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It has been evident for many years that no authoritative, reliable, and up-to-date reference work on Buddhism yet exists in any language. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism aims to fill that gap with a comprehensive work, presented in two phases: a series of six thematic volumes including an index volume, addressing issues of global and regional importance, to be followed by an ever-expanding online resource providing access both to synthetic and comprehensive treatments and to more individuated details on persons, places, texts, doctrinal matters, and so on.
Illustrated with maps and photographs, and supplemented with extensive online resources, the print version of the thematic encyclopedia will present the latest research on the main aspects of the Buddhist traditions in original essays written by the world’s foremost scholars. The encyclopedia aims at a balanced and even-handed view of Buddhist traditions, presenting the most reliable accounts of well-known issues and filling gaps in heretofore-neglected areas. In doing so, it emphasizes that Buddhism is simultaneously constituted by a plurality of regional traditions and a far-reaching phenomenon spanning almost all of Asia, and more recently far beyond as well.
Volume I, published in 2015, surveys Buddhist literatures, scriptural and nonscriptural, and offers discussions of the languages of Buddhist traditions and the physical bases (manuscripts, epigraphy, etc.) available for the study of Buddhist literatures. Subsequent volumes will address issues of personages, communities, history, life and practice, doctrine, space and time, and Buddhism in the modern world.

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Tamás Turán

Abstract

Research on Hebrew manuscript fragments retrieved from bookbindings started in the second half of the 19th century, some earlier forays into this field notwithstanding. Austria-Hungary played an important role in this field of research for its first hundred years – a fact that deserves attention. This pioneering research in Austria-Hungary was made possible by a recognition and appreciation of the importance of minor source materials (‘small finds’) by local scholars, and was characterized by a historical – rather than a literary-historical – interest in this source material. This article explores the particular historical and cultural factors which contributed to this regional development.