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The article describes the history of the development of Russian Tibetology from its inception up to the beginning of the 1990s in the context of the general theory of translation and Russian Buddhist Studies. In the introductory part, the periodization of the European translation tradition is related to the Russian one in philosophical, historical and theoretical contexts. The main part briefly reviews the main figures and results of their research during (1) the early stage of collecting and translating material which can be traced well back to 18th century, (2) the creation of the first research centers in St. Petersburg and Kazan, (3) the heyday of the St. Petersburg school, which became the leading center of Buddhist Studies at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries and, finally, (4) decades of brutal annihilation and persecution in this field of science, associated with the dominance of Soviet ideology. The further revival and development of Tibetan studies in the initial post-Soviet period is related to the activity of enthusiastic practitioners of the Vajrayana and followed in the wake of the global trend of fusing a rigorous academic approach enlightened by native bearers of a living tradition of Buddhist knowledge. This trend also dominates contemporary research practice.

Keywords: history and source study of Buddhism, reception in Tibetology, translation methods, Russian oriental studies

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2020.1.73-82

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About the author 

Boris R. Erokhin – Post-graduate researcher, Orient History and Culture Department,
Institute of Oriental Studies of Russian Academy of Science; 12 Rozhdestvenka st., Moscow, Russia, 107031;
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