David Shulman won Israel Prize for Religious Studies for Research on India

Feb 18, 2016 14:16 IST

Renowned Indologist Professor David Shulman on 14 February 2016 was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for Religious Studies for his breakthrough research into the literature and culture of southern India.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett approved the recommendation of the prize committee, headed by Professor Shaul Shaked.

Who is David Shulman?

David Dean Shulman is an Indologist and regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the languages of India.

His research incorporates many fields, including the history of religion in South India, Indian poetics, Tamil Islam, Dravidian linguistics and Carnatic music.

He was formerly Professor of Indian Studies and Comparative Religion at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and professor in the Department of Indian, Iranian and Armenian Studies.

At present, he holds an appointment as Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

He is also a published poet in Hebrew, a literary critic, a cultural anthropologist.

He has authored and co-authored more than 20 books on various subjects ranging from temple myths and temple poems to essays that cover the wide spectrum of the cultural history of South India.

Through his books and translations, he introduced the field of India studies to Israeli academia and the general public, acting as a sort of ambassador for Indian civilisation in Israel.

He is a peace activist and a founding member of the joint Israeli-Palestininian movement Ta'ayush.

Bilingual in Hebrew and English, he has mastered Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, and reads Greek, Russian, French, German, Persian, Arabic and Malayalam.

He won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1987, making him the first Israeli to be conferred with the honour.

About Israel Prize

The Israel Prize is an award handed out by the State of Israel and is generally regarded as the state's highest honour.

It is presented annually, on Israeli Independence Day, in a state ceremony in Jerusalem, in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Knesset (Israel's legislature) and the Supreme Court President.

The prize was set up in 1953 at the initiative of the Minister of Education Ben-Zion Dinor, who himself went on to win the prize in 1958 and 1973.

In 2015, Israeli immunologist Zelig Eshhar was honoured with the Israel Prize for life sciences.

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