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Jan E.M. Houben

1960 –
Sanskrit, Vedic
philosophy of language, Indian philosophy

Curriculum vitae

1960 born in Schimmert on July 19
1972-1978gymnasium B (Grammar school) in Heerlen; final examination 1978
1979‘propedeuse’ certificate for the first year of psychology
1981certificate Latin (gymnasium level), on the basis of self-study
1981-1987study Indology, UtrechtUniversity
1984BA examination (kandidaatsexamen)
1987MA examination (doctoraalexamen)
1988-1992research assistant, Utrecht University
1992PhD, University of Utrecht, supervisors H.W. Bodewitz and J. Bronkhorst
1993-1996research fellow, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden
1996-1999research fellow NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), Leiden University
1999-2003research fellow KNAW, LeidenUniversity (July 1999 till 1.4.2003)
2003-presentdirecteur d’Études for the research field Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

Special activities and positions

  • Study of Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya at the University of Vancouver, Canada, under the guidance of professor A. Aklujkar, August 1988 – July 1989
  • Study of Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. under the guidance of Professor J. Bronkhorst, Oct. 1990 – July 1991
  • Research in India (mainly Pune) “The Theoretical positions of Bhartṛhari and the Respectable Grammarian” Oct. 1993 – March 1994 and Jan. – March 1995
  • Member of several institutions: American Oriental Society (life member), Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (life member), Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, Linguistic Society of India, Oosters Genootschap, Sanskrit Knowledge Systems on the Eve of Colonialism (intern. research group, Chicago), Société Asiatique

