Heroic Wives: Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood by M. Whitney Kelting

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

byM. Whitney Kelting

Hardcover | November 5, 2009

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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 fromworldly 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 worldlyvirtues 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 ritualcontexts 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 fertilecontext in which Jain women can explore their questions of virtue and piety.

About The Author

M. Whitney Kelting is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Northeastern University.

Details & Specs

Title:Heroic Wives: Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain WifehoodFormat:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 6.18 × 9.29 × 0.71 inPublished:November 5, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195389646

ISBN - 13:9780195389647

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Table of Contents

Note on Translation and Transliteration1. Thinking about WifehoodPart I. Making Ideal Marriages2. Fasting, Saubhagya, and Jain Sati Narratives3. Jain Satis, Women's Agency, and Bad Marriages4. The Perfect MarriagePart II. Negotiating Discourses5. Jains and Satimata Discourse6. Embodying WifehoodConclusion: The Pleasures of Jain WifehoodNotesGlossaryWorks CitedIndex