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Paul Gerstmayr


Faculty of Oriental Studies

BA in Oriental Studies (Sanskrit with Old Iranian) - Balliol College, University of Oxford (2012)

MSt in Oriental Studies (Tantric Studies, Buddhist Chinese) - Balliol College, University of Oxford (2013)

Paul is a first year doctoral student in Oriental Studies, supervised by Prof. Alexis Sanderson at All Souls College. His research is centred around Early Śaiva Tantras with their peculiar register of Sanskrit (Aiśa Sanskrit). It aims to explain both the theological/philosophical justifications/ideologies underlying the choice of 'non-standard' language, and the linguistic/grammatical mechanisms behind some of these features. Hence, the DPhil (PhD) combines philology, philosophy of language, linguistics, and the study of religion/theology. The goal of the thesis is to sharpen and improve our understanding of Śaivism/Śāktism, which rose to a position of dominance among the Medieval Indian Religions, and influenced and interacted with most other major religious players, such as the Way of Mantras and Esoteric Buddhism, the Vaiṣṇava Pañcarātra, and the Jain Mantraśāstra. Paul has also started with what is probably the only way a student can really pay the debt owed to one's teachers – by teaching a new generation of Sanskritists.

OCHS Awards: 
Gupta Dan Bursary
St John's College