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Professor Burkhard Scherer

Chair in Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality


MA (Münster, Germany), PhD (Groningen, The Netherlands)

B. Scherer came to Christ Church in summer 2003, having previously been a visiting scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle and Lecturer in both Classics (Greek and Latin) and Indian Religions (Hinduism and Buddhism) in Groningen.

Professor Scherer teaches among other things:

  • Indian Traditions
  • Tibetan Buddhism

B.s doctoral thesis dealt with questions of myth and literary criticism; additionally B. has published considerably in the field of Buddhism, Gender and Sexuality. B. holds a strong interest for Historical Anthropology, Classical and Indian literature, Buddhist Philosophy and Queer Theory.

B. is the founder of the Queering Paradigms network and conference series| and one of the executive editors of Religion and Gender.  |

Research interests

As philologist and historian of religions, Professor Scherer holds a strong interest of the Classical (Greek and Latin), the Indian (Sanskrit, Pali) and Tibetan religious traditions as well as in Historical Anthropology.

Apart from the narrative dimension of religions and the interplay of religion and gender, B.’s particular focus is on the Indian Traditions: Hindu and Buddhist narratives and Philosophy, Tantra, and Indo-Tibetan Mahāmudrā. B.s current research focuses on Tibetan Buddhist movements in West between tradition and modernity.

Professor Scherer has acted as external examiner at - among others - Bath Spa University (Tibetan Buddhism), Bielefeld University (Comparative Literature) and the University of Kent at Canterbury (Religious studies); since 2004, B. is the external academic assessor of the International Institute for Tibetan and Asian Studies (ITAS).

As a scholar and Buddhist, Professor Scherer is active within the Inter-religious Dialogue and Human Rights Activism.



  • Meditationstexte des Buddhismus. Herausgegeben, übersetzt und eingeleitet von Burkhard Scherer. Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 2011.
  • Queering Paradigms 2: Interrogating Agendas (co-editor with Matthew Ball). Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011.
  • Queering Paradigms (editor). Oxford: Peter Lang 2010. Review: Anja Finger, Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality 14 (2011).
  • Mythos Helena (co-edited with Ludger Scherer). Stuttgart: Reclam, 2008. 
  • Mythos, Katalog und Prophezeiung. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag 2006 (Palingenesia. 87).                                      Reviews
    Markus Aspen, Classical Review 57n2 (2007), pp. 344-345.
    Roxana B. Martínez Nieto, Emerita 75n2 (2007), pp. 354-357.
    Evina Sistakou, Gnomon 80 (2008), pp. 640-642.
  • Buddhismus, Gütersloh 2005.                                              Second, revised edition 2008.  With a foreword by HH the 14th Dalai Lama.                                                                       Polish translation: 2009 (Byddyzm, Kęty: Derewiecki). 
  • 108 vragen over Boeddhism. Amsterdam 2003. 
  • Die Weltreligionen: Zentrale Themen im Vergleich. Gütersloh 2003.                                                                                      Portuguese translation 2005 as                                                As grandes Religiões, Petrópolis: Ed. Vozes (Brasil).                Reviews: Katholisches Sonntagsblatt 28 August 2005
    Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft 89 (2005), pp. 67-68.
  • Het Boeddha basisboekje. Amsterdam 2002.
  • 99 Fragen zum Buddhismus. Gütersloh 2002. 
  • Buddha. Gütersloh 2001 (GTB 657. Basiswissen).
  • Buddhistische Weisheiten. Gütersloh 2000.

Dr Scherer books

Journal Articles

  • “Globalizing Tibetan Buddhism: Modernism and Neo-Orthodoxy in Contemporary Karma bKa’ brgyud Organizations ” Contemporary Buddhism 13 (2012), 125-143.

  • "Vertikale Hierarchie und archaische Sakralität: Zur mythopoësis des Fußes" in Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 21 (2012), 129-143.

  • “Macho Buddhism: Gender and Sexualities in the Diamond Way” in Religion and Gender 1 (2011), pp. 85-103 (online).

  • "Interpreting the Diamond Way: Contemporary Convert Buddhism in Transition" in Journal of Global Buddhism 10 (2009), pp. 17-48 (online).     

  • "Tod, Schlafes Bruder: Intertextuelle Streifzüge und Fallstudien" in Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 17.2 (2008), pp. 107-118.

  • "Gender transformed and meta-gendered enlightenment: Reading Buddhist narratives as paradigms of inclusiveness" in Revista de Estudos da Religião – REVER 6.3 (2006), pp. 65-76; also online.

  • "Kambala's Ālokamāla and the Perils of Philology" in Buddhist Studies Review 2006.2, pp. 121-126.

  • "Aischylos in Wolkenkoekoeksland: Paratragodia in het koorlied Ar. Av. 1470vv.", Pomoerium 5 (2004-2006), pp. 1-10 [Download as PDF-file].

  • "Der Tod des Zauberers: Die Orpheusepigramme in der Anthologia PalatinaHellenistica Groningana 6 (2002), pp. 175-200.

  • "Zur Funktion des zweiten Chorliedes in den Troades des Seneca", Mnemosyne 52 (1999), pp. 172-178.

Book Chapters

  • "Nāgārjuna and Nihilism: Readings of the Ratnāvalī in India, China, and Tibet" in Sharma, Anita (2012, ed.), Buddhism in East Asia: Traditions, Changes, and Challenge. Delhi: Vidyanidhi Publishers, pp. 131-144.

