TH445 An Assessment: Asian Theology         Fall, 2002     Instructor: Anri Morimoto, Ph.D.




Course Description:


A critical assessment of Asian theology.  Readings will include such figures as C. S. Song, Korean Minjung theologians, Kosuke Koyama and Kazoh Kitamori.  After surveying the history and spectrum of Northeast Asian theologies, the course will examine the implications of the discourse of "contexualizing" or "localizing" theology.



Purpose of the Course:


1. Familiarize ourselves to the wealth and depth of a variety of Asian theologies

2. See how they raise a number of questions critical and essential to theology

3. Locate and reflect upon our own context, from where to begin constructing theology



Course Requirements:


1. Read carefully the text assigned each week.  Come to the class prepared with relevant questions for informed discussion.  In most cases I will be able to tell you beforehand which part or parts of the assigned text should be read with particular attention.  I may also add an article or a book chapter to read from the pool of reference books listed below.


2. On Friday every week, a student will make a 25 minute presentation on his or her findings, questions and comments on the theologian at issue, to be followed by discussion.  Your presentation is considered successful if it raises interest among your fellow students and engages them in discussion.  Prepare a one- to two-page handout for your presentation and deliver it to my office at Carriage House, Mercer Street, by Thursday 4:00 p.m.


3. Write a final paper on a selected topic dealt with in the class.  You may develop your class presentation, taking into consideration my lecture content and the ensuing discussion, or you may take up a different topic that has come to command your attention during the class.  The paper should be 10-15 pages in length, double-spaced, in an academically acceptable format.  You should demonstrate your ability to write creatively, clearly, concisely and cogently.  It should not be a summary of the books you read or a litany of quotations.  I will announce the due date towards the end of the course.





Class participation and contribution, 30%; Presentation, 30%; Term paper, 40%


Class Schedule (Tentative--will be revised according to class composition):



9/18           Introduction



9/23            Lecture: "Asian theologians--who are they?"

9/25                         "Where do you stand?"

9/27                         "If God is not parochial, why should not theology be universal?"


9/30            C. S. Song, Jesus, the Crucified People (Fortress Press, 1990)

10/2           Read: Chaps. 1, 2, 3, 4, 10



10/7           David Kwan-sun Suh, The Korean Minjung in Christ (CCA, 1991; Reprint, 2001)

10/9           Read: Chaps. 1, 2, 3, 4



10/14       Andrew Sung Park, The Wounded Heart of God (Abingdon Press, 1993)

10/16       Read: Chaps. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7



10/21      Jung Young Lee, The Trinity in Asian Perspective (Abingdon Press, 1996)

10/23      Read: Chaps. 1, 2, 3, 9



10/28      (Reading Week)




11/4       *Kosuke Koyama, Mount Fuji and Mount Sinai (Orbis Books, 1984)

11/6        Read: Chaps. 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 17, 18, 20



11/11      *Kitamori Kazoh, Theology of the Pain of God (John Knox, 1965; SCM Press, 1966)

11/13       Read: Chaps. 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 11



11/18       Mark Mullins, Christianity Made in Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 1998)

11/20       Read: Chaps. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9



11/25       (AAR Toronto)

11/27       (Thanksgiving Recess)



12/2            Robert Schreiter, Constructing Local Theologies (Orbis Books, 1985)

12/4           Read: Chaps. 1, 4, 5, 7



12/9         Stephen Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology (Orbis Books, 1992)

12/11      Read: Chaps. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8



12/16      Concluding Sessions






Bibliography (*out of print)



Besides the primary texts listed above in the class schedule, the following books may be referred to frequently during the class.  I have ordered all the textbooks and some reference books that are purchasable at TBA.  You may also want to make a photocopy from the books on the reserved shelf at Speer Library.  But let us not rely too much on secondary sources.  Some of them are very good, while some others, though listed here, are not really helpful.  Our task in this class, as in any other serious academic enterprise, is to have an "immediate experience" (Nishida) of the primary sources that shape today's theological milieu in Asia.



a. Supplemental Texts:


Kosuke Koyama, Water Buffalo Theology (Orbis Books, 1974; Revised and Expanded, 1999)

Nishida Kitaro, Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview (Universy of Hawaii Press, 1987)

C. S. Song, Jesus and the Reign of God (Fortress Press, 1993)

C. S. Song, The Believing Heart: An Invitation to Story Theology (Fortress Press, 1999)

Andrew Sung Park, "A Theology of the Way (Tao)," in: Interpretation (October, 2001)


b. On Minjung Theology:


*Kim Yong Bok, ed., Minjung Theology: People as the Subject of History (CCA, 1981)

*Jung Young Lee, ed., An Emerging Theology in World Perspective: Commentary on Korean Minjung Theology (Twenty-Third Publications, 1988)

*Kim Yong Bok, Messiah and Minjung: Christ's Solidarity with the People for New Life (CCA-URM, 1992)

*San-Bok Lee, A Comparative Study Between Minjung Theology and Reformed Theology from a Missiological Perspective (Peter Lang, 1996)


c. On the History of Japanese Church and Theology:


*Carl Michalson, Japanese Contributions to Christian Theology (Westminster Press, 1960)

*Charles Germany, Protestant Thoelogies in Modern Japan (1965)

*James Philips, From the Rising of the Sun: Christians and Society in Contemporary Japan (Orbis Books, 1981)

Yasuo Furuya, ed., A History of Japanese Theology (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997)


d. On Theologies of Asia in General:


*Daniel J. Adams, Cross-Cultural Theology: Western Reflections in Asia (John Knox Press, 1987)

*Donald Leroy Stults, Developing an Asian Evangelical Theology (OMF Literature Inc.; Manila, 1989)

*R. S. Sugirtharajah, ed., Frontiers in Asian Christian Theology: Emerging Trends (Orbis Books, 1994)


e. On Contextualing Theology:


*Bruce J. Nicholls, Contexualization: A Theology of Gospel and Culture (InterVarsity Press, 1979)

*Morris A. Inch, Doing Theology Across Cultures (Baker Book House, 1982)

*Morris A. Inch, Making the Good News Relevant: Keeping the Gospel Distinctive in any Culture (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986)

*David J. Hesselgrave and Edward Rommen, Contexualization: Meanings, Methods, and Models (Baker Book House, 1989; William Carey Library, 2000)


f. On Interreligious Dialogue:


Leonard Swidler, ed., Toward a Universal Theology of Religion (Orbis Books, 1987)

John Hick and Paul F. Knitter, eds., The Myth of Christian Uniqueness (Orbis Books, 1987)

Gavin D'Costa, ed., Christian Uniqueness Reconsidered: The Myth of a Pluralistic Theology of Religions (Orbis Books, 1990)