Dr. Gil Ben-Herut is an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. He holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Emory University and BA and MA from Tel Aviv University in Israel. His research interests include premodern religious literature in the Kannada language, South Asian bhakti (devotional) traditions, translation in South Asia, and programming in Digital Humanities. In 2023, Dr. Ben-Herut was awarded the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award and the Senior Short Term Research Grant funded by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for his current project “A History of Speaking: Artifact and Authority in Kannada Devotional Songs.”

Dr. Ben-Herut has recently completed co-translating with Dr. R. V. S. Sundaram selections from the Ragaḷe hagiographical collection for a book-length publication (under review). This project is funded by the American Academy of Religion’s Collaborative International Research Grant.  His book Śiva’s Saints: The Origins of Devotion in Kannada according to Harihara’s Ragaḷegaḷu (Oxford University Press, 2018) is the first study in English of the earliest Śaiva hagiographies in the Kannada-speaking region, and it argues for a reconsideration of the development of devotionalism associated today with the Vīraśaivas. The book received the Best First Book Award for 2019 from the Southeastern Medieval Association (SEMA) and the 2020 Best Book Award from the Southeastern Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (SEC/AAS). Dr. Ben-Herut’s other publications include peer-reviewed articles, a co-translation of a twelfth-century Kannada treatise about poetics, encyclopedic entries, a co-edited volume, and book chapters. Ben-Herut received the Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award from the University of South Florida for the year 2020.

Ben-Herut is the co-founder of the Regional Bhakti Scholars Network (RBSN), a platform for facilitating scholarly conversations about South-Asian devotional traditions, with annual events at national conferences, dedicated publications and special issues, as well as ongoing collaborations. Utilizing his extensive experience in computer programming, Dr. Ben-Herut is leading several Digital Humanities projects, including digitalRoses (Rapid Online Search Engine for Scanned materials) and BHAVA (Bhakti Virtual Archive). The latter is supported by the American Library Association’s Carnegie Whitney Grant and the Digital Scholarship Grant of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). He is a member of the Digital India Learning (DIL) Committee of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), and an active collaborator in digital projects about South Asian texts and languages involving open-source and open-access environments, the Linux ecosystem, Vim/NeoVim and Vim-based motions, and related architectures.



  • Ph.D: Emory University—Graduate Division of Religion (2013)

  • M.A.: Tel Aviv University—Religious Studies Program of the School of Philosophy (2007)

  • B.A.: Tel Aviv University—East and South Asian Studies (2004)


For an updated list of publications with external links to published materials, please refer to the CV above.

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