By Tamar Chana Reich
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Extra resources for A BATTLEFIELD OF A TEXT INNER TEXTUAL INTERPRETATION IN THE SANSKRIT MAHABHARATA
The editors of the critical edition have not gi ven equal weight to each of these possibilities. Why? Before we go into this, however, it must be clear that at issue are only deliberate omissions. The manuscripts contain many cases of accidental omission, and these are easily identifiable. For example: often the reason for the omission is evident, as with the common scribal error of skipping to the next occurrence of a repeated opening formula. In such cases the similarity has caused the scribe's eye to skip down a portion of the text.
This, unfortunatly, is in principle impossible to do since every verse that occurs in all the manuscripts could theoretically be a universal insertion. I can, however, do the second best thing to it. I can point to a concrete example that proves that universal insertion is very very likely. Consider the following. All cases in which only some of the manuscripts contain a passage can theoretically be placed along a continuum. Obviously, the fewer the manuscripts (or branches of manuscripts) in which the problem passage appears the more certain can we be that expansion has occurred.
2. Expansions and Omissions 15 The critical editors of the Mahlibharata considered passages which occur in some branch or branches of the manuscripts and not in all of them to be most probabl y 13S ukthankar 1933, lxxxviii- xci. 14S ukthankar 1933, xxxviii. 15S ukthankar 1933~ xxxviii-xlvii. "16 In other words, they are supposed to have been at some point insened by a scribe into an already existing running text that scribe had received and was copying. Expansion was a very common practice at least in the case of some of the Parvans; for some Parvans, the reconstituted text is shorter than Appendix I, to which relatively longer passages suspected of being insertions were relegated!