Michael Witzel, PhD
Editor, Traditional Knowledge Systems

Brief Bio-Data

Name: Michael Witzel

Place of Birth: Schwiebus, Germany

Date of Birth: 1943

Permanent Address:

Michael Witzel
Wales Professor of Sanskrit
Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA
Phone: 617-496 2990 (direct line) ; 495 3295, 496 8570, fax 617 - 496 8571
Email: Witzel@fas.harvard.edu             


University of Tuebingen (Germany), 1965-1967 (P.Thieme, H.-P. Schmidt): Indology, Indo-European, Japanology

University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, (Germany), 1967-1971 (K.Hoffmann, J.Narten, B.Forssman, G.Klingenschmitt) concentration: Indology, Indo-Iranian philology and linguistics; Indo-European linguistics, Japanology

M.A. 1971, Erlangen; Ph.D. 1972, Erlangen

Dissertation: Das Katha-Aranyaka, textkritische Edition mit Uebersetzung und Kommentar. Erlangen 1972; Advisor (Promotor): K. Hoffmann

Sanskrit Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1972/1973: Mimamsa philosophy (teaching medium Sanskrit)

Professional Experience:

Teaching positions held

1972 Assistant Professor of Indology, University of Tuebingen, Germany
1978-1980 Associate Professor of Sanskrit ("gewoon lector in het Sanskriet"), University of Leiden, The Netherlands
1981-1986 Professor of Sanskrit language and literature ("hoogleraar in het Sanskriet en zijn letterkunde") University of Leiden, The Netherlands
1986-1987 Visiting Professor of Sanskrit, Harvard University
1987- Harvard University, Wales Professor of Sanskrit

Editorial work

1975- Founding editor (with four colleagues) of: Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik (Journal, and monograph series)
1979-1983 Joint Editor; 1983- Editor-in-chief (with J. W. de Jong, and since 1990, H.W. Bodewitz, O. von Hinueber), Indo-Iranian Journal
1985- Editor (together with J.C. Heesterman): Memoirs of the Kern Institute, Leiden (No.3 sqq.)
1990- Editor, Harvard Oriental Series
1990 Ed. of: W. Caland, Kleine Schriften (= Glasenapp-Stiftung, Bd. 27, Wiesbaden 1990
1995- Founder and Editor-in-Chief of: Electronic Jounal for Vedic Studies (EJVS) ejvs-list@shore.net; http://www.shore.net/~india/ejvs
1995- Indian Philology and South Asian Studies, ed. Albrecht Wezler and Michael Witzel. Berlin/New York (de Gruyter). (Vol.1: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. G. Erdosy)
1995- Managing Editor, International Journal of Tantric Studies (IJTS) ijts-list@shore.net; http://www1.shore.net/~india/ijts
1997 Ed. of: F.B.J.Kuiper, Selected Writings on Indian Philology and Linguistics, New Delhi, 1997, pp. 556
1997 Ed. of. Inside the Texts - Beyond the Texts. Proceedings of the First International Vedic Workshop, June 1989, Harvard University, Cambridge (HOS-Opera Minora)

Other Employment

1972-1977 Director of the "Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project", a joint venture of the Department of Archeology, (Ministry of Education, His Majesty's Government of Nepal)
and the German Oriental Society and the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn), at Kathmandu
1974-1977 Director of the Nepal Research Centre of the German Oriental Society, Kathmandu
1989/1990 Research Fellow, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University

Prizes, Awards, Professional Societies:

1979-1981 Chairman, Department of South & Central Asian and Old – and Middle Iranian, University of Leiden
1982-1986 Chairman, Dutch Indological Association
1987-1995 Chair, Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
1992-1996 Chair, Committee on South Asian Studies, Harvard University


1. Jungavestisch apaxedra- im System der avestischen Himmelsrichtungsbezeichnungen.MSS 30, (1972), pp. 163-191

2. Das Pravargya-Brahmana der Katha-Schule des Schwarzen Yajurveda. M.A. thesis, Erlangen 1971, pp. 170

3. On the reconstruction of the authentical Paippalada-Samhita. Journal of the Ganganath Jha Research Institute, Vol. XXIX (1973) pp. 463-488; [Part II:] Vol. XXXII (1976) pp. 137-168

4. Das Katha-Aranyaka, textkritische Edition mit Uebersetzung und Kommentar. PhD thesis, Erlangen 1972; partially printed ("Teildruck"), Erlangen-Kathmandu 1974, pp. XXVI, 185

5. On some unknown systems of marking the Vedic accents. Vishvabandhu Commemoration Volume (=Vishveshvaranand Indological Journal, Vol. XII), 1974, pp. 472-508

