CoJS Newsletter 12 ►Letter from the Chair

Posted: 12.04.2017
Updated on: 14.04.2017

Centre of Jaina Studies Newsletter: SOAS - University of London

Dear Friends,

The present volume of the Newsletter is dedicated to the appreciation of the important contributions of Professors Satya Ranjan Banerjee, Bansidhar Bhatt, Klaus Bruhn, and Madhusudan A. Dhaky. With the sad demise in 2016 of these four towering men of letters, Jaina Studies has suffered an irreplaceable loss of scholarship at its highest level, which will prompt significant changes.

At the same time the field is expanding. This is reflected in the great number of conference reports in this volume, which also offers the programme and the abstracts of the 19th Jaina Studies Workshop at SOAS, on Jainism and Buddhism, an important subject that remains curiously under-researched despite more than 200 years of specialised academic scholarship in both fields of study. The Centre of Buddhist Studies at SOAS has co-funded the CoJS workshop at this occasion, and the bi-annual Pali Text Society meeting at SOAS will be held in conjunction with the workshop to enable scholars specialising in both fields to engage in great numbers.

This Newsletter features new research findings by J.C. Wright on The Jain Prakrit Origin of the Vetāla, and by P.S. Jaini on A Rare Letter of a Bhattāraka of Malayādri, and offers work-in-progress reports on two long-term research projects: The Hindu Reception of Perso-Arabic Traditions of Knowledge and the Role of Jainism in Cultural Transmission by Olle Qvarnstrom and Martin Gansten of the University of Lund, and Jaina-Prosopography: Monastic Lineages, Networks and Patronage by Peter Flũgel and Kornelius Krũmpelmann of SOAS in association with collaborators the in the UK and India.

Tillo Detige of the University of Ghent reports on Manuscript Collections of the Western and Central Indian Bhattārakas, and Narmada Prasad Upadhyaya of Indore on Significant Jaina Murals in the Eastern and Western Malwa Region. The latter's apparently unique documentation of murals which were destroyed solely on account of renovations is indicative of an ongoing trend of self-destruction of Jaina cultural heritage in the name of modernisation and progress. Nalini Balbir and Johannes Beltz offer a glimpse into the Jain Art at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, which is currently preparing an exhibition on this subject.

Finally, it is worth pointing to the 20th 'Jubilee' Jaina Studies Conference at SOAS in 2018, which will be dedicated to the theme History and Current State of Jaina Studies which invites reflections on the achievements and future prospects of our specialised field of study in times of technological, economic, political, cultural and generational change.

Peter Flũgel

Ksetrapālajī, Dādābārī Amadābād
(Photo P. Flũgel 26.12.2015)

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