Chinese and Japanese Christian Literature

Spring 2017
T 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Area V
MDIV Requirements: 
Non-Christian Religion
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

What effect did Christianity have on modern Chinese literature, 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 his novel Silence justice)? 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 post-war novels. Using texts available in English, we examine 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 is rarely clearly in evidence. We explore the aesthetic visions and construction of the human being in the early Republic, among Japanese samurai in Mexico and in the martyrs of Nagasaki.  

Background Expected: 

No background requirements. The course is designed to be accessible to students with no knowledge of East Asian languages.

Course Requirements: 

Students are expected to have read in detail the set materials for each week’s class (which range from poems or a short story to 6 chapters of a novel) and be prepared to engage in discussion. Students are expected to notify the professor in advance of class if ill or unable to attend and may be required to submit reading notes in lieu.

Basis of Evaluation: 

One seminar presentation/ leading of discussion (20%)

Written evaluation: two essays (c. 2500 words) developing analyses of different themes in the novellas and novels under study or of the context of their writing; essay titles to be agreed with instructor in advance (40% each). It is anticipated that one essay address Chinese literature and one Japanese.