Old Texts, New Insights: Exploring Buddhist Manuscripts

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024 | Viewed by 790

Special Issue Editors

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Buddhist Studies, Dongguk University, Seoul 04620, Republic of Korea
Interests: early & sectarian Buddhism
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
1. Department of Buddhist Studies, Dongguk University, Seoul 04620, Republic of Korea
2. Norwegian Institute of Philology, 0302 Oslo, Norway
Interests: Mahāyāna sūtras; Sanskrit manuscripts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for a Special Issue titled ‘Old Texts, New Insights: Exploring Buddhist Manuscripts’. This Special Issue aims to explore the multifaceted domain of Buddhist manuscripts and their associated culture, positioning them not merely as tangible bearers of material culture, but also as crucial vessels of intangible or immaterial culture in South, East, and Central Asian countries.

Buddhist manuscripts, embodying a rich tapestry of religious, literary, narrative, and intellectual traditions, played an instrumental role in disseminating Buddhist ideologies and practices across diverse geographical landscapes. The very corporeality of these manuscripts, manifested through palm leaves, birch barks, silks, traditional papers, among other mediums, intersects with the ethereal domain of religious thought and cultural ethos. Through meticulous examinations driven by codicology, palaeography, and philology, this Special Issue seeks to traverse beyond the doctrinal contents, delving into the myriad ways these manuscripts were conceived, crafted, and utilized across pre-modern Buddhist communities.

The symbiotic relationship between the material and immaterial facets of Buddhist manuscripts unveils a rich interplay in the religious contexts they were engrossed within. The manuscripts transcended their tangible form, transforming into revered religious objects, thereby becoming integral to the construction of Buddhist metaphysical systems and related practices. The varied materials and technologies employed across regions for manuscript production, ranging from palm leaves in the Indian subcontinent to birch bark in the greater Gandhāran region, not only reflect a vibrant material culture but also epitomize a shared intangible heritage, knitting communities in a shared religio-cultural tapestry. Furthermore, the aesthetic embellishments adorned on these manuscripts and their storage apparatus unveil a profound reverence towards the Dharma, extending their significance beyond mere textual forms to encompass artistic and architectural resonances. As such, the spread of manuscripts across lands not only transmitted Buddhist doctrines but also catalyzed a confluence of artistic styles, fostering rich, shared cultural milieus. This Special Issue seek to amplify the dialogue on how the intangible and material aspects of Buddhist manuscript culture amalgamated to shape religious practices, pedagogical paradigms, and cultural exchanges in antient Buddhist communities.

The research scope extends beyond manuscripts in ancient Indic languages, including Sanskrit, Gāndhārī, and Pāli, to those written in Tibetan, Classical Chinese, and other Asian languages. Regarding research methodologies, we embrace a wide array of topics, such as rigorous philological work on newly discovered manuscript materials, including tasks such as creating transliterations, diplomatic or critical editions, and translations. We also welcome novel interpretations of texts derived from manuscript readings, studies related to manuscript production, as well as paleographic, codicological, and iconographic analyses of manuscripts, among others.

We extend an invitation to scholars affiliated with universities or institutes, as well as independent researchers. Particularly, we encourage contributions from young scholars in the early stages of their careers. Research areas may encompass (but are not limited to) Buddhist Manuscripts in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and various Central Asian languages; Philological Research; Codicology; Paleography; Manuscript Preservation; and Digitalization of Manuscripts.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 200–300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editors, Prof. Dr. Soon-Il Hwang (sihwang@dongguk.edu), Dr. Jaehee Han (hanj0405@gmail.com), or to the Assistant Editor of Religions, Ms. Margaret Liu (margaret.liu@mdpi.com). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors to ensure that they are within the scope of this Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review.

Deadline for abstract submission: 31 March 2024

Deadline for full manuscript submission: 31 December 2024

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Soon-Il Hwang
Dr. Jaehee Han
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Buddhist manuscripts
  • Sanskrit manuscripts
  • Chinese manuscripts
  • Dunhuang manuscripts
  • philological research
  • codicology
  • paleography
  • iconography
  • manuscript preservation
  • digitalizing manuscripts

Published Papers (1 paper)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:


18 pages, 691 KiB  
A Preliminary Report on the Sanskrit Manuscript of the Uttaragrantha of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya
by Hyebin Lee
Religions 2024, 15(6), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060669 - 29 May 2024
Viewed by 237
The discovery of the Schøyen–Virginia manuscript of the Uttaragrantha provides significant insights into the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya. This newly identified Sanskrit manuscript offers a fresh perspective on monastic law codes, contributing original Sanskrit terms previously known only through Tibetan and Chinese translations, thereby [...] Read more.
The discovery of the Schøyen–Virginia manuscript of the Uttaragrantha provides significant insights into the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya. This newly identified Sanskrit manuscript offers a fresh perspective on monastic law codes, contributing original Sanskrit terms previously known only through Tibetan and Chinese translations, thereby enhancing our knowledge of Sanskrit–Tibetan–Chinese Vinaya terminologies. Also, by adding itself as a new textual witness to the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya, it demonstrates the complex textual history and underscores the potential multiplicity in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya traditions or even the “Greater Sarvāstivāda” Vinaya traditions. Variations in chapter sequencing across extant versions of the Uttaragrantha suggest the possibility of the chapters originally existing as independent texts rather than as a collective, the Uttaragrantha. This article presents the latest findings on the Sanskrit manuscript fragments of the Uttaragrantha in the Schøyen Collection and the private collection, Virginia. Furthermore, it attempts to show the role of the S-V manuscript of the Uttaragrantha in improving our textual understanding of the Uttaragrantha and examining the potential multiplicity in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Texts, New Insights: Exploring Buddhist Manuscripts)
Back to TopTop