Peter Christiaan Bisschop

1973 –
Purāṇic and Tantric texts, classical Śaivism

Curriculum vitae

1973born in Zuidwolde on April 30
1993-1998studied Philosophy and Indology, Groningen University
1998doctoral examination (MA)
2000-2004research assistant Skandapurāṇa project (NWO), Institute of Indian Studies, Groningen University
2004PhD religious studies, supervisors H.T. Bakker and H. Isaacson, Groningen University
2004-2005junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College in Oxford
2005-2010lecturer in Sanskrit studies, department of Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh
2010-presentprofessor of Sanskrit and ancient cultures of South Asia, Leiden University

Special activities and positions

  • Editor-in-Chief (with Jonathan Silk) of the Indo-Iranian Journal, since 2013
  • General editor of the Gonda Indological Studies (GIS), Groningen



1999  & H.T. Bakker, “Mokṣadharma 187 and 239-241 reconsidered.” AS/EA 53,3: 459-472. – Papers of the conference on Sāṃkhya, Université de Lausanne, November 6–8, 1998.
2002  “On a quotation of the Skandapurāṇa in the Tīrthavivecanakāṇḍa of Lakṣmīdhara’s Kṛtyakalpataru: studies in the Skandapurāṇa V.” IIJ 45: 231-243.
2003  & A. Griffiths, “The Pāśupata observance (Atharvedapariśiṣṭa 40).” IIJ 46: 315-348.
2004  Early Śaivism and the Skandapurāṇa: sects and centres, Groningen. – PhD thesis Groningen; also publlished as Groningen Oriental Studies 21, 2006.
“Śiva’s Āyatanas in the various recensions of Skandapurāṇa 167.” In: H.T. Bakker (ed.), Origin and growth of the Purāṇic text corpus, with special reference to the Skandapurāṇa: proceedings of the 12th world Sanskrit conference, Helsinki July 13-18, vol. 3,2, Delhi, pp. 65-78.
“Appendix: SP 167.139–162, SPRA 167.4.1–9.” In: Hans T. Bakker & Harunaga Isaacson, The Skandapurāṇa, volume IIA: Adhyāyas 26–31.14, Groningen, pp. 277–281.
2005  “Pañcārthabhāṣya on Pāśupatasūtra 1.37-39, recovered from a newly identified manuscript.” JIP 33: 529-551.
“The nirukti of ‘Kārohaṇa’ in the Skandapurāṇa: studies in the Skandapurāṇa VII.” In: P. Koskikallio (ed.), Epics, Khilas and Purāṇas: continuities and ruptures: proceedings of the third Dubrovnik international conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas, September 2002 (Zagreb), Zagreb, pp. 556-574.
Review of: Minoru Hara, Pāśupata studies, ed. by Jun Takashima, Vienna 2002 (Publications of the De Nobili Research Library 30). IIJ 48 [2007]: 269-276.
2006  Early Śaivism and the Skandapurāṇa: sects and centres, Groningen: Forsten (Groningen Oriental Studies 21). – Revision of PhD thesis Groningen, 2004.
“The Sūtrapāṭha of the Pāśupatasūtra.” IIJ 49: 1-21.
2007  “The description of Śivapura in the early Vāyu- and Skandapurāṇa.” In: D. Goodall et A. Padoux (eds), Mélanges tantriques à la mémoire d’Hélène Brunner (Collection Indologie 106), Pondicherry, pp. 49-72.
“Notes on a Vārāṇasīmāhātmya compendium.” Newsletter of the NGMCP 5: 21-23.
& A. Griffiths, “The practice involving the Ucchuṣmas (Atharvavedapariśiṣṭa 36).” SII 24: 1-46.
Review of: W.A. Borody, Bhoga Kārikā of Sadyojyoti, with the commentary of Aghora Śiva, an introduction with English translation, Delhi 2005. JRAS 17: 57-58.
2008  “The skull on Śiva’s head: preliminary observations on a theme in the Śaiva art of Mansar.” In: H.T. Bakker (ed.) Mansar: the discovery of Pravareśvara and Pravarapura: temple and residence of the Vākāṭaka King Pravarasena II. Proceedings of a Symposium at the British Museum, Groningen, pp. 1-17. e-book.
2009  “Śiva.” In: K.A. Jacobsen (ed.), Brill’s encyclopedia of Hinduism, volume 1: Regions, pilgrimage, deities, Leiden-Boston, pp. 741-754.
