Christopher Minkowski


Retired Boden Professor of Sanskrit 

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / Balliol College


Research Interests:

  • Vedic language, literature and religion
  • Sanskrit Epic
  • Early Modern Intellectual History and History of Science

Current Projects:

Courses Taught:

  • Sanskrit and Vedic language and texts
  • South Asian intellectual traditions
  • History of Sanskrit and of the study of Sanskrit
  • History of early South Asia

Recent Publications:

  • ‘Nīlakaṇṭha’s Teachers and Gurus, Part 1: Lakṣmaṇa Paṇḍita’ Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens, 55 (2013-14), pp. 33-76.
  • Scholar Intellectuals in Early Modern India: Discipline, sect, lineage and community. Routledge: Abingdon, 2015. (Edited, with Rosalind O’Hanlon and Anand Venkatkrishnan).
  • ‘Social History in the Study of Indian Intellectual Cultures?’ South Asian History and Culture 6.1 (2015) 1-9.  (With Rosalind O’Hanlon and Anand Venkatkrishnan)  DOI: 10.1080/19472498.2014.969006 
  • ‘Learned Brahmins and the Mughal Court: the Jyotiṣas’  In Vasudha Dalmia and Munis Faruqui, eds. Religious Interactions in Mughal India.   New Delhi:  Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 102-34.
  • Appayya’s Vedānta and Nīlakaṇṭha’s Vedāntakataka,’ Journal of Indian Philosophy.  Available online:
  • 'Apūrvaṃ Pāṇḍityam: On Appayya Dīkṣita's Singular Life,'  Journal of Indian Philosophy. 2014. Available online:
  • ‘The Aśvistuti and the Enigma of the Mahābhārata’, in Silvia D’Intino and Caterina Guenzi, eds. Aux Abords de la Clarière: Ètudes indiennes et comparées en l’honneur de Charles Malamoud  (Paris: Brépols, 2012) 79-92.
  • “The Ṛtuvarṇana Chapter of Jñānarāja's Siddhāntasundara: Text, Translation, and Notes,” Gaita Bhāratī, 33.1-2 (2011) pp. 53-87. With Toke Knudsen.
  • “Seasonal Poetry as Science: Ṛtuvarṇana in Some Astronomy Treatises”, Gaita Bhāratī, 33.1-2 (2011) pp. 89-93.
  • “Advaita Vedānta in Early Modern History”.  In Religious Cultures in Early Modern India: New Perspectives, ed. Rosalind O’Hanlon and David Washbrook. Special Volume of South Asian History and Culture  2.2 (2011) 205-31.
  • “Where the Black Antelope Roam: Dharma and Human Geography in India,” in eds. Kurt A. Raaflaub and Richard Talbert, Geography, Ethnography, and Perceptions of the World in Ancient Civilizations, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010) 9-31.
  •  “Sanskrit Scientific Libraries and their Uses:  Examples and Problems of the Early Modern Period,” in eds. F. Bretelle, C. Proust, Looking at it from Asia: The Processes that shaped the sources of the History of Science.  Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science 206 (2010) 81-114.
  • “Nīlakaṇṭha’s Mahābhārata,” Seminar 608 (2010) 32-38.
  • “I’ll Wash Out Your Mouth With My Boot: A Guide to Philological Argument in Early Modern Banaras,”  in ed. Sheldon Pollock,  Epic and Argument in Sanskrit Literary History: Essays in Honor of Robert P. Goldman. (Delhi: Manhar, 2010117-41.
  • Meanings Numerous and Numerical: Nīlakaṇṭha and Magic Squares in the gveda,"  in L. Kulikov and M. Rusanov eds, Indologica T. Ya. Elizarenkova  Memorial Volume(Moscow: Russian State University for the Humanities, 2008) 315-28.
  • "Nīlakaṇṭha and His Historical Context," Vostok (Oriens  - Moscow Academy of Sciences) 2008, No. 4: 37-49.
  • The Study of Jyotiḥśāstra and the Uses of Philosophy of Science,"  Journal of Indian Philosophy, 36 (2008) 587-97.
  • “Why Should We Read the Maṅgala Verses?” in ed. W. Slaje, The Śāstrārambha: Inquiries into the Preamble in Sanskrit  Abhandlungen für die Kunde des  Morgenlandes 62 (2008) 1-24.
  • “What Makes People Who They Are? Pandit Networks and the Problem of  Livelihoods in Early Modern Western India,” Indian Economic and Social  History Review, 45.3 (2008) 381-416. (With Polly O’Hanlon)
  • On the Success of Nīlakantha's Mahābhārata Commentary," in ed. Fr Squarcini, Boundaries, Dynamics and Construction of Traditions in South Asia, (Florence: Firenze University Press, 2005) 225-52.
  • "Nīlakantha's Vedic Readings in the Harivamśa Commentary", in ed. Petteri Koskikallio, Epic, Khilas, and Purānas: Continuities and Ruptures. Proceedings of the Third Dubrovnik Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Purānas, September 2002. (Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2005) 411-33.
  • "Nîlakantha's Instruments of War: Modern, Vernacular, Barbarous," Indian Economic and social History Review,41 (2004) 365-85.
  • "A Nineteenth Century Sanskrit Treatise on the Revolution of the Earth: Govinda Deva's Bhūmibhramana," SCIAMUS 5 (2004) 199-224.
  • "On Sūryadāsa and the Invention of Bi-directional Poetry (vilomakāyva)," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 124.2 (2004) 325-33.
  • "Competing Cosmologies in Early Modern Indian Astronomy," in eds Charles Burnett, Jan Hogendijk, and Kim Plofker, Ketuprakāśa: studies in the history of the exact sciences in honor of David Pingree (Leiden: Brill, 2004) 349-85.
  • "The Vedastuti and Vedic Studies: Nīlakantha on Bhāgavata Purāna X.87," in eds A. Griffiths and J. E. M. Houben, The Vedas: Texts, Languages & Ritual. Proceedings of the Third International Vedic Studies Workshop, (Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 2004) 125-42.

Further Info:

Photograph of Chris Minkowski