Dr. Elst states… (and this is where I think he might be addressing me..)
“Moreover, your discovery fails to take into account the general picture, with its chronology determined by many other factors.”
And what is this ‘general picture’ Dr. Elst has in his mind….
(1) “Thus,Kaushitaki Brahmana and the Shatapatha Brahmana are astronomically dated to 2300 BCE and are literally deemed contemporaneous with the Yujurveda, thus earlier than the editor of the Vedas, Vyasa, the grandfather of the Mahabharata protogonists”
Let’s separate the grains from the chaff, shall we?
Vyasa, grandfather of Mahabharata protagonists, edited/re-casted Vedas is corroborated by Mahabharata text. This is all that can be corroborated. Rest of Dr. Elst’s generic statements raise more questions than they answer.
For example, his claim (presumably based on work of others) for Shatapatha Brahmana dating of 2300 BCE is erroneous, wrong, incorrect, etc.
It is also important to recognize that ‘Brahmana’ is a ‘SMRITI’ literature and thus constant updates/edits/additions etc. are to be expected.
For one instance of addition/edit/update to Shatapatha Brahmana.. see my blog articles below..
The above blog articles also explain why led some researchers, erroneously, to 2300 BCE for the timing of Shatapatha Brahmana.
Let’s get to more serious and erroneous statements suggested by Dr. Elst..
“Kaushitaki Brahmana and Shatapatha Brahmana are deemed contemporaneous with Yajur Veda”.
Really? By whom? and What was the rational/evidence employed by whoever came with such speculations?
The timing of Yajurveda, history associated with creation of Shukla and Krishna Yajurveda, is a subject worthy of interest, in its own right.
This is definitely not a matter for ‘one liner’ explanation for the timing of their composition or editing/recasting.
However, the issue I want to emphasize is that shoddy scholarship of last ~300 years has produced much junk which is quoted and re-quoted as some established authority. What a pity!
In effect, the statements made by Dr. Elst may have value if they can raise curiosity among India researchers to study the history (and timing) of Brahmana, and Yajurveda. On the other hand, in its current state, timing of these documents can shed little light on the timing of Mahabharata War.
In fact, it is possible to show why Shatapatha Brahmana is post-Mahabharata, however, we will leave that subject aside, for now, in order to avoid digression.
To be continued…