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According to the linguist Zacharias P. Thundy the word "Theravada" may have been Hellenized into "Therapeutae", to name a coenobitic order near Alexandria described around the 1st century CE. The similarities between the Therapeutae and Buddhist monasticism, combined with Indian evidence of Buddhist missionary activity to the Mediterranean around 250 BC (the Edicts of Asoka), have been pointed out. The Therapeutae would have been the descendants of Asoka's emissaries to the West, and would have influenced the early formation of Christianity. However, the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism states that theories of influences of Buddhism on early Christianity are without historical foundation.
- ↑ "The Original Jesus" (Element Books, Shaftesbury, 1995), Elmar R Gruber, Holger Kersten
- ↑ (Volume One), page 159