Ghent University has been hosting Jaina Studies since several decades. What has now become a research tradition on Jainism was initiated by the work of Jozef Deleu, who defended his doctoral thesis on Jaina narrative literature in 1957. To facilitate his research, he pursued training in the Jaina Prakrits, the Middle Indo-Aryan languages of Jaina texts, with the renowned scholars Walther Schubring and Ludwig Alsdorf at the University of Hamburg in 1959. In 1970-71 he was guest lecturer of Jainology at the University of Utrecht, and he became lecturer at Ghent University in 1971, where he taught, among other subjects, the Jaina Prakrits.

His student and successor, Frank Van Den Bossche, submitted his doctorate on Jaina metaphysics in 1993. In 1983-84 he stayed at the Bhandarkar Oriental Institute in Pune in preparation of his doctoral thesis. In 1999, he became a lecturer at Ghent University, where he researches Jaina ethics and philosophy and teaches Prakrit, Sanskrit and other courses, which also focus on Jainism.

Jaina Studies | Frank Van Den Bossche

Eva De Clercq completed her doctoral dissertation, supervised by Professor Van Den Bossche, on the Paümacariu, a Jaina version of the Rāmāyaṇa written by the Apabhraṃśa poet Svayambhūdeva. Having rejoined the Department of Languages and Cultures of South Asia as a lecturer in 2010, she is now further strengthening the departments focus on Jaina Studies with her research on Apabhraṃśa literature, Jaina Rāmāyaṇas and Digambara monastic history.

Vakgroep Talen en Culturen - India | Eva De Clercq

Thanks to this tradition of several decades of Jaina studies, Ghent University is now proud to have a rich collection of publications on Jainism and  international contacts with scholars of Jainism. Several young researchers are currently benefiting from this ideal environment, and further contribute to the diversity of research and expertise in the vast field of Jainology.