Prof. Jonathon Silk

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Silk (1960) studied East Asian Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio and subsequently Buddhist Studies at the University of Michigan. At the latter university he obtained his PhD in 1994 with the thesis: The Origins and Early History of the Mahāratnakūţa Tradition of Mahāyāna Buddhism, With a Study of the Ratnarāśisūtra and Related Materials.


Education and work experience

Silk (1960) studied East Asian Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio and subsequently Buddhist Studies at the University of Michigan. At the latter university he obtained his PhD in 1994 with the thesis: The Origins and Early History of the Mahāratnakūţa Tradition of Mahāyāna Buddhism, With a Study of the Ratnarāśisūtra and Related Materials.

During his studies, Silk spent several years in Japan supported by various grants. After his PhD, Silk became Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College in Iowa and in 1995 at the Department of Comparative Religion of the Western Michigan University. From 1998 until 2002 he taught at Yale University, and from 2002 at the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). From 2007 he has been Professor in the study of Buddhism at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Main academic thoughts

Silk’s scientific orientation in the study of Buddhism is very broad, in time as well as geographically: his interest covers the oldest primary sources and the rise of Buddhist communities all over Asia, but he is equally interested in the contemporary transmission of Buddhism toward the West. Silk reads Classic Sanskrit, Pāli, Middle Indian, Classic Tibetan, Classic Chinese, Japanese, French and German. He is furthermore fluent in Japanese.

Selected publications

Silk, J. (2009), Riven by Lust: Incest and Schism in Indian Buddhist Legend and Historiography (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press)

Silk, J. (2008), Managing Monks: Administrators and Administrative Roles in Indian Buddhist Monasticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press)


Editor:Yao Pei
Tags:prof. jonathon silk

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