Michael Witzel

1943 –
Sanskrit, philology
South Asia, Nepal

Curriculum vitae

1943born in Schwiebus (Poland) on 8 July
1965-1971studied Indology, Indo-European and Japanology under Paul Thieme, H.-P. Schmidt et al., at the Universities of Tübingen and Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)
1972assistant professor of Indology, Tübingen University
1972PhD under the supervision of K. Hoffmann, Erlangen University
1972-1973studied philosophy with the Mīmāmsaka Jununath Pandit, at Kathmandu, Nepal
1972-1977director of the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project, Kathmandu
1974-1977director of the Nepal Research Centre of the German Oriental Society, Kathmandu
1978-1980associate professor Sanskrit, the Kern Institute, Leiden University
1981-1986professor Sanskrit language and literature, the Kern Institute, Leiden University
1986-1987visiting professor of Sanskrit, Harvard University
1987-presentWales Professor of Sanskrit, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Special activities and positions

  • Founding editor (with four colleagues) of Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik, 1975-
  • Joint editor (1979-1983) and editor-in-chief (1983-…) of the Indo-Iranian Journal
  • Co-editor (together with J.C. Heesterman) of the Memoirs of the Kern Institute, Leiden
  • Editor of the Harvard Oriental Series, 1990-
  • Founding chair, Committee on South Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1992-1996
  • Founder and editor-in-chief of the Electronic Jounal for Vedic Studies (EJVS), 1995-
  • Managing editor of the International Journal of Tantric Studies (IJTS), 1995-


