Gāndhārī Language and Literature

Gāndhārī is a northwestern Middle Indo‐Aryan language closely related to Sanskrit and Pali, attested in use from the third century BCE to the fifth century CE. It served as one of the most important vehicles for early Buddhist literature and was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism to China in the second century CE. Gāndhārī was also an important administrative language, attested in hundreds of coin legends and close to a thousand secular documents, and some examples of non‐Buddhist literary texts in Gāndhārī have likewise been found. In the course of their history, Gāndhārī language and literature spread from their homeland in the Peshawar valley as far as Mathura in the south, Bamiyan in the west, Luoyang in the east and Kucha in the north. Over the last twenty years, the discovery of large numbers of new manuscript and epigraphical sources have greatly enriched our knowledge of Gāndhārī. Gandhari.org provides resources for those engaged in the study of Gāndhārī, including three reference works edited by Stefan Baums and Andrew Glass (A Dictionary of Gāndhārī, the Bibliography of Gāndhārī Studies and the Catalog of Gāndhārī Texts) and their comprehensive collection of source texts.

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