Stanley Insler (1937-2019)

January 07, 2019

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Stanley Insler, Edward E. Salisbury Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology at Yale University on January 5, 2019.

Professor Insler’s research covered a wide range, including pioneering studies on Sanskrit, Vedic, Avestan, Zarathustra and the history of Zoroastrianism, metrical texts of the Pali Buddhist Canon, Indian narrative literature, Silk Road Studies, and the Gāthās of Zarathustra, the sacred text of the Zoroastrians. 

The breadth of his learning and scholarship contributed to and validated his acute observations in different fields.  As Professor William W. Malandra had pointed out some years ago in the Encyclopaedia Iranica, “In his The Gāthās of Zarathustra, Insler used his introductions to each of the hymns, among other matters, to emphasize the moral and ethical character of Zoroaster’s thought neglected in the ritualist approach. While it is true that all modern translators have made use of comparative materials from the Vedas, Insler, an outstanding Vedacist himself, probed the limits of what the ancient Indian texts can contribute.”

We offer our deepest condolences to Professor Insler’s family and colleagues.