Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

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New Nepal-research project by Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels

"Religion and law in pre-modern Nepal" is the topic of a new Nepal research project by Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels. The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities supports the project over the next 15 years.

The project will make an only partly explored corpus of documents and texts on religion and law in pre-modern Nepal accessible both in print publications as well as in digital resources. Three new positions for scientific researchers will be established therefor.

The rare und unique historical material that originated in the field of tension between India and Tibet as well as Hinduism and Buddhism has been documented by the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft) but it has only partly been catalogued and processed. It includes documents from temples (edicts, land grants, contracts, foundation charters, letters etc.) and legal documents (court decisions on moral conduct, letters of indulgence, caste regulations) as well as to a much lesser extent narrative-eulogian texts regarding local sacred sites. These contiguous text groups form the essential basis for the still largely unexplored history of numerous temples and other holy places of Nepal, especially in the Kathmandu Valley, but also for the so far barely examined legal practice in South Asia. Moreover, the material provides information on the development of elite cultures, the legitimacy and presentation of the rulers as well as the importance of textualization and codification of law in the context of anthropologically approached jurisprudence.

The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities is the umbrella organisation of eight academies of sciences and humanities. It assembles more than 1900 scholars from a diverse range of academic fields, all of which are outstanding representatives of their disciplines, both nationally and internationally. Together, they are committed to promoting scientific exchange, excellent research, and the emergence of new talent in the liberal arts and sciences.

Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels is Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" and Head of the Department of Classical Indology at Heidelberg University's South Asia Institute. His fields of research include Ethno-Indology, Ritual studies, Social and Legal History of Hinduism, Cultural History and Religion of South Asia.

Further information:

25 Nov 2013
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