Hey folks, here's a silly question that for some reason I cannot find an answer to.
On amazon.com there are the famous Wisdom Publications translations of certain Pali discourses and I'm thinking about buying one (In the Buddha's Words) to dip my toes into. I understand that this volume represents no traditional Buddhist text (or collection of texts), but is an anthology. My question involves the others. Are these other books each discrete sets of discourses-- that is, do they each have their own suttas with no or very little repetitions from the others? If I dig "In the Buddha's Words" and decide, say, to buy the Middle-length discourses is there any reason to later purchase the Long and Connected discourses (and, apparently, the forthcoming Numbered ones)? I guess what I'm asking is what the textual history of these collections is. Have they been compiled out of the Sutta Pitaka by the editors and translators, or do they have a deeper history? What is a "connected" discourse, and why are the others not connected? What about the smaller discourses? etc., and so on. I'm sure the books themselves explain it all very thoroughly, but I must spend my money wisely these days, and it mostly goes to food and gas.