SOAS University of London

Prof Andrew Huxley: T W Rhys Davids and the Forged Relics of the Buddha

Seated Buddha from Burma
Professor Andrew Huxley

Date: 27 February 2013Time: 6:30 PM

Finishes: 27 February 2013Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Inaugural Lecture

Professor T.W. Rhys Davids (1843-1922) made himself into an expert on Pali Buddhism. He founded the Pali Text Society, the Buddhist Society, and initiated the campaign for a School of Oriental and African Studies. I concentrate on 1887 to 1906, the years in which he was employed as Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society, and especially on 1904-06, when the RAS split between pro- and anti-Davids factions. I show that he was ousted because of his role in promoting the Piprahwa discoveries of 1898 - a reliquary deposit that supposedly contained the oldest inscription found in India, authenticating the relics found with it as dating from a month after the Buddha’s cremation.

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Professor Andrew Huxley's Inaugural Lecture: T W Rhys Davids and the Forged Relics of the Buddha


Andrew Huxley is a barrister, and has taught at the SOAS School of Law for 29 years. He writes on Burmese legal history, on law and state in contemporary Southeast Asia, and on the Buddhist legal tradition as compared with others.

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