Heroic Wives

Heroic Wives : Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood

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Description

Although in Hinduism it is mainly used to refer to widow immolation, the term 'sati' means 'true woman' - a female hero. Whitney Kelting has learned that in Jainism satis appear as subjects of devotional hymns. This seems paradoxical, given that Jain spirituality is to disengage oneself from worldly existence and Jain devotionalism is usually directed toward those souls who have reached perfect detachment. In fact, however, there is a vast corpus of popular texts, many of them written by prominent scholar-monks between the 16th and 18th centuries, illustrating the distinctly worldly virtues of devoted Jain wives. In this fieldwork-based study, Kelting explores the ways in which Jain women use sati narratives and rituals to understand wifehood as a choice, which these women's ongoing ritual practices continually shape. She focuses on eight well-known Jain sati narratives, recorded in both formal ritual contexts and in informal retellings, and also as read aloud from printed versions. She finds that one of the principal functions of Jain sati narratives is to contribute to a discourse of wifehood, which addresses the concerns of Jain laywomen within the Jain value system and provides a fertile context in which Jain women can explore their questions of virtue and piety.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 164 x 236 x 28mm | 539.77g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 10 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195389646
  • 9780195389647

About M. Whitney Kelting

M. Whitney Kelting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Northeastern Universityshow more

Table of contents

NOTE ON TRANSLATION AND TRANSLITERATION; PART ONE: MAKING IDEAL MARRIAGES; PART TWO: NEGOTIATING DISCOURSE; CONCLUSION: THE PLEASURES OF JAIN WIFEHOOD; NOTES; GLOSSARY; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEXshow more

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