Matthew Kapstein

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies




PhD (Brown University)

Matthew T. Kapstein specializes in the history of Buddhist philosophy in India and Tibet, as well as in the cultural history of Tibetan Buddhism more generally. He regularly teaches Contemporary Theories in the Study of Religion in the History of Religions program, and Introduction to the Philosophies of India in Philosophy of Religions. His seminars in recent years have focused on particular topics in the history of Buddhist thought, such as Buddha Nature, idealism, and epistemology (pramāa), or on broad themes in the study of religion including the problem of evil, death, and the imagination. Kapstein has published over a dozen books and numerous articles, among the most recent of which are a general introduction to Tibetan cultural history, The Tibetans (Oxford 2006), an edited volume on Sino-Tibetan religious relations, Buddhism Between Tibet and China (Boston 2009), and a translation of an eleventh-century philosophical allegory in the acclaimed Clay Sanskrit Series, The Rise of Wisdom Moon (New York 2009). With Kurtis Schaeffer (University of Virginia) and Gray Tuttle (Columbia), he has completed Sources of Tibetan Traditions, published in the Columbia University Press Sources of Asian Traditions series in 2013. Kapstein is additionally Professor Emeritus of Tibetan Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris. In 2018 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Select work: 

Matthew Kapstein is one of the current editors of History of Religions. 

(773) 702-8266
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Current and Upcoming Courses
  • Indian Philosophy II
  • Readings in Tibetan Buddhist Texts

Prof. Kapstein's Homepage



Kashmir and the Development of Tibetan Buddhism: Professor Kapstein at the University of Chicago Center in Delhi. If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to .