Department of Religion & Philosophy
Lebanon Valley College
101 N. College Ave.
Annville, PA 17003
By appointment only.
Matthew R. Sayers is Assistant Professor of Religion & Philosophy in the Department of Religion & Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania. He earned his Ph.D in Asian Cultures and Languages from the Department of Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation, Feeding the Ancestors: Ancestor Worship in Ancient Hinduism and Buddhism, addresses the discourse on ancestor worship as a key part of the householder tradition in both the Brahmanical and Buddhist religious traditions in ancient India.
His teaching interests include Hinduism, Buddhism, Ancestor Worship, Myth, and Death and Dying. His next project will involve revising his dissertation into two separate pieces that address the two main goals of that work: advancing a new persepctive on ancient Indian religion that may help illuminate certain aspects of the shared religious environment in which Hinduism and Buddhism developed and a description of the historical development of ancestor worship in Indian religions, in particular śrāddha, a class of ancestor rituals that date to the first millenium BCE. He is also currently working on the pilgrimage site of Gaya, which has a long association with the performance of śrāddha.