SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Vincent Tournier

PhD (Paris)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Vincent Tournier
Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of History, Religions and Philosophies

Seiyu Kiriyama Lecturer in Buddhist Studies

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre of Buddhist Studies


Centre of Jaina Studies

Member, Centre of Jaina Studies

Dr Vincent Tournier
Email address:
020 7898 4753
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Office Hours:
Mondays 4:30-6:30pm or by email appointment


Vincent Tournier studied History and Anthropology at the University of Strasbourg, and Buddhist Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, where he obtained his PhD. Before joining SOAS, he worked as a research fellow at the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology (Tokyo), at the International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden), and as Post-doctoral researcher at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies.


Programmes Convened
Courses Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Aruna Gamage, Buddhaghosa’s Critique of Divergent Buddhist Views: A Doctrinal Study Mainly Based on Pāli Commentarial Exegesis
  • Kulamitra David Zukas, Revealing the Religious Landscape at Bhaja, Bedsa and Karle, Buddhist Rock-cut Monasteries
  • Meng Wang, The Life of the Sixteenth Karmapa and His Role in the Tibetan Buddhist Transmission to North America and Unitied Kingdom
  • Roberta Ginleiz Gattodoro, The Transmission of the Puṇyavanta- Jātaka, A Sanskrit Buddhist text handed down into Chinese, Tocharian and Tibetan.
  • Yael Shiri, The Identity of the Śākya Clan as a Mirror of Buddhist Identity in Ancient South Asia (working title)


Vincent Tournier’s main field of interest is the history of Buddhism in Ancient and Early Medieval South Asia. His research includes investigations of models and figures of human perfection; the history of Buddhist schools, lineages, and centres; the processes of scriptural formation and authentication; narrative representations of the past; Buddhist cosmology; and monastic life and regulations.

Employing philological and historical methods, he works with a wide range of texts, from literary compositions to scholastic treatises, employing manuscripts and epigraphical materials from the Indian subcontinent (including present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan), Sri Lanka, and Nepal.


Authored Books

Tournier, Vincent (2017) La formation du Mahāvastu et la mise en place des conceptions relatives à la carrière du bodhisattva. Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient.


Tournier, Vincent (2017) 'A Tide of Merit: Royal Donors, Tāmraparṇīya Monks, and the Buddha’s Awakening in 5th–6th-century Āndhradeśa'. Indo-Iranian Journal. [Forthcoming]

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

Tournier, Vincent (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.

Tournier, Vincent (2012) 'The Mahāvastu and the Vinayapiṭaka of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins '. Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, (15), pp 87-104.

Book Chapters

Tournier, Vincent (2016) 'Protective Verses for Travellers: a Fragment of the Diśāsauvastika-gāthās Related to the Scriptures of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins'. In: Braarvig, Jens, (ed.), Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection — Buddhist Manuscripts Volume IV. Oslo: Hermes Publishing, pp 407-437.

Tournier, Vincent (2012) 'Matériaux pour une histoire de la légende et du culte de Mahākāśyapa: une relecture d’un fragment inscrit retrouvé à Silao (Bihār)'. Autour de Bāmiyān. De la Bactriane hellénisée à l'Inde bouddhique. Paris: De Boccard, pp 375-413.

Book Reviews

Tournier, Vincent (2017) 'Review of: Gérard Fussman, Choix d’articles. Réunis par Denis Matringe, Éric Ollivier et Isabelle Szelagowski. (Réimpressions, no. 14) 598 pp. Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient, 2014.'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (80) 1, pp 169-70.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 25th February 2018, 09:56 Europe/London.