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Johannes Bronkhorst to Deliver Root Lecture on “Can Religion be Explained?”

Johannes Bronkhorst, professor emeritus at the University of Lausanne, will deliver the Root Lecture at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of Bronkhorst’s lecture is “Can Religion Be Explained?” It is free and open to the public.
One of the possible explanations he will explore is drawn from cognitive science and neuroscience. He will also be a visiting professor in while at W&L.

Bronkhorst has concentrated on the history of Indian thought and published on a range of topics, including indigenous grammar and linguistics and the interaction among Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism in their philosophical schools and religious practices.

He earned a B.S. from the Free University in Amsterdam, an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Pune (India). He returned to the Netherlands and earned a second doctorate from the University of Leiden. He taught Sanskrit and Indian studies at the University of Lausanne until his retirement.

Bronkhorst has published 190 research papers, all in specialized journals, more than 15 books, besides numerous reviews. A few of his recent books are “Tradition and Argument in Classical Indian Linguistics: The Bahiranga-Paribhasa in the Paribhasendusekhara” (2013); “The Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahmanism (Handbook of Oriental Studies)” (2011); and “Absorption” (2012).

He has edited nine collective volumes, besides being the regional editor for South Asia of the Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques (1993-2012); the editor of Brill’s Indological Library and of the Handbook of Oriental Studies (India) since 1991; and coeditor of Worlds of South and Inner Asia since 2010.

Bronkhorst is a member of various editorial boards, including the Journal of Indian Philosophy, Antiquorum Philosophia and Cracow Indological Studies. He also is a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Root Lecture Fund was established by Robert W. Root (W&L ’42) in 1991 to support guest speakers selected by the Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Religion.