SOAS University of London

First publication of historical encyclopaedic text on Jainism to be launched at SOAS

15 March 2017
The first published English edition of Dr Johannes Klatt's Jaina-Onomasticon (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2016) will be launched at SOAS University of London. The monumental 5,338-page handwritten manuscript from the year 1892 chronicles the histories in form of an alphabetical bi-bibliographical index of names and texts of Jaina authors with excerpts of biographical information.
Peter Flugel

Above: Dr Johannes Klatt's Jaina-Onomasticon

Dr Johannes Emil Otto Klatt (1852-1903) dedicated his life primarily to the study of the historical records of the Jainas. This landmark publication has been made accessible in English for the first time by Dr Peter Flügel, Reader in the Study of Religions and Chair of the Centre of Jaina Studies, who directed the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant RPG-2012-620 funded edition of Klatt's work, which was accomplished in collaboration with Dr Kornelius Krümpelmann, in consultation with advisors Prof J.C. Wright and Dr Renate Söhnen-Thieme of the Centre of Jaina Studies. As well as being co-editor Dr Flügel wrote an introductory essay on the life and work of Klatt - from his life in Germany to the illness which led to his premature death and unpublished works - and separately published his surviving scholarly correspondence.

Dr Flügel said: “The social and literary history of Jainism is still mostly unwritten – this is why the first publication of Jaina-Onomasticon is so significant. Klatt’s encyclopedic compilation of literary-bibliographical information on Jaina authors, texts and biographies is still without parallel. Pioneering academic studies on Jaina history based on medieval and post-medieval treatises, chronologies and biographies in Sanskrit, Gujarati and Hindi have only recently been published. However, none of these investigations have the scope of the Jaina-Onomasticon.”

It is hoped that the published English text will serve as a valuable research tool to future generations of scholarship.

The launch of this publication on 17 March coincides with the Centre of Jaina Studies annual series of events across two days. The 17th Annual Jaina Lecture of Dr Fujinaga Shin (Miyazaki Konoso) will explore Jaina and Buddhist texts focusing on use of the term nidāna.

This event will be followed by the 19th Jaina Studies Workshop at SOAS on 18 March on Jainism and Buddhism bringing together leading scholars from around the world.

Full details for the events are available on the SOAS Centre of Jaina Studies website.