Jain Radiance On The Western Horizon [07/14] The Development of International Jain Studies, 1870-1914

Posted: 14.05.2008
Updated on: 13.10.2008

Jain Radiance On The Western Horizon

[rem:  article written in 1993]

[07] The Development of International Jain Studies, 1870-1914

The story of the development of international Jain studies especially textually has been told elsewhere or can be assumed from annotated bibliographies, which are readily available. It is rewarding to see how this study developed and how India, Germany, France, Britain communicated with each other and with U.S.A. and Canada. Direct communication between India and North America before the end of World War II seem to have been at times slow after the great schools of Indology were built up at places like Harvard or individuals like Professor Maurice Bloomfield and Professor William Norman Brown did their work. We shall return to that later, but at this juncture to enflesh a little the bare bores of the account of the work of the Germans let us glance briefly at two thumbnail biographies. Georg Buehler (2837-1848) was an outstanding German scholar in a brilliant generation. He taught at Elphinstone College, Bombay, from 1863 to when his health broke down in 1878. He served actively in giving general education advice to the government of India and in getting the Join grantha bandkhanas (places where books were safeguarded) to begin to open up their store of manuscript riches. (Since 1947 these have been augmented by displaced works from Pakistan).

This kind of work produced superb collections of Jain manuscripts in London, Berlin, Leipzig and Strassburg. Geaea Lion after generation of western scholars cut their milk-teeth on them. He proved the antiquity of the Jain ascetic lines of spiritual and teaching descant from inscriptions and egged on a reluctant and ill-Financed Government Archaeological service to find more inscriptions. In this he may (alas) with all good will have caused many an inscription, for instance at Muttra, to be irretrievably detached from its archaeological accompaniments and strata. He was drowned in an accident in Lake Constance. It is said that the Gum paranpara of those great German scholars lasted on to Walther Schubring and to Professor Colette Caillat of Paris who is still active in Jain studies.

Dr. Herman Jacobi (1850-1937) was the scholar who conclusively proved Jainism's true place and seniority to Buddhism. He travelled in Ears in 1873 and 1913-1914. He had the distinction to write two volumes in Max Mueller's famous fifty volume Oxford University Press series, Sacred Books of the East, which were soon installed in every decent library from Oxford, to Harvard, to Tokyo. His two volumes were devoted to Jain sutras.[19] Though better tuitions and translations of the texts have appeared, they continue to give western non-specialist readers a very good, readily available, introduction to the attitude, couteata method and approach of a great part of Jain literature and admiringly respectful introductions by Jacobi himself. Together with Jacobi’s excellent article in the Hastings Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Mrs Margaret Sinclair Stevenson's articles therein and her Heart of Jainism then have remained the basic and main fin of English-reading readers sew knowledge of Jainism world-wide down to the and of the 1980’s. [20]

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