An international group of historians of Indian mathematics challenges Oxford’s findings around the age and importance of a manuscript thought to contain the oldest known zero.
Last month, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University announced that a Sanskrit manuscript housed in the library for the last century had been dated using radiocarbon techniques. Oxford’s radiocarbon dating laboratory announced that the three of the birch-bark folios of the Bakhshali Manuscript could be dated to roughly 300 CE, 700 CE and 900 CE.
An international group of historians of Indian mathematics has now challenged Oxford’s findings.
The team, which includes scholars from universities in the USA, France, Japan, New Zealand and the University of Alberta in Canada, has published a peer-reviewed article that refutes several of the Library’s key assertions.
The international team ends its article with a plea to Oxford University’s Library that important and complex scholarly topics should be published through established academic channels involving peer-review, and not through sensationalizing press releases to the media.