The Jain tradition, which combines the goal of well-being in this world with an ultimate aim of spiritual liberation, has made significant contributions to Indian culture and society through the values and ideals of nonviolence and asceticism. Jainism is among the oldest religions of South Asian origin. Today it is found both in India and among the Indian diaspora communities. The study of the history, literature, and teachings of the Jains and their social and cultural contexts as well as the contemporary ritual, devotional, and ascetic practices is an important field of scholarship. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Jainism 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.
Edited by Knut A. Jacobsen (editor in chief) and John E. Cort, Paul Dundas, and Kristi L. Wiley (associate editors)
John E. Cort is professor of Asian and comparative religions at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He is the author of books and articles on the Jains as well as religion, history, literature, and culture in western and North India. Paul Dundas is reader in Sanskrit in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the author of books and articles on Jain history, Prakrit language and literature, and Sanskrit court poetry. Knut A. Jacobsen is professor in the history of religions at the University of Bergen, Norway, and author of numerous publications on various aspects of religions in South Asia and in the South Asian diasporas. Kristi L. Wiley is retired from the University of California at Berkeley, where she had taught Sanskrit and Indic religions in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies. She is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Jainism and articles on various aspects of Jainism related to the theory of karman.