In contemporary society, people are increasingly less likely to reject spirits on the grounds that they are not scientifically verifiable. Rather, they accept the reality of spirits if narratives about them heal the narrators. This article describes this phenomenon as the rise of a “narrative reality” of spirits. In order to understand this new attitude, I refer to psychological theories about the deceased, such as S. Freud’s theory on object loss and “mourning work,” D. Klass et al.’s notions of continuing bonds, C. G. Jung’s theories of complex and archetype, and V. Frankl’s ideas about the spiritual person. I then consider two examples of spiritualist practices called “demonstration” based on my fieldwork research in the U.K. and in Japan. I argue that stories of spirits sound realistic when they fit into a preset narrative pattern of the dead watching over the living. Stories of the deceased watching over us aid us in accepting death, of others and ourselves. At the same time, they imply that another Japanese narrative pattern in which the dead punish the living has receded into the background while an expectation that the benevolent dead watch over us has become dominant. Perceivable behind this shift is the fact that the range of sympathy toward the dead is narrowing to only include the deceased who are beloved by family, friends, or acquaintances. Inclusion of the lonely who die with no one to love them will be one of our society’s main tasks to tackle.
The relation of the dead and the living is examined against the background that the contemporary Christian faith is not a process of mastering the ready-made doctrines, but a personal experience of looking for the true life of Christ. Here, the most important emphasis is put on the mourning work by the living person with repentance for the absent deceased loved one. The idea of Holy Saturday in the Paschal Mystery provides us an instructive point of view. The Easter Triduum can be radically found in the whole of time and sanctifies and moves our chronological time forward. Particularly on the second day, Holy Saturday, when the Lord descended to the dead according to the Apostles’ Creed, the Church essentially refrains from any kind of the ecclesiastical liturgy. Then the illumination of revelation on the living people decreases, as the Lord is absent, and their sinful visage becomes apparent in contrast. The self-inquiry on that day illuminates that the living people are responsible for the death of the deceased in the historical-social stage and it forms a necessary part of the mourning work here. Once the living fulfill the responsibility of being conscious of their sins, they can acceptably expect the resurrection of the dead. But the burden of such self-inspection is likely to be so heavy that in order to accomplish it we, as living ones, need to take as our model someone such as Oshida Shigeto, who was thoroughly honest to the radical evil in him.
Empirically, we say of the “Dignity of the dead”, which corresponds to the dignity of human being. On the other hand, theoretically, we don’t understand why and to what degree the dead should have the dignity. This article intends to found this reason and construct the foundation for the general ethics of the dead. The strategy in this article would be called “ethics of the dead from below”, which contrasts with “one from above” that emphasizes the Otherness of the dead and distance between the dead and us.
There are two difficulties in admitting the dignity of the dead; the dead is the non-being who cannot suffer; we cannot affect and recover the way of being of the dead. But, recent philosophical investigations on the harm of death are solving the first difficulty by thinking that the dead can have ontological status in the symbolic or discursive levels. The second difficulty is solving by Ichinose’s thought how we would be harrowed by causal absence of the dead.
These philosophical efforts would contribute to the universal and formal foundation for the ethics of the dead.
In this paper I would like to pursue two questions regarding the Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis. The first is why Perpetua, a noble and educated young woman in Carthago, in 203 CE chose martyrdom, being fully aware of her death. The second question concerns the relation between the historical figure of Perpetua and the Passio as a literary product. It is often said that recounts of martyrdom intend to instrumentalize saintly people for the church. In this paper an alternative view with regard to the role of such books is considered.
For Perpetua to be a Christian meant freedom (libertas) from Roman society and its gods (Passio, 18, 5). In the Roman Empire and cities many places were filled with statues of gods assigned to those places. Perpetua wanted to be free from these traditional places of symbolic “divine” presence.
To her father she said (3, 1f) that, just as a vase could not be called by another name than ‘vase’, she could not be called by another name than ‘Christian’ (Christiana). To be called a Christian indicated her true identity and essence as a person which could not be given up without loosing herself. This is why she could not accept her father’s attempt at persuasion although she had been moved many times by his words.
Recounts of martyrdom are commemorated in Christian churches for the purpose of community building and spiritual advancement. The saints of such recounts often become models for the believers, but sometimes seem to be mere products of the church. As to the Passio, the author indicates in 1, 6 the reason for writing his account, namely to enable believers to communicate with Perpetua. Perhaps the Passio was recited in the liturgy of her Memorial Day on May 7th. When it was read, believers could communicate with her through the Holy Spirit, because the church was to be the church of the dead and the living. I propose this to be the purpose of the Passio.
In his Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth, William James accounted for and developed his own theory of truth. For James, truth is the agreement of an idea with reality and this agreement has to be verified in our actual experience. From this point of view, reality means sensible experience. These notions about truth, reality and experience are not so difficult to understand as long as we deal with ordinary or scientific matters.
However, are these concepts true of religious matters? Religious phenomena transcend our sensible experience, so people tend to think there is an essential difference between two kinds of experiences. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, James tries to reveal the nature of religious experience. James doesn’t think that these two experiences are completely different. He qualifies religious experience and reality as ‘quasi-sensible’, and this attitude isn’t incompatible with that of Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth in which experience is considered to be sensible.
The purpose of this paper is, by reading carefully The Varieties, to elucidate what the religious experience and reality are, focusing on what is meant by the adjective ‘quasi-sensible.’ For James, in religious experience, people are affected through their sensible experience by religious reality called ‘subliminal’ or ‘the more’, and so an individual consciousness turns out to be surrounded by the vast superhuman consciousness.
This paper presents considerations on the significance of myth, evil, and imagination in the religious thought of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, as seen in his biblical hermeneutics. According to Claire E. Sufrin, a scholar of modern Jewish thought and theology, Buber chose the term “saga,” not “myth,” in his hermeneutics. This paper, however, clarifies that myth—not only the term but also its meaning—played an important role in Buber’s hermeneutics. In looking at Genesis, Buber took up the stories of the Tree of Knowledge and the Flood and argued that these describe in mythical form the essence of the problem of evil. This paper explains that Buber’s biblical hermeneutics was mythological to a great extent, which indicates that, contrary to Sufrin’s claim, Buber placed tremendous importance on myth. Further, according to Buber, evil was the product of human imagination, and in that sense, it had its origin not in God but in humankind. For Buber, the Bible as a myth described “the human constitution and movement of evil.” This paper clarifies that in Buber’s biblical hermeneutics, myths—especially those concerning the problem of evil—have great significance.
Tanabe Hajime (1885-1962) started developing his philosophy of religion, which he dubbed “philosophy as metanoetics,” from late 1944 by critically reexamining his earlier idea of the “logic of species” (1934-41). Therefore, his “philosophy as metanoetics” inherited the basic scheme of the “logic of species.” Tanabe deemed the concept of “species,” which was central to his philosophy, an essential element of salvation.
This paper aims to reveal the connection between “logic of species” and “philosophy as metanoetics” by clarifying the structure of salvation in Tanabe’s social ontology. For this purpose, this paper focuses on how one becomes a “true individual” and what the latter is.
In “logic of species,” one becomes a “true individual” through the inner disruption of species to which it belongs. In “philosophy as metanoetics,” when one faces the antinomy of duties in species, “nothingness-qua-love” converts from one to “true individual.” This paper connects the moment of becoming “true individual” of “logic of species” with that of “philosophy as metanoetics” by showing that the antinomy of duties in species is caused by the inner disruption of species.
Moreover, this paper elucidates the nature of a “true individual.” Its nature is characterized by matter and form of the species to which it belongs and by “nothing-qua-love.”