Selected publications

Houben’s publications in his Leiden/Dutch period (1990-2003) and some later works related to Dutch Indology, are:
1990 “The sequencelessness of the signifier in Bhartṛhari’s theory of language.” IT 15-16 (1989-1990) (Proceedings of the VIIth World Sanskrit Conference, Leiden, August 23-29, 1987): 119-129.
1991 The Pravargya Brāhmaṇa of the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka: an ancient commentary on the Pravargya ritual, introduction, translation, and notes , Delhi.
1992 The Saṁbandha-samuddeśa (chapter on relation) and Bhartṛhari’s philosophy of language: a study of Bhartṛhari’s Saṁbandha-samuddeśa in the context of the Vākyapadīya with a translation of Helārāja’s commentary Prakīrṇa-Prakāśa on the Saṁbandha-samuddeśa, 3 vols, [s.l.]. – PhD thesis Utrecht; enlarged published as Gonda Oriental Studies 2, Groningen 1995.
“Bhartṛhari’s samaya / Helārāja’s saṃketa.” JIP 20: 219-242.
1993 “Bhartṛhari en de structuur van het Sanskrit: ‘God’s truth’ of ‘hocus-pocus’?” In: Nieuwe wegen in taal- en literauurwetenschap: handelingen van het eenenveerstigste Filologencongres, Tilburg, 15 december 1990, Tilburg, pp. 143-158.
“Who are Bhartṛhari’s padadarśins? On the development of Bhartrhari’s philosophy of langaue.” AS/ÉA 47.1 ( Proceedings of the first international conference on Bhartṛhari, Poona, January 6-8, 1992): 155-169.
“Bhartṛhari’s perspectivism (3): on the structure of the third Kāṇḍa of the Vākyapadīya.” Sambodhi (L.D. Institute of Indology) 18 (1992-1993): 1-32.
1994 “Bhartṛhari’s familiarity with Jainism.” ABORI 75: 1-24.
“Early Indian authors and linguistic change (Postscript to: Bhartṛhari’s familiarity with Jainism).” ABORI 75: 256-257.
“Liberation and natural philosophy in early Vaiśeṣika: some methodological problems.” AS/ÉA 48,2: 711-748.
1995 The Saṁbandha-samuddeśa (chapter on relation) and Bhartṛhari’s philosophy of language : a study of Bhartṛhari Saṁbandha-samuddeśa in the context of the Vākyapadīya with a translation of Helārāja’s commentary Prakīrṇa-Prakāśa, Groningen: Forsten (Gonda Oriental Studies 2). – On the basis of 1992 dissertation, index and appendices added.
“Bhartṛhari’s perspectivism (2): Bhartṛhari on the primary unit of language.” In: Klaus D. Dutz and Kjell-Åke Forsgren (eds), History and rationality, the Skovde papers in the historiography of linguistics, Münster (Acta Universitatis Skovdensis, Series Linguistica 1), pp. 29-62.
“Bhartṛhari’s solution to the liar and some other paradoxes.” JIP 23: 381-401.
1996 Editor of: Ideology and status of Sanskrit: contributions to the history of the Sanskrit language, Leiden. – Outcome of the seminar “Ideology and status of Sanskrit in South and Southeast Asia” organized under the auspices of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, 17-19 November 1994.
“Introduction: towards a social history of the Sanskrit language.” In: Jan E.M. Houben (ed.), Ideology and Status of Sanskrit, Leiden, pp. 1-13.
“Socio-linguistic attitudes reflected in the work of Bhartṛhari and later grammarians.” In: Jan E.M. Houben (ed.), Ideology and Status of Sanskrit, Leiden, pp. 157-193.
1997 & W. van Bekkum et al., The emergence of semantics in four linguistic traditions: Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Arabic, Amsterdam (Amsterdam studies in the theory and history of linguistic science, Series 3, Studies in the history of linguistics 82).
“The Sanskrit tradition.” In: W. van Bekkum et al., The emergence of semantics in four linguistic traditions: Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Arabic, Amsterdam, pp. 49-145.
& W. van Bekkum et al, “Meaning in four linguistic traditions: a comparison.” In: W. van Bekkum et al., The emergence of semantics in four linguistic traditions: Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Arabic, Amsterdam, pp. 285-300.
“Bhartṛhari’s perspectivism (1): the Vṛtti and Bhartṛhari’s perspectivism in the first Kāṇḍa of the Vākyapadīya.” In: K. Preisendanz and E. Franco (eds), Beyond Orientalism: the work of W. Halbfass and its impact on Indian and cross-cultural studies, Amsterdam, pp. 317-358.