6. Eine fuenfte Mitteilung ueber das Vadhula-Sutra. Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik (StII), Vol. 1, 1975, pp. 75-108

7. Zur Geschichte der Rajopdhyayas von Bhaktapur. Folia Rara. Festschrift W. Voigt, ed. by H. Franke et al., Wiesbaden 1976, pp. 155-175

8. On the history and the present state of Vedic tradition in Nepal. Vasudha, Vol. XV, No. 12, Kathmandu 1976, pp. 17-24; 35-39

9. An unknown Upanisad of the Krsna Yajurveda: The Katha-Siksa-Upanisad. Journal of the Nepal Research Centre, Vol. 1, Wiesbaden-Kathmandu 1977, pp. 135

10. On Magical thought in the Veda [Inaugural Lecture]. Leiden: Universitaire Pers, 1979, pp. 22

11. Die Katha-Siksa-Upanisad und ihr Verhaeltnis zur Krsnavalli der Taittiriya-Upanisad. WZKS Vol. XXIII (1979) pp. 5-28 [=introduction, text, transl/P>

12. On the location of the Licchavi Capital of Nepal. Festschrift fuer P.Thieme (= StII 5/6) 1980, pp. 311-337

13. Die Katha-Siksa-Up.. , WZKS XXIV (1980), pp. 21-82 [continuation of No. 11: discussion]

14. Materialien zu den vedischen Schulen: I. Ueber die Caraka-Schule. StII 7 (1981), pp. 109-132. [=Pt.1: History of the Caraka School].

15. Review of: D. Maue, Brhadaranyakopanisad. Giessen 1976. ZDMG 130 (1980), pp. 613-616

16. Early Eastern Iran and the Atharvaveda. Persica IX (1980), pp. 86-128

17. Review of: J. Gonda, The Mantras of the Agnyupasthana and the Sautramani. Amsterdam 198o: Kratylos Vol. XXVI (1981/2), pp. 80-85

18. Ueber die Caraka-Schule [continuation. of No.14: ch.2-4: position of the school, texts, present state of this lost Sakha] StII 8/9 (1982), pp. 171-240

(19.) Ueber sankhu und padbisa, in: A. Wezler, Zum Verstaendnis von Chandogya-Upanisad 5.1.12, StII 8/9 (1982), pp. 15-188

20. Anunasika in medieval Veda tradition. (Materials on Vedic sakhas, 3) IIJ 25 (1983) p. 19

21. The Rgveda-Samhita as known to AV-Par. 46. (Materials on Vedic sakhas, 4) IIJ 25 (1983), pp. 238-239

22. Rgvedisch udumbala. IIJ 25 (1983), pp. 239-240

23. An unknown Yajurveda-Samhita. (Materials on Vedic sakhas, 6) IIJ 27 (1984), pp. 105-106

24. The earliest form of the concept of rebirth in India, (Summary). 31st CISHAAN (Tokyo-Kyoto) ceedings, ed. by T.Yamamoto, Tokyo 1984, pp. 145-146

25. Buddhist forms of fire ritual (homa) in Nepal and Japan. (Summary). 31st CISHAAN (Tokyo-Kyoto), Proceedings, ed. by T.Yamamoto, Tokyo 1984, p.135

26. On the origin of the literary device of the "frame story" in Old Indian literature, (Sum). 31st CISHAAN (Tokyo-Kyoto), Proceedings, ed. by T.Yamamoto, Tokyo 1984, p. 534

27. On searching for, describing and editing of Vedic manuscripts, (Summary). 31st CISHAAN (Tokyo-Kyoto), Proceedings, ed. by T.Yamamoto, Tokyo 1984, pp. 1098-1099

28. Sur le chemin du ciel. Bulletin des Etudes indiennes, Vol. 2 (1984), pp. 213-279

29. Die muendliche Tradition der Paippaladins von Orissa. Festgabe fuer K. Hoffmann, I. = MSS 44 (1985), pp. 259-287

30. Die Atharvavedatradition und die Paippalada-Samhita. ZDMG, Supplementband VI (XXII. Deutscher Orientalistentag, Tuebingen, March 1983), Stuttgart 1985, pp. 256-271

31. Regionale und ueberregionale Faktoren in der Entwicklung vedischer Brahmanengruppen in Mittelalter. (Mater. zu den ved. Schulen, 5). Regionale Tradition in Suedasien, ed. by H. Kulke and D. Rothermund (= Beitraege zur Suedasienforschung 104), Heidelberg 1986, pp. 37-76

