Heleen De Jonckheere

heleen de jonckheere

Research Project

Examination of the Religious Other: Jainism advocating itself in the Dharmaparīkṣās

Supervisor: Eva De Clercq

 Heleen De Jonckheere is currently working on a PhD-project for which she studies a category of Jaina texts named Dharmaparīkṣā. These narrative texts, written from the tenth century onwards, are embroidered with stories from the Puranic (Hindu) tradition in order to prove the faults in these stories and in the Puranic tradition itself. Topped with a layer of satire the Dharmaparīkṣās are meant to convince the lay people of the legitimacy of Jainism and thus of the corruptness of other religious traditions. Heleen will focus on the antagonism in these texts to study how Jains perceived their own identity through others. For this she will use theories of ‘othering’ as analytical framework and compare several versions of Dharmaparīkṣā. Furthermore she will look at the the context of the texts, explore their historical importance and consider the role of the author in writing a Dharmaparīkṣā.


Research Interests

Sanskrit Literature

Prakrit/Apabhraṃśa/Hindi Literature

History of Jainism

(Jaina) Puranas , Ramayana

Religious identities


  • PhD candidate (BOF, Special Research Fund), 1/10/2016 -1/10/2020 Project Title: "Examination of the Religious Other: Jainism advocating itself in the Dharmaparīkṣās."
  • Master in Indian languages and Cultures (Hindi-Sanskrit) from Ghent University, 3/07/2015 Dissertation: "The Darśanasāra by Devasena: On the Perception of the Other.
  • Bachelor in Indian languages and Cultures (Hindi-Sanskrit) from Ghent University, 4/07/2014. 


Conferences and Workhops

  • 19th Jaina Studies Workshop, Jainism and Buddhism, "Examination of the Buddhists in Amitagati's Dharmaparīkṣā: A Reflective Look on Jaina Criticism", SOAS University of London, 18th March 2017

  • Apabhraṃśa Summer Retreat, Barcelona, 15th-19th July 2017
  • EASR Annual Conference, Communicating Jainism Panel, panel chair and presenter, "The Story of the Stories within the Story: Narrating Jain-Selves”, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven,  18th-21st September 2017
  • 9th IIGRS Conference, co-organizer, Ghent University, 22nd-23rd September 2017
  • International Prakrit Conference, "The Darśanasāra by Devasena", Śravanabelagola, 3rd-6th November 2017
  • 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Jaina Studies Section, "Hari is not even satisfied by 16000 gopīs!: The Dharmaparīkṣā by Amitagati as Jain expression of a Puranic mode", UBC Vancouver, 9th-13th July 2018
  • International Conference: Literary Circulations in South Asia: Producing, Translating, Preserving Texts, "'Examining Religion' through generations of Jain audiences: the circulation of the Dharmaparīkṣā tradition", Institut Français de Pondichéry, 21st-22nd August 2018
  • EASR Annual Conference, Humour, Narrative, Religion panel, "Laugh and Learn: Humour at the centre of a Jain didactic narrative", 25th-29th June 2019