Jainism, together with Buddhism and Hinduism, is one of the three religions which originated in ancient India. In this regard, Jain religion made many important contributions to the formation of ancient Indian culture and has brought forth a rich cultural heritage, including a remarkable literary tradition.
Jain studies started at CERES in 2016 with a research project of Dr. Patrick Felix Krüger at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe. His project “The Visualization of the Dharma—New Perspectives of the Origin and the Meaning of the Jina Image and the Beginning of Jain Image Worshipping” is being developed into a perennial research project on the religious history of Jainism in ancient India.
In order to integrate the research on Jainism into both the CERES research program and the courses for students as to further include Jainism to the research field of religious studies, a novel research section was founded—the first at a German-speaking university.
In addition to Indologyʼs perspective, which is mainly analyses texts of the ancient and medieval stages of Jain religion, the Research Section for Jainism intends to move the study of Jainism forward by including methods from the sociology of religion, art history and media studies. This blend of different approaches and sources allows developing a better understanding of ancient Jainism and its history. Additionally, this sketches a broader picture of the modern and contemporary Jain religion.