Pali at The University of Chicago
Pali, an ancient language akin to Sanskrit, is the scriptural and liturgical language of what is now called Theravāda Buddhism, a tradition which goes back to the first millenum B.C.E. in India and is found in the modern world throughout South and Southeast Asia, from Nepal and Sri Lanka to Cambodia. Like Sanskrit it is written in many different scripts. At Chicago as elsewhere in the western world the usual texts used are those produced by the Pali Text Society, which are in Roman script. It is necessary to have done at least one year of Sanskrit before starting Pali. It is offered at four levels, from Introductory to Advanced.
Professor Steven Collins
Studying Pali at UChicago:
As the source language of much of the earliest Buddhist literature, I found Pali to be an indispensable component of my graduate concentration in Buddhist Studies. Pali instruction at the University of Chicago follows a rigorous philological method, ensuring that students understand derivations, grammar, and the deep structure of the language. I would highly recommend intermediate Pali to anyone studying the religion or literature of Southern Asia with a background in Sanskrit.
-Justin Henry, PhD Candidate in the History of Religions, Divinity School
It has been a rare privilege to learn Pali from one of the world's leading scholars of that literature, a teacher who authored one of the few existing primers with just his students in mind. This opportunity is one of the very many reasons I am doing my PhD at Chicago. A language class is much more than a language class here -- it is a chance to delve into an entire thought-world with someone who has spent a career investigating it. And learning a language is more than just learning the language -- every day while reading and discussing with my colleagues, I see that I am being trained to engage with research at the highest levels of the academic enterprise.
-Anil Mundra, PhD Student in the Philosophy of Religions, Divinity School