Selected publications

From the period 1978-1986 and later, insofar relevant for Dutch Indian studies:
1972 Das Kaṭha Āraṇyaka: textkritische Edition mit Übersetzung und Kommentar, (Teildruck), [s.l.]. – PhD thesis Erlangen-Nürnberg; also issued as Kaṭha Āraṇyaka: critical ed. with a transl. into German and an introd., Cambridge MA 2004 (Harvard oriental series 65).
1979 On magical thought in the Veda, Leiden. – Rede uitgesproken bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van gewoon lector in het Sanskriet aan de Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden op vrijdag 19 oktober 1979.
“Die Kaṭha-Śikṣā-Upaniṣad und ihr Verhältnis zum Śikṣāvallī der Taittirīya-Upaniṣad (Einl., Tekst, Übersetzung).” WZKSA 23: 5-28.
1980 “Early Eastern Iran and the Atharvaveda.” Persica 9: 86-128.
“On the location of the Licchavi capital of Nepal.” SII 5-6 (Festschrift Paul Thieme): 311-337.
“Die Kaṭha-Śikṣā-Upaniṣad und ihr Verhältnis zum Śikṣāvallī der Taittirīya-Upaniṣad (Kommentar).” WZKSA 24: 21-82.
Review of: D. Maue, Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad, Giessen 1976. ZDMG 130: 613-616.
1981 “Materialien zu den vedischen Schulen, I: über die Caraka-Śakha, 1: Geschichte der Caraka-Schule.” SII 7: 108-132.
Review of: J. Gonda, The mantras of the Agnyupasthāna and the Sautrāmaṇī, Amsterdam 1980. Kratylos 26: 80-85.
1982 “Materialien zu den vedischen Schulen, I: über die Caraka-Śakha (Fortsetzung zu SII 7: 108-132).” SII 8-9: 171-240.
“Über Śaṅkhu und Paḍbīśa.” In: A. Wezler, Zur Interpretation der Chandogya-Upaniṣad, SII 8-9: 15-188.
1983 “Anunāsika in medieval Veda tradition (Materials on Vedic Śākhās 3).” IIJ 25: 180.
“The Ṛgveda-Saṃhitā as known to AV-Par. 46 (Materials on Vedic Śākhās 5).” IIJ 25: 238-239.
“Ṛgvedisch udumbalá-.” IIJ 25: 239-240.
1984 “An unknown Yajurveda-Saṃhitā (AV-Par. 46) (Materials on Vedic Śākhās 6).” IIJ 27: 105-106.
“Zu den Namen vedischer Śākhās (Materialien zu den vedischen Schulen 2).” SII 10: 231-237.
“Sur le chemin du ciel.” BEI 2: 213-279. pdf
“The Buddhist forms of fire ritual (homa) in Nepal and Japan.” Summary in: T. Yamamoto (ed.), Proceedings of the 31st CISHAAN, Tokyo-Kyoto 1983, Tokyo, p. 135.
“The earliest form of the idea of rebirth in India.” Summary in: T. Yamamoto (ed.), Proceedings of the 31st CISHAAN, Tokyo-Kyoto 1983, Tokyo, pp. 145-146.
“On the origin of the literary device of the “frame story” in Old Indian literature.” Summary in: T. Yamamoto (ed.), Proceedings of the 31st CISHAAN, Tokyo-Kyoto 1983, Tokyo, p. 534.
“On searching for, describing and editing of Vedic manuscripts.” Summary in: T. Yamamoto (ed.), Proceedings of the 31st CISHAAN, Tokyo-Kyoto 1983, Tokyo, pp. 1098-1099.
1985 “Die mundliche Tradition der Paippaladins von Orissa.” MSS 44 (Festgabe für K. Hoffmann I): 259-289.
“Regionale und überregionale Faktoren in der Entwicklung vedischer Brahmanengruppen im Mittelalter (Materialen zu den vedischen Schulen 5).” Beitrage zur Sudasienforschung 104: 37-76.
“Die Atharvaveda-Tradition und die Paippalada-Samhita.” ZDMG Supplementband 6: 256-271.
1986 “Agnihotra-Rituale in Nepal: Geschichte und gegenwartige Bedeutung eines vedischen Rituals und seiner Priester.” In: B. Kölver und S. Lienhard (eds), Formen kulturellen Wandels und andere Beiträge zur Erforschung des Himalaya: Colloquium des Schwerpunktes Nepal 1984 (Nepalica 2), Sankt Augustin 1986, pp. 155-187.
“JB palpulani: the structure of a Brahmana tale.” In: S.D Balasubrahmaniam (ed.), B.R. Sharma felicitation volume, Tirupati, 189-216.
“On the archetype of Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya.” IIJ 29,4: 249-259.
Review of: S.V. Ganapati, Sama Veda, Delhi 1982. ZDMG 136: 149.
1987 “On the location of Vedic texts and schools (Materials on Vedic Śākhās 7).” In: Gilbert Pollet (ed.), India and the ancient world: history, trade and culture before A.D. 650: professor P.H.L. Eggermont jubilee volume presented on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, Leuven (Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta 25), pp. 173-213 .
“The coronation rituals of Nepal, with special reference to the coronation of King Birendra in 1975.” In: Niels Gutschow and Axel Michaels (eds), Heritage of the Kathmandu Valley: proceedings of an international conference in Lübeck, June 1985, Sankt Augustin, pp. 417-467.
1990 Editor of: Willem Caland, Kleine Schriften, Stuttgart (Glasenapp-Stiftung 27).
1992 “Meaningful ritual: Vedic, medieval and contemporary concepts in the Nepalese Agnihotra ritual.” In: A.W. van den Hoek, D.H.A. Kolff, M.S. Oort (eds), Ritual, state and history in South Asia : essays in honour of J.C. Heesterman, Leiden (Memoirs of the Kern Institute 5), pp. 774-828.
1997 & A. Lubotsky, M.S. Oort (eds), F.B.J. Kuiper, Selected writings on Indian linguistics and philology, Amsterdam-Atlanta (Kern Institute miscellanea 2).
2004 “The Ṛgvedic religious system and its Central Asian and Hindukush antecedents.” In: Arlo Griffiths & Jan E.M. Houben (eds), The Vedas: texts, language & ritual: proceedings of the third international Vedic workshop, Leiden 2002, Groningen (Groningen Oriental Studies 20), pp. 581-636.
“F.B.J. Kuiper 1907-2003 (obituary).” EJVS 11-1.
“F.B.J. Kuiper (1907–2003).” IIJ 47,3/4 [2006]: 173-191.