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Faculty of Divinity



Dr Jones received an undergraduate degree in theology and religious studies at Cambridge (Corpus Christi), and subsequent graduate and doctoral training in Sanskrit and other Asian languages at the University of Oxford (St Anne's, St Peter's), where he taught for the faculties of Religious Studies and of Oriental Studies (2012-2019). His research is in classical Buddhist literature extant in various Asian languages (Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan), and particularly Mahāyāna Buddhist literature from the early centuries of the Common Era.

A significant focus of Dr Jones' research, and the focus of his first monograph (The Buddhist Self: On Tathāgatagarbha and Ātman), has been the Indian 'Buddha-nature' tradition as it has been preserved in South, Central and East Asian literatures, foremost in connection to literature associated with the Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra/Dabanniepan jing. His other research interests include pre-modern Buddhist attitudes to non-Buddhist teaching and authority in India and elsewhere, and the evolving place of Buddhist reflection on liberation and liberated beings in South Asia in the early centuries CE.

Current activities include an AHRC project on narrative explorations of Buddhology in Indian literature, editorial duties for Buddhist Studies Review (Assistant Editor) and Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Section Editor), and public engagement work for teachers of Buddhism in schools across the UK.


* Pre-modern Buddhist literatures of India, China and Tibet.

* Mahāyāna Buddhism.

* Buddha-nature (or tathāgatagarbha) teaching of the early Common Era.

* Buddhist interactions with and attitudes towards other religious traditions, primarily in South and East Asia.

* Indian Buddhology of the early Common Era.


Key publications: 

The Buddhist Self: On Tathāgatagarbha and Ātman. 2021. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Winner of the 2021 Toshihide Numata Prize for Outstanding Publication in Buddhist Studies (

Buddhism and its Religious Others: Historical Encounters and Representations. editor and contributor (see below). 2022. Oxford: OUP.

‘Varieties of Early Buddha-nature Teaching in India.’ In Klaus-Dieter Mathes and Casey Kemp, eds, Buddha Nature Across Asia. Vienna: Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, pp.25–54.

'Shepherds in Wolves' Clothing: bodhisattvas, tīrthikas, and 'bodhisattva-tīrthikas'. In Buddhism and its Religious Others (see above). 2022. Oxford: OUP, pp.89–110; also the Introduction in the same volume, pp.1–27.

Contributing entries (six short chapters) to Buddhism in Five Minutes, ed. Elizabeth Harris. 2021. London: Equinox.

‘Translating the Tīrthika: Enduring ‘Heresy’ in Buddhist Studies.’ In Alice Collett, ed., Translating Buddhism: Historical and Contextual Perspectives, 2020. New York: SUNY Press, pp.195-227.

‘Reconsidering the ‘Essence’ of Indian Buddha-nature Literature.’ 2020. Acta Asiatica: Bulletin of the Institute of Easter Culture, vol.118, pp.57-78.

‘A Self-Aggrandizing Vehicle: tathāgatagabha, tīrthikas and the true self.’ 2016. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol.39, pp.115-170.

‘Beings, Non-Beings, and Buddhas: contrasting notions of tathāgatagarbha in the Anūnatvāpūratvanirdeśa and *Mahābherīsūtra.’ 2016. Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol.10, pp.53-84.



Contributing entries to Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism (volumes III and IV)

Other publications: 

Selected online presentations:

Webinar (UC Berkeley, in recognition of The Buddhist Self):

Book launch (SOAS, for The Buddhist Self):

Lectures for teachers of Buddhism in UK schools: visit


Teaching and Supervisions


Topics in Indian religion and Buddhist studies for the following papers:

A7; B16; C10; D1G.

Other Professional Activities

Assistant Editor, Buddhist Studies Review.

Section Editor, Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism.

Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer.
Bye-Fellow, Selwyn College.
Dr Christopher V Jones
Available for consultancy


Current students and supervisors can access the Faculty’s Moodle page by clicking on the image below.