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30.01.2021 14:59 Alter: 36 days

Buddhism and Language

Call for Papers

Theme: Buddhism and Language
Subtitle: A Twofold Perspective: The Role of Language in Buddhist
Teachings and the Role of Buddhist Sources in Linguistic Research
Type: International Workshop
Institution: Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies, University of Munich
Location: Munich (Germany)
Date: 22.–23.10.2021
Deadline: 20.3.2021

Buddhism has a peculiar relationship with language: the transmission
of the doctrines throughout the centuries, starting from Śākyamuni’s
original predication to today’s digital dimension of the spreading of
the dharma has been inevitably dependent on language, either in its
oral or textual form. At the same time, however, language has often
been seen in Buddhist traditions as an insufficient tool to
adequately transmit the truth and, sometimes, even as a direct
obstacle on the path towards awakening. Thousands of texts were
produced and translated in a myriad of languages in order to
propagate the Buddhist teachings. A variety of ancient sū tras,
commentaries, treatises and so forth have been discovered in a wide
geographical area going from Afghanistan to Japan.

The analysis of these Buddhist texts from a linguistic perspective
has thus been crucial for the study of a multitude of ancient
languages, which in many cases are attested solely in writings of a
Buddhist content. On the other hand, language has also been used in
Buddhist sectarian circumstances as a tool to fold and unfold diverse
meanings of the same text or to give prominence to certain doctrinal
interpretations over others. In this context, the dynamics of
intertextuality can reveal how a given religious system promoted
certain beliefs and how its supporters shaped and re-shaped its
authoritative texts.

This workshop is designed to cast a light on language-related issues
in the Buddhist context. We welcome contributions on any of the
following topics (the list is not exhaustive): philosophical and
doctrinal implications of the problem of “language” within Buddhist
traditions, the use of Buddhist texts as a source for linguistic
investigation and the category of “intertextuality” as a tool for the
analysis of the development of Buddhist doctrines.

This workshop will additionally facilitate fruitful exchanges between
scholars of Buddhist Studies working on language-related issues in
historical, linguistic, and regional manifestations. We encourage
abstract submission from early career scholars, especially PhD
students, but also from established scholars.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Christoph Anderl
(University of Ghent) and Prof. Dr. Steffen Döll (University of

Abstract submission deadline: March 20, 2021

Please send a 400-word maximum abstract and a brief C.V. Send both as
Word & PDF files to the e-mail address below.

Notification of acceptance: June 1, 2021

Final paper submission deadline: September 1, 2021

This workshop will be conducted in English.

Due to the dynamic situation of the pandemic, the workshop will
probably be held in hybrid format (in presence and online). A partial
reimbursement of travel costs will only be available for a very
limited number of participants. Priority will be given to students.

E-mail address for abstract submissions and inquiries:

Website of the Workshop: