History and aims

The De Nobili Research Library ("Sammlung De Nobili") was established by Professor Dr. Gerhard Oberhammer at the Department of Indology of the University of Vienna in 1966 through funds kindly provided by the Austrian cardinal DDr. Dr. h.c. Franz König. In 1986 it was donated to the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna. In the following years, its holdings were further developed both by the Academy of Sciences and the Department. The library was then given on permanent loan to the Branch Library for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the Library of the University of Vienna, which currently maintains it through regular library funds at the suggestion of the Department.

The aim of the De Nobili Research Library is to promote and disseminate the results of research into Indian religions, especially in terms of their encounter with the Western intellectual world and Christian spirituality. From 1972 onwards it pursued this aim also through the publication of the monograph series "Publications of the De Nobili Research Library," supplemented since 1980 by "Occasional Papers." Furthermore, it organized related interdisciplinary symposia in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences, the Department and the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune. On December 5th 1989, the association "De Nobili Research Library – Association for Indology and the Study of Religion" was founded to continue and enhance the earlier activities of the library. In the association's first general assembly in 1990, cardinal Franz König was nominated honorary member of the association. In 2009, a series of annual lectures was started, and the first "De Nobili Research Library Prize" was awarded in 2012.

The association's charter can be accessed here. To become a member of the association, please contact any member of the present executive board.

Executive board

The founding executive board was composed of Gerhard Oberhammer (chairperson), Roque Mesquita  (deputy chairperson), Utz Podzeit † (secretary), Chlodwig H. Werba  (deputy secretary), Dorothea S. Hoffmann  (treasurer) and Sylvia Stark (deputy treasurer).

Utz Podzeit functioned as secretary of the association from 1989 until 2014, and as deputy secretary from 2014 to 2016. He passed away in May 2022. An obituary, highlighting his manifold contribution to the agenda and aims of the association, can be viewed here.

Chlodwig H. Werba was deputy secretary from 1989 until 2000. He passed away in January 2019. His obituary can be viewed here.

Roque Mesquita, deputy chairperson of the association from 1989 until 2004, passed away in September 2016. His obituary can be read here.

Dorothea Sibylla Hoffmann served as cashier of the association from 1989 until 2000, and from 2000 until her demise in April 2001 as deputy cashier. Her invaluable contributions to the work of the association, and – before its establishment – to the publication activities and events of the De Nobili Research Library, are appreciated here.

The members of the present executive board are

Publications of the De Nobili Research Library

So far, 49 monographs and "Occasional Papers" were published by the De Nobili Research Library and later on by the association. Click here to access the full list of publications for your orders.


For descriptions of the interdisciplinary symposia, abstracts of the Annual Lectures of the De Nobili Research Library (since 2009) and information on other events organized by the association, click here.

De Nobili Research Library Prize

To promote its aims in still another way, the Association has launched its first essay competition in 2012. For details, click here. Further essay competitions are envisaged for the future.