In the framework of its ANR-DFG Franco-German thematic programme, the French National Research Agency (ANR) has decided to allocate the sum of €129,065 to the EFEO (Dominic Goodall), effective as of December 28, 2007. Set to last for three years, the programme is entitled "Discovering the Interrelationships and Common Ritual Syntax of the Saiva, Buddhist, Vaisnava and Saura traditions" (or Early Tantra)

The principal objective of the programme is to elucidate the interactions and relations between the ancient Tantric traditions. It was felt that by studying the similarities and differences between their ritual systems and terminology it would be possible to reach a clearer understanding of how these traditions were established and defined. The programme is also intended to make available for the first time reliable scholarly editions of a certain number of the earliest Tantric texts, all of them previously unpublished.

In the German part of the programme, scholars will focus their expertise and experience on the study of Nepalese manuscripts, particularly Buddhist manuscripts and early Saiva material. German partner researchers have privileged access to the National Archives of Kathmandu. Meanwhile, French researchers possess unique expertise regarding such material as well as of Shivaism in general. The two groups will pool their databases on Tantric literature.

This close and intensive collaboration will be reinforced by annual two-week long workshops attended not only by the members of the French and German teams but also by a substantial number of leading international experts in Tantric traditions who have agreed to be associated with the project.

The programme will culminate in six principal publications. Five of those publications will be constituted by the texts themselves. Depending on the state of the sources, the texts will be published either as critical editions or as diplomatic transcriptions. Each publication will be accompanied by a DVD containing digital images of the manuscripts in colour. The sixth publication will be a collection of articles on the ritual syntax common to the earliest Tantric traditions.