Vincent Tournier is Maître de conférences at the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) since January 2018.

Born in 1982, Tournier studied first at the University of Strasbourg, where he completed two BAs in History and Anthropology (2003), and one MA in Sciences of Antiquity (2005). He then joined the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris for his doctoral training. His doctoral thesis, on the The formation of the Mahāvastu and the development of the conceptions pertaining to the bodhisattva and his career (2012), was subsequently revised and published (in 2017) with the EFEO, and received the 2018 Collette Caillat Prize in Indology of the Institut de France. He has subsequently worked as post-doctoral researcher at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (2012-2013). Before joining the EFEO, he was, from 2013 to 2017, the Seiyu Kiriyama Lecturer in Buddhist Studies and Director of the Centre of Buddhist Studies at SOAS University of London.

Tournier’s main field of interest is the history of Buddhism in Ancient and Early Medieval South Asia. He has investigated models and figures of human perfection; the history of Buddhist schools, lineages, and centres; processes of scriptural formation and authentication; Buddhist cosmology and narrative representations of the past; patronage and donors’ aspirations.

His most recent project focuses on the Deccan, especially in Āndhra and Maharashtra. He is thus the co-editor, with Arlo Griffiths, of the online corpus Early Inscriptions of Āndhradeśa (, to be expanded in future years, linked with the DHARMA base, and published in book form. His contribution to the DHARMA project will focus on the longue durée institutional history of Buddhism in the Āndhra country and its relation to the institutionalization of “Hindu” cults. He will contribute to the DHARMA base with the edition of selected inscriptions from the 6th to 8th centuries from that region: these testify to the weakening of lay support to Buddhist monasticism. Tournier will moreover assist task-force B with editing and interpreting inscriptions from the Deccan, Orissa, and Greater Bengal, relevant to the late history of Buddhism.

Selected Publication

2018 “A Tide of Merit: Royal Patrons, Tāmraparṇīya monks, and the Buddha’s Awakening in 5th–6th century Āndhradeśa.” Indo-Iranian Journal 61/1: pp. 20–96.

2017 La formation du Mahāvastu et la mise en place des conceptions relatives à la carrière du bodhisattva. Paris: Publications de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient (Collection Monographies, no. 195).

2017 (with Arlo Griffiths) Early Inscriptions of Āndhradeśa. Documentation, edition and translation of all early (pre-7th c.) inscriptions, from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

2017 (with Stefan Baums, Arlo Griffiths et Ingo Strauch) “Early Inscriptions of Āndhradeśa: Results of fieldwork in January and February 2016.” Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient 102: pp. 355–398.

2016 “Protective Verses for Travellers: a Fragment of the Diśāsauvastika-gāthās Related to the Scriptures of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins.” In Buddhist manuscripts, volume IV, ed. by Jens Braarvig, pp. 407–437. Oslo: Hermes Publishing (Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection).

2014 “Mahākāśyapa, His Lineage, and the Wish for Buddhahood: Reading anew the Bodhgayā Inscriptions of Mahānāman.” Indo-Iranian Journal 57/1–2: pp. 1–60.

2012 “The Mahāvastu and the Vinayapiṭaka of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins.” Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology 15: pp. 87–104.

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