Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by: John E. Cort, Denison University, Paul Dundas, University of Edinburgh, Knut A. Jacobsen, University of Bergen, Kristi L. Wiley, University of California, Berkeley

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Jainism Online makes available up-to-date research on main aspects of the Jain traditions in original essays written by some of the world’s foremost scholars on Jainism. The encyclopedia is thematic and seeks to present a balanced and impartial view of Jainism with a focus on both historical and contemporary traditions and institutions. The articles address topics such as the human condition, pantheons, historical perspectives, regional cultures, renunciation, lay society, ritual, devotion, visual and material culture, time and space, literature, and philosophy and logic.

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(3,523 words)

Author(s): Menski, Werner
The South Asian minority religion of Jainism has undoubtedly an ancient pedigree, but unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, which have similarly ancient roots, Jain law, a “nineteenth-century neologism” (Flügel, 2009, 363), has never been a politically dominant force anywhere and thus cannot be treated as an easily identifiable state-centric legal entity. This does not mean that Jainism and/or Jain law have no claims to a separate identity or lack solid ethical foundations, moral strength, and specific …
Date: 2019-04-15