& R. Adriaensen †, “Tīrthayātrākhaṇḍa: Vāgmatīmāhātmyapraśaṃsā 1-4: materials for the study of sacred Nepāla, I.” Journal of the Nepal Research Centre 13 [2010]: 147-177.
Review of: Paul Wilmot, Mahābhārata, book two: the great hall, New York 2006; of: William J. Johnson,Mahābhārata, book three: the forest, volume four, New York 2005; and of: Justin Meiland, Mahābhārata, book nine, Śalya, volume one, New York 2005. ZDMG 159,1: 239–241.
2010  “ Once again on the identity of Caṇḍeśvara in early Śaivism: a rare Caṇḍeśvara in the British Museum? ” IIJ 53,3: 233-249.
“Śaivism in the Gupta-Vākāṭaka age.” JRAS 20,4: 477-488.
Review of: Judit Törzsök, Friendly advise by Naráyana & king Víkrama’s adventures, New York 2007. ZDMG 160: 241-243.
Review of: Alexander Wynne, Mahābhārata, book twelve, volume three: peace, “The Book of Liberation”, New York 2009. ZDMG 160,2: 510-511.
Review of: Sheldon Pollock, Rāma’s last act by Bhavabhūti, New York 2007. ZDMG 160: 243-245.
2011  Voer voor Filologen: geüpgradede anonieme Sanskrit literatuur, Oratie uitgesproken bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van hoogleraar op het gebied van Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia aan de Universiteit Leiden op vrijdag 11 april 2011, Leiden.
“Rudra-Shiva.” In: A. Hiltebeitel (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Hinduism, New York: Oxford University Press. e-source
“Shaivism.” In: A. Hiltebeitel (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Hinduism, New York: Oxford University Press. e-source
Review of: Greg Bailey, Gaṇeśapurāṇa, part II: Krīḍākhaṇḍa, translation, notes and index, Wiesbaden 2008. OLZ 106: 423-425.
Review of: S. Sambandhaśivāchārya and T. Ganesan, Sūkṣmāgama, volume I: chapters 1 to 13, critical edition, Pondicherry 2010. IIJ 54: 271-274.
Review of: Yigal Bronner & David Shulman, “Self-Surrender,” “Peace,” “Compassion” & “The mission of the goose”: poems and prayers from South India by Appaya Dīkṣita, Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita & Vedānta Dīkṣita, New York 2009; of: Csaba Dezső & Somadeva Vasudeva, The quartet of causeries, by Śyāmilaka, Vararuci, Śūdraka & Īśvaradatta, New York 2009; and of: Velcheru Narayana Rao & David Shulman, How Úrvashi was won, by Kālidāsa, New York 2009. ZDMG 161: 201-205.
2012  Review of: Ute Hüsken, Viṣṇu’s children: prenatal life-cycle rituals in South India, translated from German by Will Sweetman with a DVD by Ute Hüsken and Manfred Krüger, Wiesbaden 2009. ZDMG 162: 503-505.
2013  “Two pre-Chandella inscriptions from Kālañjara.” IIJ 56: 279-294.
“The abode of the Pañcamudrās: a yoginī temple in early medieval Vārāṇasī.” In: I. Keul (ed.), `Yoginī’ in South Asia: interdisciplinary approaches, London: Routledge, pp. 47-60.
& J.A. Silk, “Editorial.” IIJ 56,1: 1-2.
2014  & Hans T. Bakker and Yuko Yokochi (eds), The Skandapurāṇa, volume II B: Adhyāyas 31-52: the Vāhana and Naraka cycles, critical edition with an introduction and annotated English synopsis; in cooperation with Nina Mirnig and Judit Törzsök, Leiden: Brill, xii, 372 p. (Supplement to Groningen Oriental Studies).
“Pañcārtha before Kauṇḍinya.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 42,1: 27-37.
“Invoking the powers that be: The Śivadharma’s Mahāśānti Mantra.” South Asian Studies 30,2: 133-141. (DOI:10.1080/02666030.2014.962302)
Review of: Knut A. Jacobsen (ed.), Helena Basu, Angelika Malinar and Vasudha Narayanan (assoc. eds), Brill’s encyclopedia of Hinduism, vol. I: Regions, pilgrimage, deities, and of vol. II: Sacred texts, ritual traditions, arts, concepts, Leiden 2012. IIJ 57,3: 287-292.
