Dr Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen


Originally trained in classical Indology and the comparative Study of Religion, Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen is a Research Lecturer in the History of Religion with special emphasis on Indic Religions and Languages (Sanskrit, Pali). He is a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and a Member of the Theology and Religion Faculty. He teaches and tutors broadly across Sanskrit, Pali, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the theories and methods of the Study of Religion. He is the Director of the Śākta Traditions research programme and founder of the OCHS Kathmandu Office.

Research Interests:

His research combines detailed textual studies with broader historical and metatheoretical concerns in the study of Indian and Himalayan religions and religion more generally drawing on fieldwork as well as digital humanities. His research explores conceptual models in the study of religious traditions, religious historiography, models of the human, and processes of worldmaking with a particular emphasis on asceticism and Śāktism (goddess worship) in medieval India and Nepal. His book publications include an introduction to Hinduism (2015), translations of the Bhagavadgītā (2009) and the Haṭhapradīpikā (2022) as well as a Sanskrit Grammar and Reader in two volumes (2014). He is the editor of Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism (2016) and has written a number of articles on Śāktism, yoga, and tantra in Danish, German and English. Recent areas of research include an English translation and annotated edition of the 8th century Netratantra (based on the oldest available Nepalese manuscript, NAK MS 1-285, NGMPP Reel No. B 25/5 from 1200 CE) in three volumes for the Routledge Tantric Studies series co-authored with Professor Gavin Flood.

Research Areas:

  • Study of Religions
  • History of Hinduism

Research Interests:

The comparative Study of Religion and Hindu Studies; South Asian religious history; philology and Indic languages (esp. Sanskrit and Pali); asceticism; axial and post-axial religion; Śāktism and the tantric traditions in medieval India and Nepal; yoga and meditation; myths and rituals; theory and method; intellectual history; phenomenology of religion; key thinkers and the history of research on religion.

Research Centres & Projects:

Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
Director, Śākta Traditions research programme, OCHS

Select Publications:

Wernicke-Olesen, B., G. Flood and R. Khatiwoda. Tantra in Medieval India and Nepal: An annotated edition and translation of the Tantra of the Eye, the Netra Tantra. Vol 1. Oxford: Routledge, forthcoming 2024.  

Wernicke-Olesen, B., S. L. Einarsen et al. 2023. Hāṭhapradīpikā. Højbjerg: Forlaget Univers.

Wernicke-Olesen, B. 2022. “Hinduism and the Goddess: Śākta Traditions” In Wiley Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Second Edition, ed. Gavin Flood. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Wernicke-Olesen, B. 2020. “Hinduism and Meditation: Yoga.” In Oxford Handbook of Meditation, edited by M. Farias, D. Brazier, and M. Lalljee. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wernicke-Olesen, B. and S. L. Einarsen. 2018. “Übungswissen in Yoga, Tantra und Asketismus des frühen indischen Mittelalters.” In Übungswissen in Religion und Philosophie: Produktion, Weitergabe, Wandel, edited by A.-B. Renger and A. Stellmacher, 241–257. Berlin: LIT Verlag.

Wernicke-Olesen, B., ed. 2016. Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism. History, Practice and Doctrine. New York and London: Routledge.

Wernicke-Olesen, B. 2014. Gudernes Sprog. Klassisk Sanskrit på Dansk [Sanskrit Grammar and Reader], 2 vols. Højbjerg: Forlaget Univers.

Wernicke-Olesen, B., J. T. Pedersen and S. L. Einarsen. 2015. Varanasi [An introduction to Hinduism]. Aarhus: Systime.

Wernicke-Olesen, B, K. Pedersen and G. G. Munk. 2009. Bhagavadgītā. Aarhus: Forlaget Gammelmark.