Somehow, I really feel this must have already been addressed here; but, searching the archives, I’m not finding anything. (Maybe I’m not all that good at searching.)
Tonight, in my class on early Chinese Buddhism (we are reading History of Buddhism in the Han, Wei, Jin, and Northern and Southern Dynasties by Tang Yongtong), for the second time now, my teacher essentially scoffed at the idea of Pali texts being more authoritative than Chinese texts, or really even being considered EBTs at all.
His stance was that they date from the 5th century–the time of Buddhaghosa–and that, to that extent, they post-date the earliest (and, for that matter, even the not-so-early) Chinese texts. Basically, he maintains that they are not really reliable as records of early Buddhist anything.
I simply said that that was different from what I had been taught. He asked me what I’d been taught and I said I’d get back to him next week.
I am away at school, and so don’t have my copy of The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts on hand. Can someone help me out? I’ve got a firewall that severely limits what I can get from the outside and I only have a week to come up with something.
(BTW, I gotta get this off my chest: it’s like this everyday here among the vast majority of these “scholars.” And I really go out of my way not to strike up any conversation with anyone on anything which would cause Chinese Buddhism and Pali Buddhism to be mentioned in the same breath: because it will inevitably turn awkward at best and, possibly, much worse. But, sometimes, trouble looks for you.)