Panini (the "creator" of Classical Sanskrit) is dated to 450 BC, Katyayana and Patanjali, who developed his theory, are dated to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC respectively.
I well know that Panini lived before the Common Era. He started the transformation of Vedic language into something new and living, but it was just a start. He still called the language 'chandaso'.
Some literary pieces in Classical and Epic Sanskrit are dated to pre-common era dates as well.
Thanks for correction. So first Sanskrit texts date to period about 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
It was then that the name Sanskrit (refined) was introduced, and other Indo-Aryan languages were called by a derogatory term Prakrit (unrefined). Though the new language was created artificially, and had quite a different dialectal base than Vedic language (see viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4630&p=140638&hilit=Sanskrit#p140638
), the Brahmanic mythology maintained that Sanskrit and Vedic are the same language. This mythology made its way into scholarship.
The similar modern language, created artificially from scratch, is modern Hebrew. It's quite different from ancient Hebrew, but for the religious purposes these languages are considered the same. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Heb ... sification
I would not touch this topic at all, if it were not for the derogatory attitude to Middle Indo-Aryan languages (so called Prakrits), including Pali, in the Brahmanic mythology.
Pali and other Middle Indo-Aryan languages originated from Old Indo-Aryan, and not from Vedic or Sanskrit (see viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3215
). The 'mother Sanskrit' theory doesn't hold water at all.
Best wishes, Dmytro