“Sūtra and bhāṣyasūtra in Bhartṛhari’s Mahābhāṣya-Dīpikā: on the theory and practice of a scientific and philosophical genre.” In: D. van der Meij (ed.), India and beyond: aspects of literature, meaning, ritual and thought: essays in honour of Frits Staal, London, pp. 271-305.
“Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya and the ancient Vṛtti (1): the Vṛtti and Vṛṣabhadeva’s Paddhati on Vākyapadīya 1.46a ātmabhedaṁ / ātmabhedas . . .” ABORI 78: 177-198.
“Philosophy East and West, part I: towards a global reservoir of idea-o-diversity.” IIAS Newsletter 13: 18.
“Philosophy East and West, part II: need and basis for a global approach.” IIAS Newsletter 14: 15.
“Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya and the ancient Vṛtti (2): the Vedic background of the author of the Vākyapadīya-Vṛtti.” SII 21: 71-77.
1998 “Philosophy East and West, part III: Orientalism, its critique, and beyond.” ( = review article of: K. Preisendanz and E. Franco (eds), Beyond Orientalism: the work of Wilhelm Halbfass and its impact on Indian and cross-cultural studies, Amsterdam 1997. IIAS Newsletter 15: 16
“The theoretical positions of Bhartṛhari and the respectable grammarian.” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 72:101-142.
Review of: Peter M. Scharf, The denotation of generic terms in ancient Indian philosophy: grammar, Nyāya, and Mīmāṃsa, Philadelphia 1996. WZKS 42: 225-227.
1999 & K.R. van Kooij (eds), Violence denied: violence, non-violence and the rationalization of violence in South Asian cultural history, Leiden (Brill’s indological library 16).
& K.R. van Kooij, “Introduction: violence, non-violence and the rationalization of violence in South Asian cultural history.” In: Jan E.M. Houben and K.R. van Kooij (eds), Violence denied: violence, non-violence and the rationalization of violence in South Asian cultural history, Leiden, pp. 1-15.
“To kill or not to kill the sacrificial animal (yajña-paśu): arguments and perspectives in Brahminical ethical philosophy.” In: Jan E.M. Houben and K.R. van Kooij (eds), Violence denied: violence, non-violence and the rationalization of violence in South Asian cultural history, Leiden, pp. 105-183.
“Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya and the ancient Vṛtti (3): on syntactic and stylistic evidence regarding the authorship of the Vākyapadīya-Vṛtti.” WZKS 43: 167-197.
Videofilm: The Vedic Pravargya ritual: performances in Delhi, Dec. 1996. Filming: J.E.M. Houben; editing: Nandini Bedi and J.E.M. Houben. Leiden, 1999.
Taittirīya-Āraṇyaka, prapāṭhaka 5: text on the basis of three editions, 1999, titus project.
“ ‘Meaning Statements’ in Pāṇini’s grammar: on the purpose and context of the Aṣṭādhyāyī.” SII 22 [2001]: 23-54.
2000 Taittirīya-Āraṇyaka, prapāṭhaka 4: text on the basis of three editions , 2000, titus project.
“On the earliest attestable forms of the Pravargya ritual: Ṛg-Vedic references to the Gharma-Pravargya, especially in the Atri-family book (book 5).” IIJ 43: 1-25.
“The ritual pragmatics of a Vedic hymn: the ‘riddle hymn’ (Ṛgveda 1.164) and the Pravargya ritual.” JAOS 120,4: 499-536.
“Language and thought in the Sanskrit tradition.” In: S. Auroux et al. (eds), History of the language sciences / Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaften / Histoire des sciences du langage: an international handbook on the evolution of the study of language from the beginnings to the present … , vol. 1, Berlin-New York, pp. 146-157.
Review of: Roque Mesquita, Madhva und seinen unbekannten literarischen Quellen, Vienna 1997. AS/ÉA 54,2: 463-468.
Review of: G. Oberhammer, Ernst Prets und Joachim Prandsteter, Terminologie der frühen philosophischen Scholastik in Indien: ein Begriffswörterbuch zur altindischen Dialektik, Erkenntnislehre und Methodologie, Band 2: U-Pu, Vienna 1996 (Österreichische Ak. der Wissenschaften, phil.-historische Klasse, Denkschriften, 248). AS/ÉA 54,2: 468-478.
2001 “The Vedic horse-sacrifice and the changing use of the term ahiṃsā: an early insertion in TB 3.9.8?” In: K. Karttunen & P. Koskikallio (eds), Vidyārṇavavandanam: essays in honour of Asko Parpola, Helsinki (Studia Orientalia 94), pp. 279-290.
