Universiteit Leiden

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Peter Bisschop

Professor of Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia

Prof.dr. P.C. Bisschop
+31 71 527 2980


The main focus of my research concerns the historical development and spread of early Hindu religious traditions, in particular Śaivism, based, first of all, on the philological study of Sanskrit texts. I am particularly interested in the composition and transmission of the anonymous Purāṇa literature, and the historical, religious and social contexts of Purāṇic mythology. I am a member of the international research team preparing a critical edition of the Skandapurāṇa. I also take a keen interest in other forms of Sanskrit literature such as Kāvya, Śāstra and Tantra. 

I am currently involved as principal investigator in two major research projects. I head the NWO Free Competition Project From Universe of Viṣṇu to Universe of Śiva (2016-2020).  Since September 2017, I am one of the four principal investigators of the ERC Synergy Project Asia Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State (2014-2020).


I am willing to supervise MA students on projects concerning any topics related to Sanskrit and various aspects of culture and society in early South Asia. For PhD projects, I particularly welcome those who work with primary sources and are willing to think beyond them.


  • 1993-1998: MA Philosophy and Indology at the University of Groningen.
  • 2000-2004: Research Assistant at the University of Groningen. PhD Early Saivism and the Skandapurara: Sects and Centres.
  • 2004-2005: Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford.
  • 2005-2010: Lecturer in Sanskrit Studies, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2010: Professor in Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia, Leiden University.


  • BA and MA courses Sanskrit.
  • BA courses on the history and culture of South Asia.

Selected Publications

  • Universal Śaivism. The Appeasement of All Gods and Powers in the Śāntyadhyāya of the Śivadharmaśāstra. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
  • The Skandapurāṇa. Volume IV. Adhyāyas 70-95. Start of the Skanda and Andhaka Cycles. Critical Edition with an Introduction & Annotated English Synopsis by Peter C. Bisschop and Yuko Yokochi, in cooperation with Diwakar Acharya and Judit Törzsök. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
  • The Skandapurāṇa. Volume IIB. Adhyāyas 31-52. The Vāhana and Naraka Cycles. Critical Edition with an Introduction and Annotated English Synopsis by Hans T. Bakker, Peter C. Bisschop and Y. Yokochi, in cooperation with Nina Mirnig and Judit Törzsök. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
  • Early Śaivism and the Skandapurāṇa: Sects and Centres. Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 2006.

Ancillary positions

  • Editor-in-Chief of Indo-Iranian Journal

  • Editor-in-Chief of the Gonda Indological Studies 

Professor of Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.04a



  • Brill Publishers editor in chief Indo-Iranian Journal
  • general editor Gonda Indological Studies

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