Professor Sanderson will discuss how the study of Śaivism has progressed during the last four decades from isolated pockets of interest towards a comprehensive understanding of the history of the religion in all its aspects and the impact of its traditions on Buddhism, Vaiṣṇavism, and Jainism, through an approach that has combined textual, epigraphic, and other forms of evidence.
Alexis G.J.S. Sanderson is a scholar of Indology and Sanskrit who recently retired from Oxford University where he was Spalding Chair of Eastern Religions and Ethics, Fellow of All Souls College, and a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies. His research focuses on early medieval religion in India and Southeast Asia, in particular the history of Śaivism, its relations with the state, and its influence on Buddhism and Vaiśnavism. After taking undergraduate degrees in Classics and Sanskrit at Balliol College, he spent six years in Kashmir studying with the scholar and Śaiva guru Swami Lakshman Joo before returning to Oxford.
His publications include The Impact of Inscriptions on the Interpretation of Early Śaiva Literature, The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism During the Early Mediaeval Period, The Śaiva Exegesis of Kashmir, The Śaiva Literature, and History through Textual Criticism in the Study of Śaivism, the Pañcarātra, and the Buddhist Yoginītantras.