Press Release June 2016 : 16 June 2016, by Kaete Hamburger Kolleg: Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe
Bochum, Germany – Every year internationally renowned scholars from the broad range of fields within humanities are invited to conduct their research at one of the ten international Kaete Hamburger Centres in Germany. Funded by the German government, these centres give them the opportunity to spend time on a single research project for a prolonged period as visiting research fellows. Among these institutes is the Kaete Hamburger Centre at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. It focuses on the dynamics in the history of religions between Asia and Europe.
For the first time, Bochum’s Kaete Hamburger Centre has included a project on Jain religion into its portfolio. Dr. Patrick Krueger, a scholar in Jainology and South Asian art history from Leipzig University, was invited this year to start a research project on Jain art history and religion, entitled ‘The Visualization of the Dharma – New Perspectives of the Origin and the Meaning of the Jina Image and the Beginning of Jain Image Worshipping’.
Every academic researcher at Bochum’s Kaete Hamburger Kolleg follows an overarching topic. In the current season it is the relation of religion with senses or sensory perceptions. In this context, Dr. Krueger broaches the issue of ‘visualisation’ in ancient Jainism, which formed the Jain ritual culture in an exceptional manner. As it is generally known, visualisation, i.e. the sight of the sacred or the deity, has an important place in all religions derived on the Indian subcontinent. It is, however, absolutely astonishing that especially Jainism developed any kind of images, even if it was said to be an ascetic order, whose members refused any kind of possessions. The creation of both the Jina image, which was presumably adopted by the Buddhists, and an own Jain art transformed the Jainism. By both developments the orally transmitted doctrine of the ascetics became visible to the lay devotees. Thus, the Jain religion was enlarged from a pure audible doctrine to a highly visible cult. Words became images, or were at least accompanied by them. Hence, the beginning of Jain ritual culture, including the meaning of the earliest Jina images, cannot be understood only through textual tradition. These sources only deal with the monastic life of the ascetics, where objects of worshipping and even rituals were not assured. The research project therefore intends to investigate the origin of the Jina image and the worshipping of the Jain image from a new perspective. It is primarily based on the non-textual traditions of the ancient lay communities, which were later adopted by the learned Jain monks of the medieval times. It were these monks, which, on the other hand, formed the modern Jainism, where visualisation and sight of both, the Tīrthaṁkara and his eternal religious law, is of special importance.
The Kaete Hamburger Centre ‘Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe’ commenced its research activities under the direction of Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech in April 2008 and is incorporated in the Center for Religious Studies, an independent academic unit of Ruhr-Universität Bochum. In addition to the visiting research fellows, numerous local scholars from the university are involved in the institution’s research programme, which brings together scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines: Religious studies, Classics, Protestant and Catholic theologies, Islamic studies, Japanese studies, Korean studies, Sinology, Indology, Jewish studies, history, philosophy, and from now on Jainology. The research programme focuses on the formation and expansion of religions, the mutual permeation of religious traditions and their densifications into the complex figurations widely called ‘world religions.’ Regionally, the research covers these phenomena in Europe and Asia. The academic goal is to establish and test a typology of contacts of religions and an overarching theory regarding the transfer of religions. Fundamental results are published in the academic series ‘Dynamics in the History of Religions’ with Brill and the online journal ‘Entangled Religions’ is edited at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
About Kaete Hamburger Centre
The Kaete Hamburger Centre ‘Dynamics in the History of Religions’ is a Bochum based academic institution funded by the German government. For information click www.khk.ceres.rub.de/en
To learn more about the Kaete Hamburger Centre and the work of Dr. Patrick Krueger contact
Mr. Ulf Plessentin
Kaete Hamburger Centre
Center for Religious Studies
44789 Bochum – Germany
Bio Data of Dr Patrick Krueger can be found at: