Klaus Klostermaier

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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[edit]

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

  • Hinduism: A Beginner's Guide (2008), ISBN 978-1-85168-538-7.
  • The Nature of Nature: Explorations in Science, Philosophy and Religion (2004);
  • Hindu Writings: A Short Introduction to the Major Sources (2001); ISBN 978-1-85168-230-0.
  • A Survey of Hinduism (3rd ed. 2007); ISBN 978-0-7914-7082-4.
  • Hinduism: A Short History (2000), ISBN 978-1-85168-213-3.
  • Buddhism: A Short Introduction (1999), ISBN 978-1-85168-186-0.
  • Indian Theology in Dialogue (1986);
  • Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India (1984), ISBN 978-0-88920-158-3.
  • Hindu and Christian in Vrindaban (1969), ISBN 978-0-334-00616-9.
  • In the paradise of Krishna; Hindu and Christian seekers, ISBN 978-0-664-24904-5.
  • A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Oneworld, ISBN 978-1-85168-175-4.
  • A Short Introduction to Hinduism (1998) ISBN 978-1-85168-163-1.
  • Hinduismus.
  • Indian theology in dialogue.
  • Kristvidya : A sketch of an Indian Christology.
  • Liberation, salvation, self-realization : A comparative study of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian ideas.
  • The body of God : Cosmos - Avatara - Image.
  • Religious studies: issues, prospects, and proposals with Larry W. Hurtado, ISBN 978-1-55540-623-3.
  • Masters of social thought with Ajit Kumar Sinha.
  • The Nature of Nature: Explorations in Science, Philosophy, and Religion.
  • The wisdom of Hinduism, ISBN 978-1-85168-227-0.
  • From end to beginning.
  • Hindu-Christian Dialogue.
  • Freiheit ohne Gewalt.
  • Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization: A Literary and Scientific Perspective with Navaratna Srinivasa Rajaram, David Frawley, ISBN 978-81-85990-36-1.


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]

  • To call the Veda 'scripture' is a concession to a Western understanding of religion. The Indian term is sruti, meaning 'that which has been perceived through hearing'. For thousands of years, perhaps, the Veda was only transmitted orally, and memorization was the only way to acquire its knowledge....
    • Hinduism: A Beginner's Guide
  • Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi all remained Hindus and tried to reform Hinduism from within. They appreciated some things which the West had done better than India and aimed to bring about a synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas.Their influence is still felt in India, although much criticism has been voiced against them as well.
    • Hinduism: A Beginner's Guide

See also[edit]


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  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 [archive]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 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. 4.0 4.1 Oneworld Publishers, Klaus Klostermair [archive], Description of Klaus K Klostermair biography (2014)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 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. [archive]
  9. WorldCat, Klostermaier, Klaus K. [archive]
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. A Survey of Hinduism [archive]. SUNY Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Howard Coward (1996), Book Review: "Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices", Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, Volume 9, pages 46-47