Past Events 2018-19

  •  Lecture of Piotr Balcerowicz (Warsaw university) Uttharadhyayana

"Logic, ethics and politics in early Jainism and Ajivikism against the Buddhist backdrop"

Wednesday 8 May: 11:00–13:00 ; Rozier Room 1.4

The talk discusses the earliest history of three South Asian religious traditions: Buddhism, Jainism and (long-forgotten) Ajivikism. We are accustomed to think that logic, ethics and politics are rather loosely related to each other, if at all. The earliest history of Jainism and Ajivikism provides us a case where all the three are interlinked. Jainism’s flagship philosophical theory of the multiplexity of reality (anekānta-vāda), being a complex logical-semantic model, has its roots in the rigid system of ascetic conduct and ethics. As it may come as a surprise to many, both the logical-semantic theory and the system of ascetic ethics were developed jointly by Jainism and Ajivikism, both of which had the same group of founders. It was politics that decided the fates of both religions. The background for these developments was provided by Buddhism. How the earliest history developed, how the earliest examples of non-Brahmanical art in India emerged, will be discussed in the talk. A historical survey brings in archaeological evidence and early Buddhist textual sources, such as The Discourse on the Fruits of Asceticism (Sāmañña-phala-sutta), which mention the so-called ‘six heretical teachers’. Against this backdrop, the talk sheds light on a number of puzzling aspects found in the Buddhist accounts, and as a result proposes a new chronology and dating of the historical Gautama Buddha and his contemporaries, such as Mahāvira Vardhamāna, Gośāla Maṅkhaliputra etc.

  • Lecture of Sander Hens (UGent)

"Indian Poetry in Global Perspective: History, Tragedy and Playfulness in a Sanskrit Court Epic"

Tuesday 7 May: 16:00–19:00 ; Auditorium 1 – Jan Broeckx (part of the Culture in Perspective course)

prithviraj chauhan

  • Lecture of Prof. John E. Cort (Denison University)


 “Studying Religion through Material and Visual Culture:

   Seeing and Ornamenting Temple Images in Jainism”

   Thursday April 4th at 4.00 pm - Rozier library lab Vleugel Magnel

  Doctoral seminar with Prof. John E. Cort (Denison University)

  “Religion and materiality”

   Thursday April 4th at 2.00 pm - Rozier library lab Vleugel Magnel


   More details and abstract below:


John Cort

Dear colleagues,

On April 4th, we are hosting, in the frame of a “Meet the PhD jury activity”, a doctoral seminar on the theme of “Religion and materiality”, followed by a public lecture “Studying Religion through Material and Visual Culture: Seeing and Ornamenting Temple Images in Jainism”, by Prof. John E. Cort (Denison University).

Location: Library Lab, Faculty Library, Magnel Wing

Time: doctoral seminar: 14-15:30; public lecture: 16-17:00.

For the doctoral seminar (14 tot 16u) doctoral students will each present their own case in relation to the broader theme of “Religion and materiality”, followed by a group discussion with Prof. Cort. A maximum of six doctoral students can participate. Interested students may register with

The public lecture is open to all interested. Please find an abstract below.

Abstract: “Most discussions of sectarian differences between the Digambar and Shvetambar Jains focus on disagreements concerning the biographies of the 24th Jina Mahavira, disagreements about whether a true monk should be naked (dig-ambara) or can wear white robes (shveta-ambara), and disagreements about whether or not women can directly attain liberation. But the difference between the two that is most immediately evident to anyone who has ever visited any of the tens of thousands of Jain temples in India (and increasingly abroad) concerns whether or not the image of the Jina should be ornamented. The main image in a Shvetambar temple is ornamented daily, and the ornamentation is often quite ostentatious. Digambars, however, reject this practice, and argue that a Jina image should never be ornamented. This disagreement concerning the material culture of Jina images reveals a deeper disagreement concerning the very nature of the Jina, and the ways that devout Jains should visualize the Jina in their devotional rituals. In this lecture, Cort discusses the different theologies of the Jina that underlie this disagreement, and shows how attention to material and visual culture can play an important role in the academic understanding of Jainism.”

  • PhD-Defense of Tine Vekemans, 3 April 2019

Tine Vekemans most brilliantly defended her Phd dissertation Digital Religion in a Transnational Context. Representing and practising Jainism in diasporic communities.

Tine Defense