The Chinese Theologians
This course examines select readings from Chinese church and academic theologians (including Hong Kong writers and diaspora voices) to explore the nature of Chinese Christian thought. The readings cover late imperial Roman Catholic writers, early republican Protestant thinkers, high communist-era church theologians, and contemporary Sino-Christian academic theologians. Students read primary materials in English, supplemented by background studies and lecture material to help make sense of the theological constructions that emerge. The course encourages reflection on the challenges for Christian mission in a communist context, on the tensions between church and state in the production of theologies, and on the challenges that Chinese Christianity poses for global Christian thought.
Chinese and Japanese Christian Literature
What effect did Christianity have on modern Chinese literature, if any, and what sort of Christianity emerges from Chinese Christian literature? Is Endo Shusaku the only Japanese Christian writer (and does Martin Scorsese’s film do justice to his novel Silence)? This course traces the development of a Christian literature in China and Japan from late Imperial times to the end of the twentieth century, with particular focus on the heyday (in China) of the 1920s and ’30s, and on the Japanese side, on Endo’s postwar novels. Using texts available in English, the class examines how Christian ideas and metaphors permeated the literary—and revolutionary—imagination in East Asia. The influence of Christianity on literature came directly through the Bible and church education, and indirectly through translated European and Western literature, but it is rarely clearly in evidence. The course tests the aesthetic visions and construction of the human being in the early Republic, among Japanese samurai in Mexico, and in the martyrs of Nagasaki.