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Book Cover for: Ideology and Christian Freedom: A theo-political reading of Shusaku Endo's Silence, Matthew A. Stanley

Ideology and Christian Freedom: A theo-political reading of Shusaku Endo's Silence

Matthew A. Stanley

Christianity arrived on the Japanese island of Kyushu in 1549. The century that followed would prove to be a turning point in the history of the Japanese people -- Oda Nobunaga and his successors would finally unite the warring clans of Japan under a single military government which would last until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. What ideological labor and social violence was necessary to bring about such an enduring peace and lasting political change? What can we learn from this complex history so that we can live as free people in our contemporary moment?

Shusaku Endo sets his novel Silence in precisely that moment near the end of this pivotal century, at a time when Christianity has been scapegoated by the regime and ruthlessly persecuted. This book explores the key historical, ideological, and religious conflicts which run through Endo's challenging novel. The reader will learn about the surprisingly diverse origin of the Japanese people, the changes that Japanese society underwent under the Tokugawa regime, the violent peasant revolt called the Shimabara Rebellion, the history of Japanese Buddhism and its complicity with the state, and much more.

However, this book also carries a burden to explore these problems in light of the immense freedom which stands at the heart of the message of Jesus Christ. How can be move from ideological selves to free subjects, able to intervene in our circumstances by aligning ourselves with the contradictions which the self and ideology would cover over? As God became the lowest in Jesus Christ, such that no one could be lower than Him, how does this shape our understanding of the characters and decisions in Endo's novel, and even more importantly, how we should live today?

Ultimately, this text operates on three primary levels -- (1) a historical and theoretical supplement to Shusaku Endo's novel Silence, (2) a philosophical investigation into universality, subjectivity, and freedom, and (3) an intervention in theological discourses about both leftist liberation and Christian Nationalism.

Concepts which come under critique and analysis in this text include Japanese Buddhism, Western Buddhism, nationalism, self/ego, liberation theology, Christian Nationalism, signs, meaning, materiality, ideology, cynicism, modernity, dialectics, freedom, subjectivity, universality, compassion, particularity, capitalism, and bio-politics.

1. The Missing Prologue
2. The birth of Tokugawa Nationalism
3. The politics of Japanese Buddhism
4. Compassion, the inquisitor's weapon
5. A Theology of Freedom
6. Rodriguez chooses Western Buddhism

Book Details

  • Publisher: Samsara Diagnostics
  • Publish Date: Feb 6th, 2024
  • Pages: 284
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.60in - 0.84lb
  • EAN: 9798989046720
  • Categories: Asia - Japan
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