The History and Literature of Buddhism
Before T.W. Rhys Davids and some others ventured into interpretations of obscure sources of Buddhist philosophy and history, most of the material was lying scattered. It was strange, and very characteristic of the real meaning of true Buddhism, that there was no life of Gautama the Buddha in the Buddhist scriptures. Known sources of the Buddha's life story like Malalankara Watthu and the Jataka Book were written much after the days of the Buddha. These were more or less in the same tradition and written in Pali. The Pali poem called Jina Carita was written in Ceylon by Buddhadatta as late as in the thirteenth century of our era. Glorious works in Sanskrit like Buddha Carita and Lalitavistara are almost certainly dated in the present era.
Rhys Davids, who followed the established codes of research in classical history and literature, felt that "Buddhism should not be treated as a religion such as is understood by those who regard religion as consisting of certain beliefs and ideas concerning the soul and its destiny and of the various deities who are supposed to help or hinder human beings in the attainment of the ultimate goal." He regards Buddhism as a different kind of religion divorced from all that is known of religion in the traditional sense of the term.