South Asia Seminar: The never-ending test: a Jain tradition of narrative adaptation

February 4, 2021 - 5pm

Virtual Event

Heleen De Jonckheere, Postdoctoral Fellow, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, The University of Chicago

Repetition, reconfiguration and recreation form important characteristics of Indian literary traditions. In this talk, based on my recent Ph.D. dissertation, I will present creative engagements with a narrative called the Dharmaparīkṣā (‘Examination of Religion’) over a thousand-year period. This Jain story criticizes Brahmanical beliefs and authority by means of parody. Looking at six versions of this narrative, from different times and in different languages, I discuss changing practices of adaptation and translation by Jain authors, their underlying motivations, and how these were influenced by the authors’ time and context.

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