Curriculum Vitae

Michael Witzel

Wales Professor of Sanskrit

Department of South Asian Studies (until superficial name change, with same faculty, July 2011: Dept. of Sanskrit and Indian Studies), Harvard University

1 Bow Street, 3rd fl., Cambridge MA 02138, USA

phones 617 – 496 2990 (direct line) ; 495 3295, 496 8570, fax 617 – 496 8571


Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003

Election as Honorary member, German Oriental Society (Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft) (2009)


Born: 1943 at Schwiebus, Germany (now: Swiebodzin, Poland)

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

University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, (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

Maharrsi Balmiki (Sanskrit) Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1972/1973: Mimamsa philosophy (teaching medium Sanskrit, under  Nayib Gurujyu Jununath Pandit)

Teaching positions held

1972 Assistant Professor of Indology, University of Tübingen, Germany

1978-1980 Associate Professor of Sanskrit (“gewoon lector in het Sanskriet”), Instituut Kern, 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, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

1997 Invitation to become Prof. of Indology and head of the Department for Indology and Iranian Studies,

Munich University, Germany;  declined, as to remain at Harvard. (For German Indology see: )

Other Employment/Visiting Positions

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 (Deutsche Morgenlaendische Gesellschaft) and the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn), at Kathmandu
continued by NGMCP,online catalogue

1974-1977 Director of the Nepal Research Centre of the German Oriental Society, Kathmandu

May  1989  Collège de France, Paris

Sept. 1989 – Aug.1990 Research Fellow, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University

January 2001 Collège de France, Paris

Sept. 2004 – Aug. 2005: Visiting Professor, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), Tokyo,
SARVA Project

Fall/Winter 2008-9 Visiting Professor, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), Tokyo.

Summer 2009 Visiting Researcher, National Research Institute for Humanities and Nature (RIHN), Kyoto.

Professional services

1979-1981 Chairman, Department of South & Central Asian and Old- and Middle Iranian, University of Leiden

1982-1986 Chairman, Dutch Indological Association

1987-95 Chair, Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University

1992-1996 Founding Chair, Committee on South Asian Studies, Harvard University

1999- President, Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory, Boston

2006- President, International Association for Comparative Mythology, Boston  

Editorial Work

1975- Founding editor (with four colleagues) of: Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik (Journal, and monograph series) @ Amazon

1979-1983, Joint Editor; 1983- Editor-in-chief (with J. W. de Jong,; — since 1990, H.W. Bodewitz, O. von Hinüber, H. Bakke, J.Silk), 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. Link (also for orders).

1995- Founder and Editor-in-Chief of: Electronic Jounal for Vedic Studies (EJVS), relocated to:

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)

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)

2011 Ed. (with T. Osada) of: Cultural Relations between the Indus and the Iranian Plateau during the Third Millennium BCE
Indus Project
, Research Institute for Humanities and Nature June 7-8, 2008. HARVARD ORIENTAL SERIES, OPERA MINORA vol .7, Cambridge 2011