This project will be the first wide-ranging exploration of the formative phase (11th–13th c.) of the Tibetan Buddhist scholastic tradition. Its ground-breaking study of an exceptionally active period of Tibetan scholarly creativity will integrate Tibetan thinkers into world intellectual history and the global history of philosophy.
The revival of Buddhist culture in Tibet in the late 10th/11th c., marked by an intense engagement with the sophisticated tradition of Indian Buddhist scholarship, set in motion the development of new tools of reasoned analysis and their application in synthesizing exegeses of Indian Buddhist soteriological and philosophical literature and in newly devised textual genres. The project integrates the contextual aim of reconstructing the early Tibetan scholastic landscape with the conceptual aim of exploring the Tibetan scholastic method. This involves:

  • Mapping the networks of Tibetan scholastics in the 11th–13th c.
  • Charting the early scholastic corpus
  • Investigating seminal features of the early Tibetan scholastic toolkit
  • Studying how this toolkit was applied in hermeneutics and argumentation

The project TibSchol takes advantage of the recent surfacing of a large amount of early scholastic writings in manuscript form, advocating a broad-scale approach to this corpus that goes beyond previous studies both in qualitative and in quantitative terms. Introducing an original methodology that systematically exploits the high degree of intertextuality displayed in these scholastic treatises (typically containing critical discussions of others’ views), the project articulates personal networks, intellectual networks, and intellectual profiles.
This will pave the way for studying the circulation of texts and knowledge propagation, as well as the continuities and ruptures in a particularly enduring tradition of methodical and systematic learning in human history, as forms of scholasticism continue to survive in Tibetan monastic contexts to the present day.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 101001002).

Project’s fact sheet on CORDIS: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101001002

Media report: ÖAW researchers bring five ERC grants to Austria (in German)

Lab Stories: a short movie about TibSchol's PI and the TibSchol project


Follow us on Twitter!







       TibSchol website

Project data