A Life of Jesus

A Life of Jesus

A Life of Jesus

A Life of Jesus

Excerpt

My book called A Life of Jesus may cause surprise for American readers when they discover an interpretation of Jesus somewhat at odds with the image they now possess.

Jesus as I depict him is a person who lived for love and still more love; and yet he was put to death, for he chose to live without violent resistance. My way of depicting Jesus is rooted in my being a Japanese novelist. I wrote this book for the benefit of Japanese readers who have no Christian tradition of their own and who know almost nothing about Jesus. What is more, I was determined to highlight the particular aspect of love in his personality precisely in order to make Jesus understandable in terms of the religious psychology of my non-Christian countrymen and thus to demonstrate that Jesus is not alien to their religious sensibilities.

The religious mentality of the Japanese is — just as it was at the time when the people accepted Buddhism — responsive to one who "suffers with us" and who "allows for our weakness," but their mentality has little tolerance for any kind of transcendent being who judges humans harshly, then punishes them. In brief, the Japanese tend to seek in their gods and buddhas a warm-hearted mother rather than a stem father. With this fact always in mind I tried not so much to depict God in the father-image that tends to characterize Christianity, but rather to depict the kind-hearted maternal aspect of God revealed to us in the personality of Jesus.

If my American readers will keep this point of view in mind as they move through A Life of Jesus, they will (I believe) gain deeper insight into just where the religious psychology of the Japanese and other Orientals coincides with their own, and they will better appreciate those points at which the two psychologies perhaps diverge.

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