Jaina Studies Series

Posted: 01.12.2016
Updated on: 04.01.2017

Centre of Jaina Studies Newsletter: SOAS - University of London


School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Jaina Studies have become an accepted part of the Study of Religion. This series provides a medium for regular scholarly exchange across disciplinary boundaries. It will include edited volumes and monographs on Jainism and the Jains.

Volume One: Studies in Jaina History and Culture: Disputes and Dialogues, edited by Peter Flügel (SOAS).

This book breaks new ground by investigating the doctrinal differences and debates amongst the Jains rather than presenting Jainism as a seamless whole whose doctrinal core has remained virtually unchanged throughout its long history. The focus of the book is the  discourse concerning orthodoxy and heresy in the Jaina tradition, the  question of omniscience and Jaina logic, role models for women and female identity, Jaina schools and sects, religious property, law and ethics. The  internal diversity of the Jaina tradition and Jain techniques of living with diversity are explored from an interdisciplinary point of view by fifteen leading scholars in Jaina studies. The contributors focus on the principal social units of the tradition: the schools, movements, sects and orders, rather than Jain religious culture in abstract.  This book provides a representative snapshot of the current state of Jaina studies that will interest students and academics involved in the study of  religion or South Asian cultures. March 2006: 234x156: 512pp Hb: 0-415-36099-4

Volume Two: History, Scripture and Controversy in a Medieval Jain Sect, Paul Dundas, University of Edinburgh.

The subject of this fine book is the history and intellectual activity of the medieval Śvetāmbara Jain disciplinary order, the Tapā Gaccha.  The overall theme of this book is the consolidation from the thirteenth century by the Tapā Gaccha of its identity as the dominant Śvetāmbara Jain disciplinary order. Thanks to the author's exceptional knowledge of the field, the topic is shown in practice to be central to our understanding of many of the key questions scholars have been asking about the history and development, not just of Jainism, but of South Asian religious traditions in general, including the way in which traditions establish and maintain their authority in relation to texts, the relationship between text, commentary and tradition, attitudes to female religiosity, and tensions both within and between sects. December 2007: 234x156: 256pp Hb: 0-415-37611-4: £65.00

Paul Dundas is Reader in Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. His previous book, The Jains, is also available from Routledge.

Volume Three: The History of Vegetarianism and CowVeneration in India, Ludwig Alsdorf, translated by Bal Patil and edited by Willem Bollée (University of Heidelberg)

For the first time, this influential classic study by Ludwig Alsdorf is made available to an English speaking audience. At the core of the text is the analysis of the role of Jainism for the history of vegetarianism. Furthermore, it also refers to Hindu texts such as pertinent chapters of the Book of Manu. Besides a comprehensive translation of the original German manuscript, "Beiträge zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und der Rinderverehrung in Indien", which refers to two of the most pertinent issues in Indic religion, three important articles related to Alsdorf's work are made available in this new edition. February 2010: 234x156: 240 pp  Hb: 978-0-415.54824-3: £85.00

Willem Bollée  is Professor Emeritus at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Bal Patel, the translator, is a journalist and Chairman of the Jain Minority Status Committee, Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha.

Volume Four: Jaina Law and Society, edited by Peter Flügel (SOAS)

The struggle for the legal recognition of the Jain community in India as a religious minority from 1992 onwards has generated a renewed interest in Jaina law and an intense debate on the question of Jain identity in the context of the wider question of the interface between religion, society, law and politics in contemporary South Asia. This book analyses contemporary Jain identity and legal status in India. Chapters in this book written by experts on the subject, address the following issues: How do Jains themselves define their identity and customs, privately and collectively, in different situations and to what extent are such self-definitions recognised by Hindu law? In what way does the understanding of the social identity of lay Jains and their identification as 'secular' Hindu or 'religious' Jain offer in various Jain communities? The book explores these aspects which differ in accordance to the Jain representatives' distinct doctrinal interpretations, forms of organisation, and legal and ethical codes. It presents the social history of Jain law and the modern construction of Jainism as an independent religion on the basis of legal documents, biographies, community histories and ethnographies, disputes over religious sites, and interviews with community leaders in both north and south India. The book fills a gap in the literature and will be an essential resource for researchers interested in Jainism, Indian religions, Indian history, Religious Studies and Law. December 2013: 234x156: 256 pp Hb: 978-0415-54711-6: £85.00

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