Institute for Indology

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Indology focuses on the study of the cultural and intellectual history of South Asia from its beginnings to the present. It sees itself primarily as a linguistic and literary discipline that uses the methods of historical philology to examine the written sources of the cultures of South Asia. Sanskrit, the classical language of India, is regularly taught in the form of two-semester introductory courses. Hindi, Urdu and Kannada are currently part of the fixed range of contemporary languages. Additional courses include Bengali, Tamil and Telugu as well as various Middle Indian languages (Pāli, Ardhamāgadhī, Gāndhārī). There is also close cooperation in research and teaching with Tibetology, the Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhāra project as well as the doctoral programme in Buddhist Studies.


The scholarly study of Tibet can look back on a long history of research; and yet it was not until the sixties of the twentieth century that it became established as an academic discipline and that individual chairs were established. This is directly related to the political events that impacted Tibet from the beginning of the 1950s and culminated in the popular uprising in Lhasa in 1959. These led to the exodus of numerous Buddhist scholars, mainly to India, but also to the West. Until then, Tibet had served primarily as a myth. Now, the unexpected encounter with a world that had until then been largely closed off led to a transformation of the public perception of the "snow country", and created a whole new basis for academic study of the religious and literary traditions of the Buddhist culture of Tibet and the Himalayan countries.

Tibetology focuses on the religious and cultural history of Tibet from its beginnings to the present. Its basis is the study of the classical written language of Tibet, which is regularly taught in two-semester introductory courses. Learning the Tibetan colloquial language is expected, ideally in the course of study visits to Tibet, India or Nepal. Since Tibetology is offered with a focus on Buddhist studies, the acquisition of another literary language of Buddhism (Sanskrit, Pāli, Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian) is useful.