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John E. Cort
Denison University (Granville, OH 43023-1533)
The Devotional Culture of the Digambar Jains in North India

In recent decades, the concept of bhakti (“devotion”) has become a central category in the study of South Asian religions, and is becoming an ever more important category in the comparative study of religion. According to the standard scholarly model, bhakti is a distinctly Hindu mode of religiosity that renders the core values and goals of Hinduism accessible to everyone. This model ignores that the Jains have practiced bhakti for two millennia. Jain bhakti needs to be included if scholarship is to achieve a more fully adequate understanding of both the religious history of South Asia, and the use of bhakti as a category in the comparative study of religion. This NEH proposal is to write a book, Naked Devotion, that will present an alternative Jain understanding of bhakti. This book should change both the way scholarship understands bhakti—and therefore religion in South Asia—and how it understands Jainism.

Project fields:
Nonwestern Religion

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 8/31/2013