For the past 18 months I have been working on revising the old translation of the Jātaka commentary, that was originally published between 1880 and 1907. This was a pioneering work in translation from the Buddhist texts, and one of the earliest ever made into a modern language, but it is now very outdated in terms of language and vocabulary.
The revision has mainly been in modernising the language and in maintaining consistency across the seven books whch encompassed the original translation. This often required a lot of work, tracking down technical terms in the Pāḷi text, finding the English translation – which was often inconsistent – and updating it.
A secondary way in which this revision differs from the original is that I have reconstructed the stories according to the guidance given in the commentary, where it refers us to another story in order to complete the story being told at the time. As these were basically instructions to the recitor, and normal readers cannot be presumed to be able to accomplish this themselves, I have filled all the stories in, and each one is now complete in and of itself.
A longer look at the changes made in this revised translation can be found in the Introduction to the new version; and there are also several studies that I made while working on the text in the same place. For those who want to understand the relative dates of the various parts of the text I have included T.W. Rhys Davids’ 1907 essay on this matter.
There are also many other aids to study that have been included along with the publication of this work, including summaries, character lists, parallels, etc. In the html version these are collected in a separate document which can easily be filtered for further research purposes. I have also published a revised edition of the text, which is described in a previous post.
I hope this work will bring the world of the Jātaka stories to life for many people, especially for those who are new to them, and help students explore the rich literature which is contained in this book.