4 Million Euros for Free Competition Humanities

On June 29th, NWO Humanities assigned 4 million euros to the Free Competition in the Humanities.
One of the awarded research programs is by Prof. dr. P.C. (Peter) Bisschop (LIAS):


The 6th-7th centuries CE in South and Southeast Asia are characterized by a major shift in religion. Worship of the god Viṣṇu (Vaiṣṇavism) had flourished in the preceding centuries, supported by many of the kingly courts in India. In the said transitional period, the worship of Śiva (Śaivism) became the dominant religious model, with an impact reaching far beyond the borders of the Indian subcontinent, and stretching over many centuries. It had a lasting influence on the religious and political formations of the entire region.

     The present project will be the first to study some of the foundational works of ritual and mythology of Vaiṣṇavism and Śaivism in tandem. This will uniquely enable us to explain what amounted to a sea change in terms of religion: the rapid takeover of the dominant position of Vaiṣṇavism by Śaivism.

     Building on the long-running Skandapurāṇa project, which will produce a complete critical edition of the 6th-7th century Śaiva text called Skandapurāṇa, the present project will integrate the cultural-historical study of Śaivism with that of Vaiṣṇavism. We aim to explain how and why the dominant discourse of a social and cosmic order controlled by Viṣṇu came to be superseded by one in which Śiva rules supreme. Our findings will elucidate one of the key historical moments in the formation of Hinduism, and contribute to a better understanding of Hinduism’s pluralistic origins and identity.

Last Modified: 13-07-2015