Examination of the religious other. Jainism advocating itself in the Dharmaparīkṣās

Start - End 
2016 - 2019 (ongoing)
Department of Languages and Cultures
Research group(s) 



Around the sixth century BCE arose in the Indian religio-philosophical environment that was dominated by the Brahmanical tradition (the oldest form of Hinduism) the still living religious tradition of Jainism. To claim their position the Jains created and developed their religious identity in opposition to the dominant Brahmans and to other religions such as Buddhism. The current project will elucidate aspects of this oppositional history of the Jain community by studying a group of Jain texts, the Dharmaparīkṣās, that were written from the tenth century onwards and explicitly oppose, or rather mock, the Brahmanical tradition. These fairly unstudied texts are relatively special in that they criticize the Brahmans by means of narrative, which proves their functionality mainly towards the Jain laity. The project intends to reveal how Jains (in medieval times) perceived their own identity by looking at how they perceived and characterized their others, namely the Brahmans, in the Dharmaparīkṣās. Using theories of ‘othering’, which refers to the dynamic process of marking sameness and difference in relation to the self, as analytical framework, the texts will be studied on their own, diachronically, in comparison to historical information on the medieval Jain community, and as a possible challenge to current theories of ‘othering’. 



Phd Student(s)