| Jainism is one of the oldest religions. A detailed discussion of Jain history would be
very long. It covers many different periods of history.
I have divided the time-scale into seven periods so that we can correlate the events within the Jain history, and can also relate the history of Jainism with other events in India and outside of India. You will note that several famous philosophers were contemporary of Lord Mahavira, and that 13-15th century was the age of reform in India as well as in Europe.
It should be recognized that as we go back in time, it becomes harder and harder to date events exactly. The dates I have given below, have been taken from several different sources.
We must distinguish between tradition and history. Tradition is the info- rmation that we have received through oral or written tradition. History on the other hand, is an analytical but approximate science. A historian takes a critical look at the information available to come to a conclusion. It is common for the historians to disagree.
In many cases, the historians do not accept a tradition until supporting
evidence becomes available. For example, the Kalpa-Sutra gives a list
of ancient orders (Ganas etc.) Many historians were not convinced of the
historicity of this information until the excavations at Mathura un-earthed
many inscriptions mentioning the very same orders. Several archaeological
discoveries and studies of the Buddhist and Vedic/Puranic literature
has confirmed the antiquity of the jain tradition.
I will gradually
add additional items and links to detailed information. The outline below will serve as an index.
History Outline with links to articles