Dr Marie-Hélène Gorisse

Dr Marie-Hélène Gorisse

Department of Theology and Religion
Assistant Professor
Dharmanath Endowed Chair in Jain Studies

Contact details

ERI Building, Room 212
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I specialize in South Asian philosophy of religion. My expertise is in Jainism and the way Jainism developed in dialogue with other South Asian philosophico-religious traditions like Buddhism and Hinduism. I work more precisely on epistemology and on how Jain epistemology is shaped by long traditions of hermeneutics and philosophy of language, of theories of karma, and of techniques of transformation of the self. I also work on the contemporary relevance of Jainism as a contributor to global philosophy of religion.


  • BA in Classics and in French Literature (Lille University)
  • University Diploma in Sanskrit and in Greek (Lille University)
  • BA, MA, and PhD in Logic, Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (Lille University) in the “Dialogical Logic” approach to logic and argumentation. Title of the PhD (in French) “The art of perspective: Dialogical Study of Jain Pluralism in the Prameyakamalamārtaṇḍa


  • Post-Doctoral Researcher in Jain theories of inference (Ghent University)
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher in Jain conceptions of authority (Leiden University)
  • Teaching Fellow in South Asian classical and modern philosophy, and on Jainism (SOAS, London)
  • Teaching Fellow in South Asian religions, philosophies, literature and in Sanskrit and Prakrit (Ghent University)
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher in the “Global Philosophy of Religion” project led by Yujin Nagasawa and funded by the Templeton foundation (University of Birmingham)
  • co-chair of the “Global Critical Philosophy of Religion” Unit at the AAR
  • co-founder of the Jain Philosophy Research Group


I teach in several modules that constitute a teaching pathway in South Asian traditions. My teaching contribution is first focused on Jainism, and includes as well trends of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

At the LC level, I contribute to the modules “Introduction to the Study of Religions” and “Lived Religions”.

At the LI level, I teach the module “Dharmic Religions and Tradition” and, depending on the academic year, I contribute to modules such as “Gender, Sexualities, Religion”, “Evil and the Human Condition”, “Life after death”, or “Religion and the art”.

At the LH level, I teach the module “Ancient Roots of Yoga and Meditation” and “Buddhism” and, depending on the academic year, I contribute to “Interreligious feminisms”, or “God beyond borders”.

At the LM level, I teach “Hindu Philosophy of Religion”.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome PhD students working on a South Asian tradition, especially in – but not limited to – the field of philosophy of religion and epistemology.
Note that, depending on the dissertation topic, the acquisition of at least one Indian classical, pre-Modern, or contemporary language is regularly involved, I can help in this.


My research explores the interconnections between epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and soteriology in Jainism, and concentrates on the ways in which Jains engage with their religious others.

This research has impact beyond Jain studies. First, it contributes to cross-cultural, inter-religious and interdisciplinary dialogue, by representing lesser-known traditions within mainstream debates, as well as by exploring innovative methods for cross-pollination between traditions and disciplines. 

Second, this research is far-reaching at a time of global interfaith violence, because we find in Jainism innovative pre-modern approaches for negotiating situations in which one is confronted with opposing statements that respect the particularity and highlight the contribution of other traditions.

Core principles of Jainism, such as non-violence, mindfulness and non-one-sidedness have a meaningful position in my teaching, research and participation to concrete projects in public life. In this dynamic, I am leading the establishment and development of the new “Dharmanath Research Network in Jain Studies” (established in Autumn 2023, website in construction), that marks the beginning of an ambitious collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the global Jain community. With this collaboration, the University of Birmingham is becoming an internationally renowned centre for Jain studies.

  • First, our curriculum includes teachings in Jainism from the first year to the Master level and I welcome supervising PhD projects on Jainism.
  • It is also possible to join our post-doc community in Jain Studies, like Jinesh Sheth, who will join us in January 2024,
  • or to collaborate with Areti Theofilopoulou, the Assistant Professor in the Ethics of Non-Violence.
  • Next to this, we are currently establishing the Paul Dundas collection, having received the donation of Paul’s world-leading collection of books in Jain Studies after his untimely passing in April 2023.
  • We also develop continued collaborations on interfaith dialogue and on cataloguing with the Institute of Jainology in London,
  • and we just launched the first “Dialogues in European Jain Studies” lecture series in collaboration with Ghent University and with the Arihant Institute. Click here to see the full program and register to the 2023-24 events.

I am currently preparing a research monograph entitled Language and transformative knowledge. The holistic view of the Jain Prabhācandra. This monograph presents novel ideas about Jain epistemology, showing how Jain systematic theory of knowledge was developed in an apologetic context at a time of inter-doctrinal debates. I especially investigate the theory according to which human beings know the complex reality by means of seven main perspectives, which is a trading mark of Jainism, and I show that this theory was shaped by early post-canonical treatises on hermeneutics, grammar and karmic bondage calculus.

I have co-founded the “Jaina Philosophy Research Group”, which for the first time gathers researchers from Europe, India, and the States to set the objectives of the discipline, to organise reading groups and conferences, and to undertake collective publication projects. In 2023, the activities of our group included a one-week workshop on Samantabhadra’s Āptamīmāṃsā and Akalaṅka’s Aṣṭaśatī – 9 to 16; and a symposium “Knowing Through Perspectives in Jain Philosophy: Historical Approaches” to workshop our forthcoming edited volume Anekāntavāda: Sources and Varieties (Special Issue of the Journal of Indian Philosophy), that will constitute a landmark in the field of Jain studies.

Last but not least, I contribute to a series of pioneering projects in the field of global philosophy of religion. First as a member of the “Birmingham Centre for Philosophy of Religion”, whose research projects include the recent JTF funded project “Global Philosophy of Religion” led by Yujin Nagasawa. I am also as the first co-chair of the “Global Critical Philosophy of Religion” Unit at the American Academy of Religion. This unit notably showcases the activities of a homonymous international research group, which has been funded by NEH, the Wabash Center and JTF.


Recent publications


Gorisse, M-H 2022, 'Evaluating the reliability of an authoritative discourse in a Jain epistemological eulogy of the 6th c.', Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol. 50, pp. 865-887. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10781-022-09524-2


Gorisse, M-H 2022, What do the Shameless Ones Nonsensically Profess? Genealogy of a Buddhist-Jain Philosophical Dialogue. in CV Jones (ed.), Buddhism and Its Religious Others: Historical Encounters and Representations. Proceedings of the British Academy, British Academy, Oxford, pp. 111-132. https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197266991.001.0001

Other contribution

Gorisse, M-H 2023, Jaina Philosophy. Stanford University. <https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/jaina-philosophy/>

View all publications in research portal