CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Gérard Colas

Gérard Colas

Senior Research Fellow
Habilité à diriger des recherches
Institutional affiliation(s): CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)

Professional contact information




A CNRS Senior Research Fellow, Gérard Colas is a Sanskrit philologist. Before being hired by the CNRS (1985), he was in charge of the collections of Indian manuscripts at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. His doctorat de 3e cycle was devoted to the study of the architectural guidelines laid out in a Sanskrit text, as compared to temples in South India (1982). His doctorat d’État (1994) consisted in a study of the medieval Sanskrit literature produced by the Vaikhānasas, Vaishnavite temple priests in South India.

Since then, his research has undergone a change in direction, both in the sources studied and the themes of interest. He publishes about Indian epistemologies and how they tie in to religious problematics. The main questions touched upon are the icon, rites, Vaishnavism, theism and deism.

He also does research on the transmission of Sanskrit texts, paleography and 18th century missionary literature in Sanskrit and Telugu (Jesuits of the Carnatic mission and Halle-Tranquebar Pietists)


Key words




architectural treatises,

Hindu rites,

Indian scholasticisms,

Indian epistemologies,

missionary literature in Indian languages (18th century),


Indian conceptions of the icon


Program directorships

In France

2012- | Co-directorship (with Émilie Aussant) of the program entitled ‘Scolasticisms’ practice, and practices’ scholasticism’ (UMR 8564/CNRS-EHESS and UMR 7597/CNRS-Université Paris Diderot-Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)

2005-2008 | Co-directorship (with G. Tarabout and Véronique Bouillier) of the program entitled ‘Enfances en Asie du Sud’ (UMR 8564/CNRS-EHESS)

2005-2009 | Co-directorship (with G. Gerschheimer) of the program entitled ‘Transmission des textes dans l’Inde classique’ (EPHE, 5th section)

1997-2001 | Co-directorship (with G. Tarabout) of the program entitled ‘Rites hindous : transferts et transformations’ (UMR 8564/CNRS-EHESS)

1990-1993 | Directorship of the program entitled ‘Religion, rites et idéologies’ (URA 1424)


2015- | Co-directorship (with A. Mishra, University of Heidelberg) of the program entitled ‘The dynamics of early scholasticism in Vallabhācārya’s Śuddhādvaita’ (in collaboration with the Heidelberg South Asia Institute)

2012- | Directorship of the program entitled ‘Revised catalogue of Telugu manuscripts,’ Studienzentrum August Hermann Francke, Franckesche Stiftungen, Halle (in collab. with the Franckesche Stiftungen, Halle)

1995-2007 | Directorship of the program to catalogue the philosophical Sanskrit manuscripts included in the Chandra Shum Shere collection (Bodleian Library, Oxford) (CNRS-Bristish Academy accords)


Editorial responsibilities


2008-2011 | Managing editor of the Journal asiatique (then member of the editorial board)

Member of the editorial board of the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient


Long-term invitations abroad


2012 (1 month) | Fritz-Thyssen Stipendium, Franckesche Stiftungen, Halle

2008 (4 months) | Cluster of Excellence Guest Professor: Asia and Europe in a Global Context, University of Heidelberg

1996 (2 months) | Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Visiting Fellow, Nagoya University

1990 (6 months) | Spalding Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford


Selected bibliography


A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sanskrit and Other Indian Manuscripts of the Chandra Shum Shere Collection in the Bodleian Library. Part V: Darśanas, with U. Chauhan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 310 pages. (given to the series editor)

2012 | Penser l'icône en Inde ancienne, Turnhout: Brepols, ‘Bibliothèque des Hautes Études-Sciences religieuses’ series, 2012, 215 pages.

1996 | Vishnou, ses images et ses feux. Les métamorphoses du dieu chez les vaikhânasa. Paris: Publications de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient, ‘Monographs’ series, No. 182. 412 pp., 6 plates.

1995 | Manuscrits telugu : Catalogue raisonné, with U. Colas-Chauhan. Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France. 1995. 120 pp., 8 plates.

1986 | Le Temple selon Marîci, Pondichéry: Publications de l'Institut Français d'Indologie No. 71.321 pp., 20 plates.

Editorship of essay collections

2009 | (co-editor G. Gerschheimer), Écrire et transmettre en Inde classique, Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient, ‘Thematic Studies’ series, No. 23

2006 | (co-editor G. Tarabout), Hindu Rites: Transfers and Transformations, Puruṣārtha 25, Paris: EHESS




Last update: 15 November 2017 (NG)

Document(s) à télécharger


flux rss  Actualités

John MacGregor Murray (1745-1822): Persianate and Indic Cultures in British South Asia

Journée(s) d'étude - Mardi 28 mai 2019 - 10:00This workshop proposes to examine European engagement with Persian language and textual culture in South Asia. In Mughal India (1526-1857) and in the Princely States emerging with the decline of Mughal central power, Persian language established itse (...)(...)

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Bodies and Artefacts: Relics and other devotional supports in Shia societies in the Indic and Iranian worlds

Journée(s) d'étude - Lundi 27 mai 2019 - 10:00Programme (En anglais) 10:15 - Welcome Address by CEIAS Director10:20 - Opening remarks by Michel Boivin, Annabelle Collinet, Sepideh Parsapajouh  10:30 - Karen Ruffle (University of Toronto), EHESS-IISMM Invited ProfessorPresence in Absence: The For (...)(...)

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