Journal Article

Good Wives, Family Protectors: Writing Jain Laywomen's Memorials

M. Whitney Kelting

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 71, issue 3, pages 637-657
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Good Wives, Family Protectors: Writing Jain Laywomen's Memorials

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While Jain religious models of virtue articulate the renouncer as the focus of virtue, Jains likewise participate in the western Indian discourse of women's virtue, which centers around the dedicated wife (pativratā) and the virtuous woman (satī). The parole of virtue in Jain dedicatory memorials can be seen as explicitly gendered; lay Jains are represented as the great patron or the dedicated wife. For Jain laymen who cannot be represented as great patrons, there is no langue to use to represent them. For Jain laywomen, the discourse of satīs is invoked to frame the woman as virtuous and worthy of celebration—even in those memorials where women participate in the great patron model. These memorials are a place to examine how the telling of women's lives serves as a testing ground for competing ideologies and illustrates the patterns of negotiation between ideologies based on religious identity and gender.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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