Former Directors of the Institute

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Gerhard Oberhammer, Director 1991–1997

Gerhard Oberhammer

Gerhard Oberhammer (born 1929) studied theology and philosophy in Innsbruck before he turned his attention to Indology. In 1964 he succeeded Erich Frauwallner (1898–1974) as head of the Institute for Indology of the University of Vienna and held this professorhsip until his retirement in 1997. His first cooperation with the ÖAW took place in 1970 when Oberhammer, with the support of Cardinal Franz König and the Academy, founded the De Nobili Resesarch Library, which is now located at the ISTB of the University of Vienna as permanent loan of the ÖAW. Since 1983 Oberhammer oversaw the "Commission for Languages and Cultures of South and East Asia", founded by Frauwallner, as well as the "Research Unit for Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia" that had been formed in 1986. Both units merged into an institute (the IKGA) in 1991, and Oberhammer served as its director up until his retirement in 1997.

Some of the most important projects conducted under Oberhammer's leadership at the institue are:

Ernst Steinkellner, Director 1998–2006

Ernst Steinkellner

Ernst Steinkellner (born 1937) studied Indian philosophy at the University of Vienna under Erich Frauwallner. After a research stay at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania (1971-1973) he founded the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna which he headed until the year 2000. Since 1986 he has been involved in the projects at the IKGA and his former institutions. At the start of the year 1998 he succeeded Gerhard Oberhammer as the director of the IKGA until 2006. In 2008 Ernst Steinkellner received the Ludwig Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Research Association.

The projects at the IKGA which Steinkellner initiated and worked on are for the most part related to the epistemologic-logical tradition of Buddhism. The documentation of this philosophical school that dates back to the 5th c. CE and especially of the works of Dharmakīrti (6th-7th c. CE) belong to Steinkellner's biggest scientific achievements. In this context, Steinkellner developed further the historico-philological methods of textual criticism which Frauwallner had first developed. His interest in the epistemologic-logical tradition led Steinkellner to his work on Tibet, where those Buddhist schools of thought he studied are still alive today.

Thanks to Steinkellner the IKGA has had access to the photocopies of the manuscripts in the China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC) in Beijing since 2004. This has made it possible to make critical editions of the most important Sanskrit texts of the collection, which had up until then only been accessible in their Tibetan and Chinese translations. The results of this cooperation are published annually in the series which had been founded for this purpose, the STTAR.

A large part of the projects worked on at the institute can be indirectly or directly traced back to Ernst Steinkellner. Some of his most important project clusters include:

Helmut Krasser, Director 2007–2014

Helmut Krasser

Helmut Krasser (1956–2014) studied Buddhist studies, Tibetology and philosophy at the University of Vienna under Ernst Steinkellner. Since 1988 he worked as research assistant at the later IKGA. He interrupted his work at the institute for longer research stays in Kyoto, Japan (1992-1994 and 2006). Like Steinkellner, Krasser also focussed on the documentation of the epistemologic-logical school of Indian Buddhism, though his main interest lay on Dharmottara (ca. 740–800) und Śaṅkaranandana (ca. 950–1020), aside from the works of Dharmakīrti. Krasser developed the hypothesis that many of the extant philosophical works had originated in transcripts which the students of the famous masters wrote during lectures, and he explained the diverse inconsistencies in this way. The hypothesis caused an animated discussion in the research field.

As Director, Krasser not only successfully continued the philosophic-philological research tradition of the institute, but also was able to attract new projects and project assistants for the institute. Aside from his work on these projects, Krasser was also a very active editor of academic journals (Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies) and series of the institute (BKGA, STTAR). The final two years of his life were overshadowed by a severe cancer, which, however, did not keep him from performing his duties as director and researcher. See also Als Direktor setzte Krasser nicht nur die philosophisch-philologische Forschungstradition des Instituts erfolgreich fort, sondern konnte auch zahlreiche neue Projekte und Projektmitarbeiter für das Institut gewinnen. Neben der Arbeit an diesen Projekten war Krasser auch als Herausgeber wissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften (Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies) und Publikationsreihen des Instituts (BKGA, STTAR) äußerst aktiv. Seine letzten beiden Lebensjahre waren von einer schweren Krebserkrankung gezeichnet, die ihn jedoch nicht davon abhielt, seinen Tätigkeiten als Direktor und als Wissenschaftler weiter nachzukommen. (See also Obituary to Helmut Krasser.)

