Bakhshali manuscript


Bakhshali manuscript

The Bakhshali Manuscript is a mathematical manuscript written on birch bark which was found near the village of Bakhshali in 1881 in what was then the North-West Frontier Province of British India (now Pakistan). The manuscript is incomplete, with only seventy leaves of birch bark, many mere scraps, remaining.

Its date is uncertain, and has generated considerable debate. Most scholars agree that the physical manuscript is a copy of a more ancient text, so that the dating of that ancient text is possible only based on the content. Recent scholarship dates it between the 2nd c. BCE and the 3d c. CE; Ian Pearce summarizes the positions::Gurjar discusses its date in detail, and concludes it can be dated no more accurately than 'between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD'. He offers compelling evidence by way of detailed analysis of the contents of the manuscript (originally carried out by R Hoernle). His evidence includes the language in which it was written ('died out' around 300 AD), discussion of currency found in several problems, and the absence of techniques known to have been developed by the 5th century. Further support of these dates is provided by several occurrences of terminology found only in the manuscript, (which form the basis of a paper by M Channabasappa). []

See also

*Bakhshali approximation
*Indian mathematics
*Zero (number)

References

External links

* [http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Bakhshali_manuscript.html The Bakhshali manuscript]
* [http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Miscellaneous/Pearce/Lectures/Ch6.html 6 – The Bakhshali manuscript]


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