Literature and Religion: A Dialogue Between China and the West

By David Jasper and Ou Guang-an

A fruitful exchange of inter-cultural readings of literary and religious texts.

ISBN: 9780718896195


How does one culture ‘read’ another? In Literature and Religion, two scholars, one from China and one from the West, each read texts from the other’s culture as a means of dialogue. A key issue in such an enterprise is the nature of religion and what we understand by that term in a world in which ancient religious customs seem to be dying or under threat. Does a comparative study of religious literature offer a way towards mutual understanding – or merely illustrate our differences? Underpinned by their own friendship, these two partners in conversation show what is possible.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 188

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

David Jasper is Emeritus Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and was for many years a Chang Jiang Chair Professor at Renmin University of China, Beijing.

Ou Guang-an is Professor of English Literature and Comparative Literature at the College of Foreign Languages, Shihezi University, China.


Introduction (David Jasper and Ou Guang-an)

From East to West
1. Literary Similarities and Cultural Differences: A Comparative Study of Zhuangzi and the Book of Job (Ou Guang-an)
2. The Book of Job and Zhuangzi: A Response (David Jasper)
3. A Textual and Cross-Cultural Investigation of “Fate” in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Ou Guang-an)
4. Thomas Hardy and the Conflict of Cultures: A Response (David Jasper)
5. Religious Perspectives in Yeats’s Poetry (Ou Guang-an)
6. Response to Yeats: Sinking in on Truth (David Jasper)

From West to East
7. Issues in Sino-Christian Theology (David Jasper)
8. Response to Issues in Sino-Christian Theology (Ou Guang-an)
9. Towards a Reading of Lu Xun (David Jasper)
10. Response to the Reading of Lu Xun (Ou Guang-an)
11. Seeking Christian Theology in Modern Chinese Fiction: An Exercise for Sino-Christian Theology (David Jasper)
12. Response to Seeking Christian Theology in Modern Chinese Fiction (Ou Guang-an)

Concluding Conversations
13. Concluding Reflections (David Jasper)
14. Final Remarks (Ou Guang-an)
15. Suggested Further Reading



Endorsements and Reviews

This remarkably adventurous book has become possible because two longstanding friends learned to trust one another. Its readers will find themselves indebted to both the authors for their courtesy to one another and the expectations of care and insight they generate in those willing to embark on comparable studies!
Ann Loades, Professor Emerita of Divinity, University of Durham, and Honorary Professor in the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews

To read this fascinating book is to overhear a gracious, informed, and honest conversation between friends whose life experiences could scarcely be more different. But in that difference, and in the quality of that friendship and the willingness to seek out new understandings, there is profound revelation which we are privileged to share. Through the translation of literature in its widest sense, the cultures and religions of China and ‘the West’ are mutually illuminated.
Alison Jack, Senior Lecturer in Bible and Literature, Assistant Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh

David Jasper’s fascinating dialogue with Ou Guang-an vividly materializes the dialogic space between literature and religion, East and West. It would be difficult to find one who has contributed more to stimulate the interdisciplinary studies of theology and literature.
Yang Huilin, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, Renmin University of China

Spiritual values connect religion and literature as manifestations of what is at the core of our humanity, even though the forms of manifestation and the emphases in different cultures may differ from one to the other. Through a series of dialogues and exchanges, David Jasper and Ou Guang-an explore those spiritual values in this fascinating book, Literature and Religion, and offer us much to learn, contemplate, and celebrate.
Zhang Longxi, author of Allegoresis: Reading Canonical Literature East and West

The interdisciplinary encounter between literature and religion is given new form and vitality in this lively dialogue between two scholars from very different cultural contexts. Their conversation draws the reader in enabling them to explore unfamiliar territory and also rediscover a compelling strangeness within familiar literary texts. There are many treasures to be found here.
Heather Walton, Professor of Theology and Creative Practice, University of Glasgow

If there is ever a time for a new way of intercultural dialogue, it is now, as the world shrinks and divides in equal measures. Jasper and Ou model for us just such a way. The conversations here, going well beyond comparative studies, are the very ‘enactment of reciprocity,’ conducted in the spirit of unconditional hospitality, and yielding insights germane to not only China and the West, but all sides questioning our shared religious concerns.
Andrew Hass, Reader in Religion, University of Stirling