Review of: S. Sambandhaśivācārya et al. (eds), Sūkṣmāgama, vol. II: Chapters 14 to 53, critical edition, 2012. IIJ 57,3: 293-295.
Review of: Kathleen Garbutt, Mahābhārata, book five: Preparations for war, vol. one, New York 2008; and of: Kathleen Garbutt, Mahābhārata, book five: Preparations for war, vol. two, New York 2008; and of: Alex Cherniak, Mahābhārata, book six: Bhīṣma, vol. one; including the “Bhagavad Gītā” in context, New York 2008. ZDMG 164,1: 276-277.
2015  150 Years of Sanskrit studies in the Netherlands: the Karṇapurāṇa, keynote lecture at the 7th International Indology Graduate Research Symposium (IIGRS), Leiden University, 15-17 October, 2015. pdf
Review of: Vincent Eltschinger, Buddhist epistemology as apologetics: studies on the history, self-understanding and dogmatic foundations of late Indian Buddhist philosophy, Wien, 2014. IIJ 58,3: 263-268.
2016  “A 12th-century Vārāṇasīmāhātmya and its account of a hypethral Yoginī-Temple.” In: Dominic Goodall & Harunaga Isaacson (eds), Fruits of a Franco-German collaboration on early Tantra, Pondichery (Collection Indologie 131, Early Tantra Series 4), pp. 113-133.
“India and the making of Hinduism: the contributions of the Purāṇas.” In: Kiri Paramore (ed.), Religion and orientalism in Asian Studies, London etc.: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 39-50.
& D.H.A. Kolff, “Johannes Cornelis Heesterman.” Jaarboek van de Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde te Leiden 2014-2015: 122-127.
& Hans T. Bakker, “The quest for the Pāśupata Weapon: the gateway of the Mahādeva Temple at Madhyamikā (Nagarī).” IIJ 59: 217–258.
Review of: Adheesh A. Sathaye, Crossing the lines of caste: Viśvāmitra and the construction of Brahmin power in Hindu mythology, Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. IIJ 59,1: 87-94.
Review of: Peter Schreiner, Viṣṇupurāṇa: althergebrachte Kunde über Viṣṇu, aus dem Sanskrit übersetzt und herausgegeben, Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2013. IIJ 59,2: 208–215.
Review of: Jürgen Neuß, Narmadāparikramā – Circumambulation of the Narmadā River. Leiden-Boston 2012. Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 111,4-5: 411-413.
2017 “Sanskrit Manuscripts from the Kern Collection.” In: A. Reeuwijk (ed.), Voyage of discovery: exploring the collections of the Asian Library at Leiden University. Leiden: Leiden University Press, pp. 136-143.
“150 Years of Sanskrit Studies in the Netherlands: The Karṇapurāṇa.” In: L. den Boer and D. Cuneo (red.), Puṣpikā: Tracing Ancient India through texts and traditions, contributions to current research in Indology, Volume 4.: Oxbow Books. 1-13.
2018 “Vedic Elements in the Pāśupatasūtra.” In: L. van Beek et al.(eds), Farnah: Indo-Iranian and Indo-European studies in honor of Sasha Lubotsky. Ann Arbor, NY: Beech Stave. 1-12.
Review of: Ivan Andrijanić and Sven Selmer (eds). On the Growth and Composition of the Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas: Relationship to Kāvya. Social and Economic Context. (Proceedings of the fifth Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas). Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts: Ibis grafika 2016. IIJ 61,2: 185–189.
Universal Śaivism: The appeasement of all gods and powers in the Śāntyadhyāya of the Śivadharmaśāstra, Leiden: Brill (Gonda Indological Studies 18).
& Hans T. Bakker. Pāśupatasūtras 1.7–9 with the commentary of Kauṇḍinya. Academia.
“Buddhist and Śaiva interactions in the Kali age: the Śivadharmaśāstra as a source of the Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra.” IIJ 61: 396-410.
2019Vyāsa’s Palimpsest: tracking processes of transmission and re-creation in anonymous Sanskrit literature.” In: N. Staring, Davis H. Twiston and L. Weiss (eds), Perspectives on lived religion: practices – transmission – landscape. Leiden (Papers on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Antiquities 21), pp. 165-172.
& E.A. Cecil, “Columns in Context: venerable monuments and landscapes of memory in Early India.” History of Religions 58,4: 355-403.
