An interesting "go" at Gregory Schopen, with some pointed critques on a scholatic level, but overall it is an attack not from a position that, at least from others who have made it, I see as unassalible from self serving assumptions itself. After 25 years with a Tibetan Buddhist Sangha I have a grim opinion of "practicing Buddhists" as regards having a transcendental advantage in interpreting texts "hidden truths and unseen dimensions" unavailable to shallow non Buddhist scholars. But then again my Lama, who remains the one for which I retain the most respect, always told us to not read Lesser Vehicle texts because we would be confused and misled by them.
What do you think?
Compared with the situation in Bible studies, the quantity of Buddhist literature is so vast, the subject matter so obscure, and the amount of serious research so small, that it is premature to discard any methodology. While the early scholars may not have given due weight to the archaeological evidence, they must be forgiven, in consideration of the sheer time and effort it takes to learn the Buddhist languages and read the texts. They have at least given us a reasonably coherent and satisfying working model of Indian Buddhism. If we were to accept Schopen in his more radical moods we would be rendered incapable of saying anything about the Buddha or his teachings, and would be left with no idea as to why there were, in the later periods, such widely spread religious schools claiming inspiration from a common Teacher, sharing a similar lifestyle, and borrowing wholesale each other’s scriptures, at the same time as vigorously arguing with each other over what the scriptures mean.
Please see Wynn's original critique:
“How old is the Suttapiñaka? The relative value of textual and epigraphical sources for the study of early Indian Buddhism.” © Alexander Wynne, St John’s College, 2003
Located at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106702425/Wynne-Alex-How-Old-is-the-Suttapitaka