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Worshipping the Ideal King: On the Social Implications of Medieval Jaina Conversion Stories

Flügel, Peter (2010) 'Worshipping the Ideal King: On the Social Implications of Medieval Jaina Conversion Stories.' In: Schalk, Peter and Deeg, Max and Freiberger, Oliver and Kleine, Christoph and van Nahl, Astrid, (eds.), Geschichten und Geschichte: Historiographie und Hagiographie in der asiatischen Religionsgeschichte. Upsala: Uppsala, pp. 357-432. (Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Historia Religionum)

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Abstract

The article argues that not only Jaina poetic fiction, but also the genres of Jain history, even ‘plain’ chronologies, are shaped by the imperatives of religious pragmatics. It demonstrates how through the rhetorical device of ‘communicative self-reference’, where a text points at its own communicative context, a variety of different Jaina narrative genres can function as conversion stories. A standard feature of Jain narratives is that the listener to a religious discourse frquently finds him/herself in a conventional speech situation, a sermon for instance, which mirrors the narrative frame in the text, and thus facilitates identification with the conversion experiences and soteriological trajectories typically highlighted in Jains texts. The article offers a solution for the conundrum of the frequent tropes of violence in Jaina stories by arguing that these are deliberately used to force conversational implicatures on the listener for the purpose of evoking experiences of religious insight, through techniques of defamiliarization, displacement, and the violation of expectations.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Jaina historiography, hagiography, rhetorics of conversion stories, communicative self-reference, exploitation of conversational implicature, social implicature, conversion as social drama, Śālibhadracarita, Ardhakathānaka,
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions > Centre of Jaina Studies
ISBN: 9789155477455
Copyright Statement: With permission of the editors.
Depositing User: Peter Flugel
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2010 11:23
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/10434

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