“Inclusivism revisited: the worship of other gods in the Śivadharmaśāstra, the Skandapurāṇa and the Niśvāsamukha. In: N. Mirnig, M. Rastelli, and V. Eltschinger (red.), Tantric communities in context, Wien: ÖAW, pp. 511-537.
Review of: Libbie Mills, Temple design in six early Śaiva scriptures: critical edition and translation of the prāsādalakṣaṇa-portions of the Bṛhatkālottara, Devyāmata, Kiraṇa, Mohacūrottara, Mayasaṃgraha & Piṅgalāmata, Collection Indologie, 2019. Indo-Iranian Journal 62,2: 185-189.
2020Review of: Simon Brodbeck, Krishna’s lineage: the Harivamsha of Vyāsa’s Mahābhārata, translated from the Sanskrit. New York: Oxford Univeristy Press, 2019. IIJ 63: 71-75.
Review of: Mark McClish, The history of the Arthaśāstra: sovereignty and sacred law in Ancient India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019 (Ideas in Context, Vol. 120.). IIJ 63: 189-194.
2021& Yuko Yokochi, in cooperation with Sanne Dokter-Mersch and Judit Törzsök. The Skandapurāṇa. Volume V: Adhyāyas 96 – 112. The Varāha cycle and the Andhaka cycle continued: Critical edition with an introduction & annotated English synopsis. Leiden/Boston: Brill
“What is Ailing Purāṇic Studies?” Review article of Raj Balkaran, The goddess and the king in Indian myth: Ring composition, royal power, and the dharmic double helix, London/New York: Routledge, 2019; and of Raj Balkaran, The goddess and the sun in Indian myth: power, preservation and mirrored Māhātmyas in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, London/New York: Routledge, 2020. Indo-Iranian Journal 64: 163-174.
& Elisabeth A. Cecil (eds), Primary sources and Asian pasts, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter (Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State, 8). pdf
& Elizabeth A. Cecil, “Primary sources and Asian pasts: beyond the boundaries of the “Gupta Period”.” In: Peter C. Bisschop and Elisabeth A. Cecil (eds), Primary sources and Asian pasts, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter (Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State, 8), pp. 1-17. pdf
“After the Mahābhārata: on the portrayal of Vyāsa in the Skandapurāṇa.” In: Peter C. Bisschop and Elisabeth A. Cecil (eds), Primary sources and Asian pasts, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter (Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State, 8), pp. 44-63. pdf
The Vārāṇasīmāhātmya of the Bhairavaprādurbhāva: a twelfth-century glorification of Vārāṇasī. Pondichéry: Institut Français de Pondichéry (Collection Indologie 148).
& N. Kafle and T. Lubin. A Śaiva utopia: the Śivadharma’s revision of Brahmanical varṇāśramadharma. Naples: UniorPress. pdf
& E.A. Cecil. “Idiom and innovation in the ‘Gupta Period’: revisiting Eran and Sondhni.” The Indian Economic and Social History Review 58,1: 29-71. pdf
& E.A. Cecil. “Jayati Bhagavāñ Jinendraḥ! Jainism and royal representation in the Kadamba plates of Palāśikā.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 141,3: 613-635.
“Purāṇas.” In: Encyclopedia of philosophy of religion, 16 November 2021. (Wiley Online Library).
2022Review of Ellen Gough, Making a mantra: tantric ritual and renunciation on the Jain path to liberation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021. IIJ 62,2: 181-187.
Obituary: Henk Bodewitz (1939-2022), IIJ 65,4: 303-304.
A pilgrim’s map from India: Imagination in power at the pilgrimage site Gaya. In: Storms M. (ed.), Maps that made history: 1000 Years of World History in 100 Old Maps. Tielt: Lannoo. 372-375.
Een pelgrimskaart uit India: De verbeelding aan de macht in pelgrimsoord Gaya. In: Storms M. (ed.), Kaarten die geschiedenis schreven: 1000 jaar wereldgeschiedenis in 100 oude kaarten. Tielt: Lannoo. 372-375.
2023Ed. of Paul Dundas†, “The ascetics of mount Aṭṭhāvaya become Jain monks: approaches to the interpretation of an Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi narrative.” Indo-Iranian Journal 66: 203-289.
Review of Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz, Reciting the Goddess: narratives of place and the making of Hinduism in Nepal, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. IIJ 66: 385-394.