Teiser awarded French academy prize

Princeton scholar Stephen Teiser has been awarded the Prix Stanislas Julien, a prestigious prize from the French academic society Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres that recognizes Western-language scholarship on the Asian humanities.

Teiser, the D.T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies and professor of religion, was honored for his 2006 book "Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Temples."

"Reinventing the Wheel" is concerned with Buddhist understandings of the afterlife and their expression in art and ritual life. The book focuses on the image of the wheel, long used in Buddhist cultures to describe the circular nature of the process of rebirth. Teiser argues that the depiction of the various forms of life in the wheel served important philosophical and instructive purposes in premodern Buddhism. Ranging widely across the Asian continent -- including India, the Silk Road, China, Tibet and Japan -- the book combines textual analysis with the interpretation of paintings and the architecture of Buddhist temples.

The prize is named after 19th-century French scholar Stanislas Julien, who translated the classics of Confucianism and Taoism into Latin and French and wrote on many topics related to the interaction between China and the West.