Two recent books on Jains

Wed Mar 24 17:01:49 UTC 1993

In response to a nudge from Dominik I would like to alert INDOLOGY
subscribers to two recent (-ish) books on the Jains.  I should point
out now that - immodestly - one of them is mine, but Dominik
insisted... (also, OUP, the publisher, has rotten distribution and
advertising in North America):

Marcus Banks
_Organizing Jainism in India and England_
(Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992, ISBN 0-19-827388-6

A social anthropological study of contemporary Jain social and religious
organization, based on field observation of two Jain 'communities' - one
in the Gujarati city of Jamnagar, the other in the British city of
Leicester. Some nice photographs (if I say so myself).

Paul Dundas
_The Jains_
(Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices)
Routledge, London, 1992, ISBN 0-415-05183-5 (05184-3 pbk)

"The Indian religion of Jainism, whose central tenet involves non-
violence to all creatures, is one of the world's oldest and at the same
time least-understood faiths.  Paul Dundas looks at Jainism in its social
and doctrinal context, discusses its hitory, sects, scriptures and ritual,
and describes how the Jains have, over two and a half thousand years, 
defined themselves as a unique religious community" (Back cover blurb).

I think this is a really excellent book - scholarly (Dundas is a lecturer
in Sanskrit at Edinburgh) and yet accessible.  P S Jaini's _Jaina
path of purification_ was for a while the only really good book on the
Jains, but this far surpasses it.  I have a more detailed review of the
book coming out in _Man_ (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)
in the next issue (I hope).

Marcus Banks, University of Oxford

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