Jain Approaches to Plurality

Identity as Dialogue


Author: Melanie Barbato
In Jain Approaches to Plurality Melanie Barbato offers a new perspective on the Jain teaching of plurality ( anekāntavāda) and how it allowed Jains to engage with other discourses from Indian inter-school philosophy to global interreligious dialogue. Jainism, one of the world’s oldest religions, has managed to both adapt and preserve its identity across time through its inherently dialogical outlook. Drawing on a wide range of textual sources and original research in India, Barbato analyses the encounters between Jains and non-Jains in the classical, colonial and global context. Jain Approaches to Plurality offers a comprehensive introduction to anekāntavāda as a non-Western resource for understanding plurality and engaging in dialogue.

“Building upon earlier work in this field without simply reduplicating it, Melanie Barbato’s work delves deeply into the question of the relevance of Jain approaches to religious and philosophical diversity to contemporary issues of inter-religious dialogue, and dialogues across worldviews more generally. (…) This work is a most welcome contribution to the conversation.”

— Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College. April 2017. Author of Jainism: An Introduction.

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Melanie Barbato is a researcher at the Institute for Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology at WWU Münster. She holds a doctorate in Indology and Religious Studies from LMU Munich and a Master in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford.

1 Introduction: Identity in Changing Times
 The Historical Development of Anekāntavāda
   First Stage: Discourse within the Jain Community
   Second Stage: Indian Inter-school Discourse
   Third Stage: Colonial Discourse
   Fourth Stage: Global Discourse
 The Structure of the Book

2 Who are the Jains? A Community between Indian Tradition and Global Modernity
 The Fordmakers
 Beliefs and Worship
 Puṇya and Pāpa
 The Historical Development of Jainism

3 Jains in Inner-indian Dialogue
 The Schools of Indian Philosophy
 The Historical Development of Jain Philosophy
 The Classical Concept of Anekāntavāda
 Plurality in Jain Ontology
   Indian Ontologies
   An Ontology of Organic Plurality
   Origination, Destruction and Persistence
   Substance, Qualities and Modifications
   The Complex Union of Reality
 Classical Applications
   Cause and Effect
   The Nature of the Soul
 Plurality in Jain Discursive Logic
   Logic in India
   The Nyāya Inference Model
   The Aim of Indian Logic
   Jain Logic: Every Statement is Conditional
   Sevenfold Predication
   Yaśovijaya’s Interpretation of the Saptabhaṅgī
   Śankara’s Criticism of Jain Logic
   Jain Logic, Nyāya Logic, Western Logic
 Plurality and Perfect Knowledge
   Jain Soteriology
   The Stages of Knowledge
   Limited Knowledge: The View-points
   False Views and Absolutism
   What the Omniscient Know
   Plurality in the Light of Omniscience
   Kundakunda’s Two Viewpoints

4 Plurality in Modern Jain Dialogues
 Tolerance and Interreligious Dialogue
   The World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago
   Indian Inclusivism
   The Limits of Jain Tolerance
   Gandhi and Shrimad Rajchandra
   Anekāntavāda as Intellectual Non-violence
   Anekāntavāda as Relativism
   Identity, Values and Doctrine
 Jainism in Dialogue with Science
   The Historical Context
   A Scientific Religion?
   Jainism as Scientific Theory
 Jain Diplomacy
   Jain Environmental Activism
   Acharya Sushil Kumar and Religious Diplomacy

5 Jain Dialogic Identity – Then and Now
Anekāntavāda between Philosophy and Rhetorics
 Four Understandings of anekāntavāda
   A Philosophical Understanding of anekāntavāda
   A Conservative Modern Understanding of anekāntavāda
   A Modernist Understanding of anekāntavāda
   A Lay Orthodox Understanding of anekāntavāda
 Who Speaks for anekāntavāda?