“Paradoxe et perspectivisme dans la philosophie de langage de Bhartṛhari: langage, pensée et réalité.” BEI 19: 173-199.
“’Verschriftlichung’ and the relation between the pramāṇas in the history of Sāṃkhya.” Études de Lettres 2001,3 ( La rationalité en Asie / Rationality in Asia): 165-194.
Review of: Eivind Kahrs, Indian semantic analysis: the ‘nirvacana’ tradition, Cambridge 1998 (University of Cambridge Oriental Publications 55). BSOAS 64,1: 130-132.
2002 “Filosofia e filologia tra Oriente e Occidente: appello per la salvaguardia dell’ideodiversità.” In: Verso l’India, Oltro l’India: scritti e ricerche sulle tradizioni intellettuali sudasiatiche (a cura di Federico Squarcini), Milano, pp. 153-171.
“Semantics in the history of South Asian thought: three observations on the emergence of semantics in the Sanskrit tradition.” In: M.M. Deshpande and P.E. Hook (eds), Indian linguistic studies: Festschrift in honor of George Cardona, Delhi, pp. 202-222.
2003 “Three myths in modern Pāṇinian studies.” Review article of George Cardona, Recent Research in Pāṇinian Studies, Delhi 1999. AS/ÉA 57,1: 121-179.
“The Soma-Haoma problem: introductory overview and observations on the discussion.” Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 9,1 (www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs/).
“Brief report of the workshop the Soma/Haoma-cult in early Vedism and Zoroastrism: archeology, text, and ritual, Leiden, 3-4 JULY 1999.” Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 9,1 (www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs/).
“The Brahmin intellectual: history, ritual and ‘Time out of Time’.” JIP 30,5: 463-479.
“Anoniem, uit Rigveda, de grote raadselhymne.” In: Jan Bor en Karel van der Leeuw (red.), 25 eeuwen Oosterse filosofie: teksten, toelichtingen, Amsterdam, pp. 43-49.
“Shabara: over de eeuwigheid van taal en klank (introduction and translation of selected passage).” In: Jan Bor en Karel van der Leeuw (red.), 25 eeuwen Oosterse filosofie: teksten, toelichtingen, Amsterdam, pp. 118-123.
“Prashastapada: over de substantie aarde (introduction and translation of selected passage).” In: Jan Bor en Karel van der Leeuw (red.), 25 eeuwen Oosterse filosofie: teksten, toelichtingen, Amsterdam, pp. 136-141.
“Bhartṛhari: over taal, bewustzijn en werkelijkheid (introduction and translation of selected passage).” In: Jan Bor en Karel van der Leeuw (red.), 25 eeuwen Oosterse filosofie: teksten, toelichtingen, Amsterdam, pp. 142-146.
2004 & Arlo Griffiths (eds), The Vedas: texts, language & ritual: proceedings of the third international Vedic workshop, Leiden 2002, Groningen (Groningen Oriental Studies 20).
“Memetics of Vedic ritual, morphology of the Agniṣṭoma.” In: Jan E.M. Houben & Arlo Griffiths (eds), The Vedas: texts, language & ritual: proceedings of the third international Vedic workshop, Leiden 2002, Groningen (Groningen Oriental Studies 20), pp. 385-415.
2012 “Johannes Bronkhorst and Indian studies.” In: F. Voegeli et al. (eds), Devadattīyam: Johannes Bronkhorst felicitation volume, Berlin etc., pp. 1-8.
“On the bahiraṅga-rule in Pāṇinian grammar: Nāgeśa and Nārāyaṇa.” In: F. Voegeli et al. (eds), Devadattīyam: Johannes Bronkhorst felicitation volume, Berlin etc., pp. 79-106.
2013 “Celebrating 20 years of IIAS: introduction.” IIAS Newsletter 66 (Special issue): 4.

forthcoming
“The Avāntaradīkṣā-P: the ‘Interior’ or ‘Rudimentary’ initiation of the Pravargya ritual.” Communication presented at the second international Vedic workshop, KyotoUniversity, 30 October – 2 November 1999.
“Structures, events and ritual practice: the Gharma and Atri’s rescue by the Aśvins.” Contribution at the seminar: Language, myth and poetry in ancient India and Iran, Jerusalem, 19-21 March, 2001.
“Ṛgveda 1.164.23-24 and the philosophy of language of Bhartṛhari.” Volume in honor of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Halbfass, ed. by K. Preisendanz and Eli Franco.
“Penser les êtres – plantes et animaux – ‘à l’indienne’.” Actes du colloque Penser, Imaginer, Representer l’Animal dans le monde indien, Paris, avril 2002.
Review of: Alessandro Passi, L’elisir del furto secondo il dharma (dharmacauryarasāyana) (Milano), ABORI.