Are there any authentic Buddhist texts? If so, what are they? These are questions of tremendous spiritual and historical interest, about which there is a range of opinions that often appear to be irreconcilable. Traditionalists insist that the texts were "spoken by the Buddha" in the most literal of senses, while skeptics assert that we cannot know anything about the Buddha fore certain, and further, that the notion of authenticity is irrelevant or pernicious.
Most academic scholars of early Buddhism cautiously affirm that it is possible that the early Buddhist texts as contained in the Sutta and Vinaya Pitaka contain some authentic sayings of the Buddha. A sympathetic assessment of relevant evidence by the authors of this book shows that this is a drastic understatement and that it is very likely that the bulk of the sayings in the texts that are attributed to the Buddha were actually spoken by him.
Rarely has the question of authenticity of the Buddhist texts been systematically investigated. Seeing the lack of an easily accessible summary of the evidence, the authors assembled this survey.