[quote="ancientbuddhism"]One example could be that unicorn of Buddhist studies called ‘Early Buddhism’, led by such thinkers as Venerables Ñāṇavira Thera, Ñāṇananda, Analayo, Sujato et al
Exactly! Where does "early" Buddhism end and "late" Buddhism begin? I see the phrase "early Buddhism" etc... all the time, but rarely a discussion of the time-line. The implication is the earlier the better, and non-Buddhist scholars seem use the phrase with an eye to educate us mere practitioners and relieve us of our superstitions.
the early, EARLY Buddhism! None of this contaminated religiosity.
It reminds me of the lady who would only read the words in her Bible in red
because she wanted the undiluted Jesus. The flip side, however, is that you need some idea of the terrain before you set out exploring. This is where a trustworthy, reliable, map comes in. You know it doesn't exactly
match the territory but you trust your conviction that the people who made it understood it enough to make a map of it for others.
But mere textual analysis is like map making without having been there. Or, is there more validity to non-Buddhist scholarship than the my analogy suggest?