Some of the most important projects initiated by Krasser include:

Vincent Eltschinger, Director 2014–2015

Vincent Eltschinger
© Charly Rappo/La Liberté

Vincent Eltschinger studied Indology, Buddhist Studies and philosophy at the University of Lausanne and qualified as a professor in 2014 at the University of Vienna. He worked at the Insitute since 2003, where his focus included research on the epistemologic-logical tradition of Buddhism and on the Kashmiri logician Śaṅkaranandana (950–1020). Moreover, he is particularly interested in the ideological and historical aspect of the debate between Buddhists and Brahmanic orthodoxy in the second half of the first century CE. Finally, he made important contributions in the form of several articles for an understanding of Indian philosophy outside of a specialized circle of experts. His highly successful productive period at the IKGA, where he published several important monographs and collected volumes, ended with his appointment to a professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris.

Eltschinger took over the directorship of the Institute after the sudden passing of Helmut Krasser in April 2014. Despite the difficult situation he was able to not only continue the projects raised by Krasser, but also to gain new projects and research fellows for the IKGA. In particular, the contribution of the IKGA to the interdisciplinary project Visions of Community (VISCOM) were significantly expanded under Eltschinger. Similarly to Krasser, Eltschinger was also an active editor of the publication series' of the Institute (BKGA, STTAR).

Selected works

Works by Gerhard Oberhammer

Gerhard Oberhammer, Marcus Schmücker, ed., 2011
Die Relationalität des Subjektes im Kontext der Religionshermeneutik. (BKGA 70.) Wien: VÖAW, 2011 (order online).
Oberhammer Schmücker.jpg
Gerhard Oberhammer, Marion Rastelli, ed., 2007
Studies in Hinduism IV: On the Mutual Influences and Relationship of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta and Pāñcarātra. (BKGA 54.) Wien: VÖAW, 2007 (download [open access] or order online).
Oberhammer, Rastelli 2007.jpg
Gerhard Oberhammer, Ernst Prets, Joachim Prandstetter, 2006
Terminologie der frühen philosophischen Scholastik in Indien. Band III: Pra–H: Ein Begriffswörterbuch zur altindischen Dialektik, Erkenntnistheorie und Methodologie. (BKGA 49.) Wien: VÖAW, 2006 (order online).
Obprepra 2006.jpg

See also Publications by Gerhard Oberhammer.

Works by Ernst Steinkellner

Ernst Steinkellner, 2013
Dharmakīrtis frühe Logik: Annotierte Übersetzung der logischen Teile von Pramāňavārttika 1 mit der Vṛtti. Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 2013.
Ernst Steinkellner, 2007
Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇaviniścaya: Chapters 1 and 2, Critically edited. (STTAR 2.) Beijing, Vienna: China Tibetology Publishing House and Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2007 (order online).
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Ernst Steinkellner, 1988
Nachweis der Wiedergeburt: Prajñasenas ‘Jig rten pha rol sgrub pa. Ein früher tibetischer Traktat aus Dunhuang. Mit seinen Glossen diplomatisch herausgegeben, übersetzt und mit Anmerkungen versehen. (BKGA 1.) Wien: VÖAW, 1988 (order online).
Bkga.png

See also Publications by Ernst Steinkellner.

Works by Helmut Krasser

Vincent Eltschinger, Helmut Krasser, John Taber, ed., 2012
Can the Veda speak? Dharmakīrti against Mīmāṃsā Exegetics and Vedic Authority. An Annotated Translation of PVSV 164,24–176,16. (BKGA 74.) Wien: VÖAW, 2012 (download [open access] or order online).
Bkga.png
Ernst Steinkellner, Helmut Krasser, Horst Lasic, 2005
Jinendrabuddhi´s Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā: Chapter 1, Part 1: Critical Edition. Part 2: Diplomatic Edition. (STTAR 1.) Beijing, Vienna: China Tibetology Publishing House and Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2005 (order online).
Sttar.png
Helmut Krasser, 2002
Sankaranandanas Isvarapakaranasankasepa mit einem anonymen Kommentar und weiteren Materialien zur buddhistischen Gottespolemik: Teil 1: Texte. Teil 2: Annotierte Übersetzung und Studie zur Auseinandersetzung über die Existenz Gottes. (BKGA 39.) Wien: VÖAW, 2002 (order online).
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See also Publications by Helmut Krasser.

Works by Vincent Eltschinger

Vincent Eltschinger, 2014
Buddhist Epistemology as Apologetics: Studies on the History, Self-understanding and Dogmatic Foundations of Late Indian Buddhist Philosophy. (BKGA 81.) Wien: VÖAW, 2014 (order online).
Bkga.png
Vincent Eltschinger, Isabelle Ratié, 2013
Self, No-Self, and Salvation: Dharmakīrti′s Critique of the Notions of Self and Person. (BKGA 75.) Wien: VÖAW, 2013 (order online).
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Vincent Eltschinger, 2007
Penser l'autorité des Écritures: La polémique de Dharmakirti contre la notion brahmanique orthodoxe d'un Veda sans auteur. (BKGA 52.) Wien: VÖAW, 2007 (order online).
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See also Publications by Vincent Eltschinger.


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