John E. Cort is Professor of Asian and Comparative Religions at Denison University,
where he is also Chair of the Department of Religion. He has researched the Jains and Jainism for over forty years. He is the author of Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India (2001); Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain History (2010); and, with Lawrence A. Babb and Michael W. Meister, Desert Temples: Sacred Centers of Rajasthan in Historical, Art-Historical and Social Contexts (2008). He is also on the editorial board of the forthcoming Brill Encyclopedia of Jainism.
At the heart of Jain temple worship are icons of the Jinas, the enlightened and liberated teachers. Looking at the material and ritual culture of Jain temples shows that Shvetambar Jains elaborately ornament their Jina icons, whereas the Digambar Jains worship plain, unornamented icons. An investigation of this readily apparent difference shows that styles of temple display reveal differing conceptions between Shvetambars and Digambars as to who the Jina is, and how Jains should meditate upon the Jina.
The talk is free and open to the public. Q&A and reception with Jain vegetarian food to follow.
Street-meter and garage parking are available near Hagerty Hall.
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