32. Agnihotra-Rituale in Nepal. Formen kulturellen Wandels und andere Beitraege zur Erforschung des Himalaya, ed. B. Koelver u. S. Lienhard, St. Augustin: VGH Wissenschaftsverlag 1986, pp. 157-187

33. Review of: S.V. Ganapati, Sama Veda (Delhi 1982), in: ZDMG 136 (1986) p. 149

34. Zu den Namen einiger vedischer Schulen. (Mat. zu den ved. Schulen, 2). StII 10 (1983/85), pp. 231-237

35. On the Archetype of Patanjali's Mahabhasya. IIJ 29 (1986), pp. 249-259

36. On the origin of the literary device of the 'Frame Story' in Old Indian literature. Hinduismus und Buddhismus, Festschrift fuer U. Schneider, ed. by H.Falk, Freiburg 1987, pp. 380-414

37. On the localisation of Vedic texts and schools (Materials on Vedic sakhas, 7). India and the Ancient world. History, Trade and Culture before A.D. 650. P.H.L. Eggermont Jubilee Volume, ed.by G. Pollet, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 25, Leuven 1987, pp. 173-213, 2 maps

38. JB palpulani. The structure of a Brahmana tale. Fel. Vol. B.R. Sharma, ed. by M.D. Balasubrahmaniam, Tirupati (Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha) 1986, ca. 189-216

39. The coronation rituals of Nepal, with special reference to the coronation of King Birendra in 1975. Heritage of the Kathmandu Valley. Proceedings of an International Conference in Luebeck, June 1985, ed. by Niels Gutschow and Axel Michaels. (Nepalica 4, hg. von B. Koelver u. S. Lienhard). St. Augustin (VGH Wissenschaftsverlag) 1987, 417-467

40. The case of the shattered head. Festschrift fuer W. Rau, (= StII 13/14), Reinbek 1987, pp.363- 415

41. Tracing the Vedic dialects. in: Colette Caillat, Dialects dans les litteratures indo-aryennes. Actes du Colloque International organise par UA 1058 sous les auspices du C.N.R.S avec le soutien du College de France, de la Fondation Hugot du College de France, de l'Universite de Paris III, du Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres, Paris (Fondation Hugot) 16-18 Septembre 1986. Paris (College de France, Institut de Civilisation Indienne) 1989, pp. 97-264

42. The Realm of the Kurus: Origins and Development of the First State in India. Nihon Minami Ajia Gakkai Zenkoku Taikai, Hokoku Yoshi, [Summaries of the Congress of the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies], Kyoto 1989, pp. 1-4

43. Kumano.kara Woruga.made. (From Kumano to the Volga, in Japanese) Zimbun 36, Kyoto 1990, p. 4-5

(43a.) Ed., introduction, and Index of: W. Caland, Kleine Schriften (Glasenapp-Stiftung, Bd. 27) Stuttgart 1990, pp. XXXIII, 786.

44. Ushi.wo meguru Indojin.no kagae (On the concept of the sacredness of the Cow in India; in Japanese) Has 1991, No.1, The Association of Humanities and Sciences, Kobe Gakuin University, 1991, No.1, p. 9-20

45. On Indian historical writing: The case of the Vamsavalis. Journal of the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies, No. 2, 1990, p.1-57

46. Notes on Vedic dialects, 1. Zimbun, Annals of the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, 67 (1991) Kyoto 1991, 31-70

47. Review: Swati Datta (nee Sen Gupta), Migrant Brahmanas in Northern India. Their Settlement and General Impact c. A.D. 475-1030. Delhi (Motilal Bantheidass) 1989, pp. XV, 270. in: Journal of the Economy of the Near East, 35, pp. 364-366

48. Review: Zur Schulzugehoerigkeit von Werken der Hinayana-Literatur. Zweiter Teil (Symposien zur Buddhismusforschung, III, 2). (ed.) Heinz Bechert. Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Goettingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse, Dritte Folge, No. 154. Goettingen : Vandenhoek & Ruprecht. 1987. p. 301-434. JAOS 1991, 581-583

49. Meaningful ritual. Structure, development and interpretation of the Tantric Agnihotra ritual of Nepal. Ritual, State and History in South Asia. Essays in honour of J.C. Heesterman, ed. A.W. van den Hoek, D.H.A. Kolff, M.S.Oort, Leiden 1992, 774-827

50. Review article: Alfred Hillebrandt, Kleine Schriften, ed. R. P. Das, Wiesbaden (Steiner) 1987. Journal of the American Oriental Society 112.4 (1992) pp. 611-618

51. Nepalese Hydronomy: Towards a history of settlement in the Himalayas. Proceedings of the Franco-German Conference at Arc-et-Senans, June 1990. Paris 1993, pp. 217-266

