, that the outline of the plot is derived from the same Eastern source; in spite of all difference in detail, the general resemblance is quite undeniable. The writer himself tells us, that the story was brought to him from India, and it is highly probable, that what he heard was simply a version of the life of Buddha, adapted by Christians of the East to their own use. But we should be going too far, if we sought for traces of Buddhist influence in the doctrinal teaching of the story. No real relationship has ever yet been proved between Christian and Buddhist monasticism; in fact, in spite of certain obvious resemblances, the two differ profoundly in . . .

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