Klaus Klostermaier

Klaus K. Klostermaier
Born 1933
Munich, Germany
Nationality Canadian
Education PhD in philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome (1961),
PhD in Ancient Indian History and Culture from the University of Bombay (1969).
Known for Sanskrit and Hindu scholar
Title University Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Klaus K. Klostermaier (born 1933) is a prominent scholar on Hinduism and Indian history and culture.[1][2] He obtained a PhD in philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1961, and another in "Ancient Indian History and Culture" from the University of Bombay in 1969.

An ordained Catholic priest, Klostermaier was a missionary and theology teacher for nine years in India in the 1960s.[3] His study of Hindu texts and scholarship, while living with practicing Vaishnava Hindus there, resulted in his Der Hinduismus published in 1965.[3] The expertise he gained then, led to him being appointed advisor to the Papal office, in the Vatican, on non-Christian religions.[3]

He joined the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba (Canada) in 1970. He received a Rh-Institute Award for "Excellence in the Humanities", of a Templeton Course Award in Science and Religion and an Award for Excellence in Graduate teaching from the University of Manitoba. He was the University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada.[4][5] He served as the Head of its Center for Religion and Culture from 1986 to 1995.[5]

In 1998, for his scholarship on Hinduism, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada,[5][4][6] and was Head of the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba (Canada) from 1986 to 1997, and director of an "Asian Studies Center", 1990–1995.

He was the Director of Academic Affairs at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies from 1997–1998. A festschrift in his honour was published in 2004.[7] He has spent ten years in India and has researched primary sources in various languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Pali, Latin, Classical Greek, German, Italian and French.[8]

Selected works

He is the author of 53 works in seven languages listed at worldCat [9]


Many of his books have been peer reviewed in journals, some as textbooks on Hinduism.[10]

George M. Williams described Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism as an "Excellent resource by top scholar featuring concise entries."[11] Harold Coward describes the 2nd edition of A Survey of Hinduism as "This book offers the most comprehensive, balanced, accessible and yet deeply scholarly presentation of Hinduism in English,"[12] and that, "Thomas Hopkins's, The Hindu Religious Tradition, the standard work when it was published some twenty-five years ago, looks rather primitive when compared with Klaus Klostermaier's A Survey of Hinduism, already in second edition by 1994".[13]

Vedic era views controversy

Klostermaier's Survey of Hinduism is said to favour "Hindu voices" in its presentation and thereby offer views that have little currency in scholarship.[14] For example, it states that the Indus Valley Civilization is Vedic, which pushes back the Vedic period by several thousand years beyond the accepted chronology.[15]

Similar criticism have also been voiced about the Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism.[16]

Michael Witzel has called him a "recent convert to a Frawleyan view of the world which pictures India as the unique cradle of civilization at 10,000 BCE."[17]:126

See also


  1. Arvind Sharma (1993), Today's Woman in World Religions, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0791416884, page 126
  2. Anna King (2006), Indian religions : renaissance and renewal : the Spalding papers in Indic studies, Equinox, ISBN 978-1845531690, See chapter by Karel Werner and Klaus Klostermaier, Publisher's Summary, Stanford University
  3. 1 2 3 Karel Werner (1986), Review: Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland (New Series), Volume 118, Issue 01, pages 132-134
  4. 1 2 Oneworld Publishers, Klaus Klostermair, Description of Klaus K Klostermair biography (2014)
  5. 1 2 3 Harold Coward (2014), Fifty Years of Religious Studies in Canada: A Personal Retrospective, Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, ISBN 978-1771121163, pages 98-100
  6. The Royal Society of Canada, The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada
  7. Bocken, Iñigo Kristien Marcel, Wilhelm Dupré, and Paul van der Velde. The Persistent Challenge: Religion, Truth, and Scholarship : Essays in Honor of Klaus Klostermaier. Maastricht: Uitgeverij Shaker Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-90-423-0250-1
  8. Archives & Special Collections, University of Manitoba.
  9. WorldCat, Klostermaier, Klaus K.
  10. P Pratap Kumar (2010), Introducing Hinduism: The Master Narrative — A Critical Review of Textbooks on Hinduism, Religious Studies Review, Volume 36, Issue 2, pages 115–124
  11. George M. Williams. Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University. p. 314.
  12. A Survey of Hinduism. SUNY Press.
  13. Howard Coward (1996), Book Review: "Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices", Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, Volume 9, pages 46-47
  14. Joel P. Brereton (1991). "A Survey of Hinduism by Klaus K. Klostermaier (Review)". Journal of Asian History. 25 (1): 86–87. JSTOR 41930803.
  15. Knut A. Jacobsen (1997). "A Survey of Hinduism by Klaus K. Klostermaier (Review)". Numen. 44 (1): 97–98. JSTOR 3270387.
  16. Patricia M. Greer (2002). "A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism by Klaus K. Klostermaier (Review)". International Journal of Hindu Studies. 6 (1): 92–94. JSTOR 20106796.
  17. Witzel, Michael (2003). "Ein Fremdling im Rgveda". Journal of Indo-European Studies. 31 (1 & 2): 107–185.
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