Prof. John Brockington FRSE


Professor emeritus of Sanskrit, School of Asian Studies, Edinburgh University


Professor John Brockington graduated from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1963 and joined the Sanskrit Department at Edinburgh in 1965. In 1968 Professor Brockington completed his D.Phil with a thesis on the language and style of the Rāmāyaṇa. He remained at Edinburgh throughout his teaching career and is now emeritus Professor of Sanskrit in the School of Asian Studies, of which he was the first Head (1998-1999); he was also the first Convenor of the Centre for South Asian Studies (1989-1993). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2001.

He was the Secretary General of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies from 2000 to 2012 (and is now a Vice President) and he was the chair of the organising committee of the 13th World Sanskrit Conference, held at Edinburgh in July 2006. Professor Brockington has given lectures by invitation at many universities in India and Europe and was awarded the honorary Vidyāvācaspati degree by Silpakorn University, Bankok, in 2015.  He was a founder member the Executive Committee of the Dubrovnik International Conferences on the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas.

Research Areas

The Sanskrit epics and the history of Hinduism.

Research Interests

His research has focused on the Rāmāyaṇa in its many forms. Other research interests include the Mahabhārata, the Purāṇas and the development of Vaiṣṇavism.

Selected Publications

  • Translator: Rāma the Steadfast: An Early Form of the Rāmāyaṇa (Penguin Classics, 2006).
  • Epic Threads: John Brockington on the Sanskrit Epics (Oxford University Press, 2000).
  • A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sanskrit and other Indian Manuscripts of the Chandra Shum Shere Collection in the Bodleian Library, Part II, Epics and Purāṇas (Clarendon Press, 1999).
  • The Sanskrit Epics (E. J. Brill, 1998).
  • Hinduism and Christianity (Palgrave Macmillan, 1992).
  • Righteous Rama: the evolution of an epic (Oxford University Press, 1985).
  • The Sacred Thread: Hinduism in its Continuity and Diversity (Edinburgh University Press, 1981).

Chapters and Articles

  • “Stories in stone: sculptural representations of the Rāma narrative”, in: Oral–Written–Performed: the Rāmāyaṇa narratives in Indian literature and arts, ed. by Danuta Stasik (Heidelberg: CrossAsia eBooks, 2020): 37-51.
  • “Religious Practices in the Sanskrit Epics”, in Hindu Practice, ed. by Gavin Flood, in The Oxford History of Hinduism, gen. ed. Gavin Flood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 202): 79-98.
  • “Illustrated Rāmāyaṇa manuscripts”, in: Mitrasampradānam: a collection of papers in honour of Yaroslav Vassilkov (Saint Petersburg: MAE RAS, 2018): 204-21.
  • “Hanuman in the Mahabharata”, Journal of Vaishnava Studies 12/2, 129.135 (2004).
  • “Yoga in the Mahābhārata”, in: Ian Whicher & David Carpenter eds., Yoga: The Indian Tradition, Routledge, London (2003).