52. Review article: Swati Datta (nee Sen Gupta), Migrant Brhmanas in Northern India. Their Settlement and General Impact c. A.D. 475-1030. Delhi (Motilal Bantheidass) 1989, pp. XV, 270. in: Journal of the American Oriental Society 114, 1994, pp. 264-268

53. Kashmiri manuscripts and pronunciation. in: Studies on the Nilamata-Purana, ed. by Y. Ikari, Kyoto 1995, pp. 1-53

54. The Kashmiri Brahmins. in: Studies on the Nilamata-Purana, ed. by Y. Ikari, Kyoto 1995, pp. 211- 268

55. Looking for the heavenly casket. Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 1.2 (1995) (EJVS 1-2)

56. Early Indian History: Linguistic and Textual Parameters. in: Language, Material Culture and ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. G. Erdosy, (Indian Philology and South Asian Studies, ed. Albrecht Wezler and Michael Witzel, Vol. 1) Berlin/New York (de Gruyter) 1995, 85-125

57. Rgvedic history: poets, chieftains and politics. in: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. G. Erdosy, (Indian Philology and South Asian Studies, ed. Albrecht Wezler and Michael Witzel, Vol. 1) Berlin/New York (de Gruyter) 1995, 307-352

57a. Editorials, EJVS 1-1, 1-2 (May and June 1995) www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs
57b. Tantra and Dharma Teachers from Kashmir. International Journal of Tantric Studies (IJTS) IJTS 1-3 (1996), www1.shore.net/~india/ijts; http://www.asiatica.org/publications/ijts/

58. Early Sanskritization , Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS), vol. 1, 4, Dec. 1995, www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs.

59. How to enter the Vedic mind? Strategies in Translating a Brahmana text. Translating, Translations, Translators From India to the West. (Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora, 1) Cambridge : Harvard Oriental Series 1996.

60. Looking for the heavenly casket, Fs . P. Thieme, StII 20, 1996: 531-544, [expanded version of no. 55]

61. Introduction, In: F.B.J. Kuiper, Selected Writings on Indian Linguistics and Philology, ed. by A. Lubotsky, M.S. Oort, M. Witzel, Amsterdam- Atlanta: Rodopi 1997, pp. ix-xxvi

62. Early Sanskritization. Origins and development of the Kuru State. B. Koelver (ed.), Recht, Staat und Verwaltung im klassischen Indien. The state, the Law, and Administration in Classical India. Muenchen : R. Oldenbourg 1997, 27-52

62a. Early Sanskritization, reprint Journal of the Indological Association of South Afrifa (JIASA) of : Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS), vol. 1,4, Dec. 1995, http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs.

63. Sarama and the Panis. Origins of Prosimetric Exchange in Archaic India. Joseph Harris and Karl Reichl (eds.), Prosimetrum: Crosscultural Perspectives on Narrative in Prose and Verse, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer 1997, 397-409

64. Macrocosm, Mesocosm, and Microcosm. The persistant nature of 'Hindu' beliefs and symbolical forms . in S. Mittal (ed.), IJHS Symposium on Robert Levy's MESOCOSM, International Journal of Hindu Studies, 1.3 Dec. 1998, 501-53 (http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/ijhs/abs01-03.htm)

65. No Sati, Little Dowry: The lot of Women in the Vedic Period . IJTS 2: 4 (Dec. 1966) http://www.asiatica.org/publications/jsaws/

65b. Reprint of no. 65 in: Journal of South Asia Women Studies: 1995 - 1997. Enrica Garzilli (ed.) . Milan: Asiatica Association 1997: 159-169

66. The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools: The Social and Political Milieu. (Materials on Vedic Sakhas 8). In: Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts. New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas. Harvard Oriental Series. Opera Minora, vol. 2. Cambridge 1997, 257-345  *pdf

67. M. Witzel (ed.) Introduction. In: Inside the texts, Beyond the Texts. New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas. (Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora 2). Cambridge 1997   *pdf

68. Classical Studies and Indology. In: H. Nakatani (ed.) Reconstitution of Classical Studies. Special Issue : A Report on the First Symposium towards a Reconstitution of Classical Studies, No. 3. 3/11/ Heisei 11 /[1999]: 16-36

69. Aryan and non-Aryan Names in Vedic India. Data for the linguistic situation, c. 1900-500 B.C. in : J. Bronkhorst & M. Deshpande (eds.), Aryans and Non-Non-Aryans, Evidence, Interpretation and Ideology. Cambridge (Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora 3). 1999, 337-404  *pdf

