Bright Prospects for Gāndhārī Studies

Earlier this week, the Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz von Bund und Ländern approved the establishment of a new project in Gandhāran manuscript studies at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The project will have a runtime of twenty‐one years (2012–32) and provide four research positions and one technical position. During the first fourteen years (2012–25), the project will contribute to the edition of the currently known Gāndhārī manuscripts in close collaboration with scholars worldwide, and undertake a complementary survey and study of the Sanskrit manuscript tradition of Gandhāra. The last seven years (2026–32) are devoted to the compilation of comprehensive reference works on the languages, literature and history of Buddhism in Gandhāra. The project will provide open access to the results of its work online as well as producing print publications, and it will actively contribute to the development of digital tools for the analysis and presentation of textual source material and research results. At the same time as the establishment of the Bavarian Academy’s Gandhāra project in Munich, the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project at the University of Washington received renewed support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the years 2011–14, and a growing number of individual scholars contribute to Gandhāran studies or use source material from Gandhāra in their work in related fields. Both the Bavarian Academy’s Gandhāra project and the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project will support and train Ph.D. students, the former through a position offered in conjunction with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the latter through a scholarship offered with support from the Dhammachai International Research Institute. As editors of the Dictionary, Bibliography and Catalog, we will continue our work in conjunction with the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project as well as the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and with much greater resources at our disposal for improving the technical infrastructure of and the completeness and accuracy of our reference works. We note (not without a sigh of relief) that after a number of lean years, the mid- and long-term future of Gāndhārī studies is now secure and looking brighter than ever.