This book published for the first time in 2 volumes in 1993, has become a classic in Pali Studies. It presents an exhaustive picture of Pali literature, both canonical and post canonical, giving summaries of all the Pali books, from the Vinaya Pitaka which specify the rules of conduct from bhikus and bhikunis from teh Jatak Tales contaning popular stories.
The book entitled A History of Pali Literature, author Dr. Bimla Churn Law had intended to publish a comprehensive work on Pali literature. We all know his former publications on Buddhist topics and their intrinsic value, and I repeatedly con-gratulated him on the happy choice of his themes and on the clever manner in which he had accomplished his task.
The first part deals with the chronology and general history of the Pali Pitakas. In the introduction to this volume I have briefly discussed the origin of Pali and the importance of the study of Pali as one of the Indian languages. A systematic and critical treatment of the puzzling problem of the chronology of the Pali canon follows next, throwing a new light on this intricate and difficult subject.
The second part which treats of post-canonical Pali literature is devoted to the study of extra-canonical works presupposed by the Pali commentaries, the Pali chronicles, the Pali manuals, the Pali literary piece, the Pali grammar, lexicographies, and works on rhetoric. In the concluding chapter, he has tried to give a general survey of the whole book and traced the development of Pali poetry. He has given two appendices dealing with the Historical and Geographical refrences in the Pali Pitakas and the Pali tracts in the inscriptions, which, he believes, will be found useful. He have appended and index at the end of the convenience of readers.