70. Substrate Languages in Old Indo-Aryan (Rgvedic, Middle and Late Vedic). EJVS Vol. 5,1, Aug. 1999, 1-67 (http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs)

71. Early Sources for South Asian Substrate Languages. Mother Tongue (extra number), October 1999, pp.1-70 [longer, slightly revised version of no. 70]  *pdf

72. Sapta rsayah - The Big Dipper (ursa maior) In: H. Nakatani (ed.) Reconstitution of Classical Studies . No. 4. 4/11/ Heisei 11 / [1999]: 36

73. The Pleiades and the Bears, viewed from inside the Vedic Texts. EJVS 5,2 Dec. 1999. (http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs)  

74. Comments on Srinivasan, Mother Tongue V, 1999 [August 2000],  119-140  [on: L.A.Srinivasan, An Enquiry about Sumerian Words, MT V, 109-=118]

75. Die sprachliche Situation Nordindiens in vedischer Zeit. Indoarisch,   Iranisch, und die Indogermanistik, Arbeitstagung der  Indogermanischen  Gesellschaft 1997 in Erlangen;  hg.  B. Forssman & Robert Plath.  Wiesbaden: L. Reichert  2000, 543-579

76. The Home of the Aryans. Anusantatyai. Fs. fuer Johanna Narten  zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. A. Hintze & E. Tichy.  (Muenchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft, Beihefte NF 19)  Dettelbach: J.H. Roell 2000, 283-338   *pdf

77. Little Words with Profound Meaning.  Review of Dr. Madhusudan Mishra,  From Indus to Sanskrit, (Part One)
Delhi : Yugank Publishers 1996     (SAAVADHAANAPATTRA 1) EJVS  Vol. 7, issue 1 (March 2001)

78. WESTWARD HO!  The Incredible Wanderlust of the Rgvedic Tribes
Exposed by S. Talageri. A Review of:  Shrikant G. Talageri, The Rigveda. A historical analysis.  part 1   part 2 part 3 (Saavadhaanapattra no. 2)  EJVS 7-2,   March 31, 2001

79. Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts. EJVS 7-3  May 25, 2001  *pdf

80. ADDENDUM TO EJVS 7-3, notes 45-46  EJVS 7-4  *pdf

81. A first link between the Rgvedic Panjab and Mesopotamia:  s'imbala/s'almali, and GISgisimmar?  Fs. A. Parpola, Helsinki 2001

82.  Sanskrit.  In: Facts About the World's Languages: an Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present, ed. by J. Garry and C. Rubino. New York /Dublin: H.W. Wilson Co. 2001, pp.  611-622

83. Comparison and Reconstruction : Language and Mythology.  MT VI 2001, 45- 62

84. PrajatantuHaranandalahari . Fs, M.Hara. Reinbek 2001

In Press

Vedic Hinduism (together with S. Jamison), in.: A. Sharma, Studies on Hinduism, Univ. of Virginia Press

Yajnavalkya as ritualist and philosopher, and his personal language.  Fs. H.-P. Schmidt

Medieval Veda Tradition as Reflected  in Nepalese Manuscripts. NGMPP Fs.

The myth of the hidden sun in India Japan – and beyond. Proceedings of a conference on Mythology held at Hamilton, Ontario, March 1993

Aryan Questions. In an edited vol. (Curzon Publ.), ed. by  Bryant  &  Patton

Possehl, G. and M. Witzel.  2001.  "Vedic."  In P.N. Peregrine and M. Ember, eds., Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Volume 8: South and Southwest  Asia.  Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.

etc., etc.

Other, and popular:

"The Vedic Literature" in: Vaisnavism. Contemporary Scholars Discuss the Gaudiya Tradition.
Ed. by Steven Rosen. Foreword by Edward Dimock, Jr. New York 1992, 19-26

A few minor reviews, and contributions on Indian literature in Kindler's Literaturlexikon, Muenchen 1972/73 and 1991/2 as well as incidental contributions to local publications.  

---, and S. Farmer, Horseplay in Harappa. The Indus Valley  Decipherment Hoax.
 Frontline [Chennai]  Vol. 17 :: No. 19, Oct. 13, 2000, 4-14

---, and S. Farmer, [Follow up]:  New Evidence on the 'Piltdown Horse' Hoax
Vol. 17 :: No. 23, November 11 - 24, 2000, pp.  126-129
[complete updatehttp://www.safarmer.com/frontline/  ]  

Summary  of the Decipherment Hoax  in OUTLOOK,  Nov 6, 2000: A Bushy Tail: The Piltdown Horse
Wild guesses, fantasy as fact, outright fraud-that's the staple of revisionist 'Hindu' historians http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20001106&fname=Opinion%20(F)&sid=1