  • “Przemiany w historii Tybetu: Indie, Tibet i Zachód” [Transitions in Tibetan History: India, Tibet and the West] in Francuz, Grzegorz and Raniczkowski, Maciej (2011, eds.). Buddyzm w zachodnim kręgu kulturowym: Teoria-praktyka-interpretacje [Buddhism in the Western World: Theory, Practice, Interpretation]. Opole: Opole University Press, 11-15.

  • “Karma, Tantra, Action Dharma: Liberation and Engagement” in Peoples, Dion et al. (2011, eds.) Buddhist Virtues in Socio-Economic Development (ICDV 8). Bangkok: MCU, pp. 167-175.  
  • "Introduction: Queering Paradigms – Interrogating Agendas" (co-authored with Matthew Ball) in B. Scherer and M. Ball (2011, eds.). Queering Paradigms 2: Interrogating Agendas. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 1-10.
  • "Introduction: Queering Paradigms" in B. Scherer (2010, ed.) Queering Paradigms. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 1-7.

  • "Karma: The Transformations of a Buddhist Conundrum / Карма: метаморфозы буддийской головоломки" in Chetyrova, L.B. et al. (2009, eds.). Vajrayana Buddhism in Russia: History and Modernity / Буддизм Ваджраяны в России: историяи современность, St. Petersburg: Unlimited Space Publishers (Publication of the Scientific Centre for Comparative Philosophy, Social Science and Humanities, St Petersburg State University, and the Russian State Museum of Religious History); pp. 259-270 (English) and pp. 270-285 (Russian).

  • "Mahāyāna Philosophy and Mahāmudrā" in: Przybysławski, Artur (2007, ed.). From Buddhism to Science and back, Opole: Hung place & ITAS, Vélez-Málaga (ITAS Buddhism & Science series. 1), pp. 19-30.

  • "Faith and Experience. Paradigms of spirituality" in: Greenstreet, W. (2006, ed.) Integrating Spirituality in Health and Social Care: Perspectives and practical approaches, pp. 216 [Chapter 7]. Oxford: Radcliffe, pp. 89-101 and 170-1.

Selected Reviews

  • D. Provencher: Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France. Aldershot: Ashgate 2007, in: Theology and Sexuality 15.3 (2009 [2010]), pp. 352-353.

  • Chang-Quing Shih, The Two Truths in Chinese Buddhism. Delhi 2004, in: Buddhist Studies Review 2006.1, pp. 134-137.

  • L. Grey: A concordance of Buddhist Birth Stories, London 2000, in: Indo-Iranian Journal 46 (2003), 286-289.

  • V. Fausbøll: Dhammapada (Pali/Latin). Reprint Mahendrabad 2000, in: Indo-Iranian Journal 44 (2001), 172-3.

Lectures and conference papers

Over the last five years, Burkhard has given thirty-three invited lectures, key note addresses and peer-reviewed conference papers. Recent papers include

  • “Boeddhisme in het Westen [Buddhism in the West]” Lecture and podium discussion with Prof. Dr. Paul van der Velde, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 15 December 2011 (in Dutch).
  • “Das Leiden in der Welt - Antworten aus Buddhismus und Christentum. [Suffering: Buddhist and Christian Answers]” Lecture and podium discussion with Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heumann, Institut für Evangelische Theologie, Universität Oldenburg, 14 December 2011 (in German).
  • “Nāgārjuna, Nirvāṇa and Nihilism: Re-reading the Ratnāvalī” Buddhist Forum, SOAS 9 December 2011.
  • “Philosophy and View in the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism” 5th International Lay Buddhist Forum, Seoul 28 October 2011.
  • “Buddhist Philosophy and Queer Theory” Åbo Akademi (Turku, Finland), 6 September 2011.
  • “Queer Voices, Social Media and Neo-orthodox Dharma: A Case Study” AAS (Association of Asian Studies) annual meeting 31 March-3 April 2011, Honolulu.
  • Keynote address "Retrospection" at Contesting Religious Identities, University of Utrecht 13-15 October 2010.


  • Interview on Queering Paradigms for ALAB (Brazilian Association for Applied Linguistics)  (for an English version see here)

  • “Apsyrtos” (poem) in Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für historische Anthropologie 20 (2011), p. 357.
  • "Orpheus' Leier und der Frieden unter den Religionen/Orpheus' lyre and the peace among the world's religions", in: Musica Sacra International, 9.-14. Mai 2008/May 9-14, 2008, pp. 26-35. (bilingual programme book of the renowned Inter-religious Music festival).
  • "Alles in Buddha: Schwule und Buddhismus", Interview on Buddhism and Homosexuality for the German monthly Männer (May issue 2008), pp. 54-56.
  • En el camino del diamante - 10mins Spanish TV feature/interview; Canal 2, broadcast 21 July 2007.

  • "Glaube, Erfahrung und Musik: Religionsübergreifende Perspektiven/Faith, Experience, and Music: Comparative Perspectives", in: Musica Sacra International, 2.-9. Juni 2006/June 2-9, 2006, pp. 24-31 (bilingual programme book of the renowned Inter-religious Music festival).

  • Radio Diamant, FRS 99.2 - 30mins long Radio Interview on Buddhism and Academic Research for the German Radio Diamant, in Heidelberg, 16 April 2006 (broadcasted 14 May 2006, 8pm).

  • "Budisms nepazīst Dievu, dvēseli un grēku" Republika 19-25 Maijs, 2006, pp. 34-37. [Interview with the Latvian weekly Republika].