There are Chinese and Tibetan versions of the “Dhammapada” too which differ slightly from the Pali text, though they all agree in substance. The Chinese version has 39 chapters while the Pali has 26. In the former there are 8 chapters at the beginning, 4 at the end, and Chapter 33 in addition to those found in the Pali version. Even in the chapters which are common to the Chinese and the Pali versions there are 79 more verses in the Chinese than in the Pali.
We cannot with any definiteness fix the date of the “Dhammapada” as that depends on the date of the Buddhist canon of which it forms a part. Buddhist tradition, with which Buddhaghosa agrees, holds that the Canon was settled at the First Council. Yuan Chwang’s statement that the “Tipitaka” was written down at the end of the first council under the orders of Kasyapa shows the prevalent view in the seventh century A.D.
The “Mahavamsa” tells us that in the reign of King Vattagamani (88 to 76 B.C) ‘the profoundly wise priests had therefore orally perpetuated the Pali of the “Pitakattaya” and its “Attakatha” (Commentry), but that at this period the priests, foreseeing the perdition of the people, assembled and, in order that the religion might endure for ages, recorded the same in books.