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Michael Radich receives DFG grant

08. Mai. 2019

Prof. Michael Radich, the professor of Buddhist Studies at the HCTS, was awarded a DFG Sachbeihilfe grant for his project "Intertextuality in the Chinese Buddhist Canon: Computational-Philological Assessment of Sources, Authorship/Translatorship, and Style." The project will run for three years, from October 2019 to September 2022.

The DFG Sachbeihilfe grant, summing up to 335,906 Euros, will finance the project "Intertextuality in the Chinese Buddhist Canon: Computational-Philological Assessment of Sources, Authorship/Translatorship, and Style." The funds will principally be used to employ a fulltime postdoctoral scholar who will apply and extend the original methods developed by Prof. Radich on the basis of custom software, for the critical analysis of ascriptions in the Chinese Buddhist Canon. The project aims at systematically applying these methods to all translation corpora from the inception of the translation tradition in 148 CE to around 450, for roughly 500 works.

The work will rest upon use of the high performance computing capacity of the Heidelberg University Computing Center, which has granted access to its equipment for running large-scale algorithms comprising millions of individual tests. Fruits of the project will include a database containing revised ascriptions and the evidence for them, the latter in the form of phraseological markers distinct to particular authors and periods, and data detailing their distribution in the canon. It is expected that the project will fundamentally redraw the map of the canon in this seminal period for the formation of East Asian Buddhism.

A summer school will take place at Heidelberg in 2020 or 2021, at which selected graduate students from North America, Europe, and East Asia will be trained in the tools and associated methods.

Prof. Michael Radich took up the Professorship of Buddhist Studies at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies in January 2018. Before that, he held visiting positions at Kyoto University, the University of Hamburg, and at Victoria University of Wellington. He conducted his PhD studies at Harvard University in 2007 with a dissertation on the history of Buddhist ideas about the various embodiments of Buddhahood.


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  • Two views of the Chinese Buddhist canon, via two reproduction technologies: the woodblocks for the thirteenth-century printing, held at Haeinsa 海印寺 in Korea; and the working interface of TACL, Radich’s software.