Centre for Advanced Study

at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Buddhist Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection


Former 2001/2002 Humanities - Theology

End Report

During the year at CAS, the project made substantial progress. The aim of the project was to publish the grand collection of Mr. Martin Schøyen, Spikkestad, Norway. The Schøyen Collection (SC) contains manuscript materials from the beginning of writing (Sumerian, about 3000 B.C.) up to the Renaissance, and represents most of the main cultural traditions of the world.

At CAS, efforts were mainly concentrated on the Buddhist Manuscripts of the collection (BMSC). Associated with the BMSC work was also the computer-lexicographic project “Thesaurus Literaturae Buddhicae.”

The year was mostly organized as a running workshop. Almost all the disciplines of manuscript science were practiced, form preservation work (including the study writing materials, palm leaf, birch bark, tree and vellum), to palaeography (including dating of scripts and manuscripts), and basic transcription work, text-critical and stemmatic work, translation and interpretation, genre research, the general study of Buddhist literature as an expression of Buddhist culture, society, its monastic community and its religion and philosophy.

The style of work was informal with continuous communication between scholars and team-work, for which CAS provided the most perfect venue. This form of work was also enhanced by the fact that the group had as its agreed aim to contribute to the series of volumes devoted to the SC. One volume was completed during the CAS period, and was published in August 2002 (BMSC vol. ii). The basis for a second volume (BMSC vol. iii, deadline October 1st, 2003) was laid with a fair number of initiated contributions to be published in this volume.

The work on producing a complete virtual SC was planned and initiated, and the group took care to develop routines and educate man-power to continue this work. Most active partners and co-operators of this work were the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and UCLA, (for PCTSC); Washington University, Seattle (for BMSC); and the University of Florence (for GPSC). Naturally, the virtual BMSC was completed during the period at CAS, as representing the main material for the main research group, but also the GPSC was completed. The more work intensive PCTSC was initiated at CAS, but is now practically complete.

The project had a relatively high profile in the media, for which purpose the information bulletin of CAS played a crucial role to initiate this process. These media appearances included a number of interviews in Norwegian papers and ether media, as well as in the BBC, DW, Japanese papers, publications and TV (NHK, still to be broadcasted), etc.

The BMSC project was already initiated as a project before the CAS period with a steering group of four persons (as mentioned as the first four in the list of participants below), but the CAS period gave the project a very significant impetus, the result of which will be experienced for many years to come. Plans inspired by the routines of CAS are being developed for trying to make the conditions of CAS available on a more permanent basis for the whole MSC project.


  • Baums, Stefan
    Lecturer University of Copenhagen 2001/2002
  • Brekke, Torkel
    - 2001/2002
  • Cox, Collett D.
    Professor University of Washington 2001/2002
  • Dietz, Siglinde
    Dr. 2001/2002
  • Franco, Eli
    Dr. University of Vienna 2001/2002
  • Glass, Andrew Stuart
    Research Assistant University of Washington 2001/2002
  • Harrison, Paul Maxwell
    Professor 2001/2002
  • Hartmann, Jens-Uwe
    Professor University of Munich 2001/2002
  • Lin, Irene Hong-Hong
    Dr. 2001/2002
  • Mathisen, Henrik
    Cand. Philol University of Oslo (UiO) 2001/2002
  • Matsuda, Kazunobu
    Professor Bukkyo University 2001/2002
  • Melzer, Gudrun
    Master of Arts 2001/2002
  • Pagel, Ulrich
    Dr. School of Oriental and African Studies 2001/2002
  • Petersen, Jens Østergaard
    Lecturer University of Copenhagen 1999/2000, 2001/2002
  • Qvarnström, Olle
    Dr. Uppsala University 2001/2002
  • Saerji,
    Ph. D. Candidate Peking University 2001/2002
  • Salomon, Richard
    Professor University of Washington 2001/2002
  • Sander, Lore Gertrud
    Dr. 2001/2002
  • Skilling, Peter Conrad
    Curator Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation 2001/2002
  • Skilton, Andrew
    Dr. Cardiff University 2001/2002
  • Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya, Margarita
    Professor Russian Academy of Science 2001/2002
  • Wille-Peters, Klaus
    Dr. University of Göttingen 2001/2002

Group leader

  • Jens E. Braarvig

    Title Professor Institution University of Oslo (UiO) Year at CAS 2001/2002