内村鑑三における預言者研究の特色とその思想史的意義──ロバート・Ｎ・ベラーの議論をてがかりに──内村鑑三における預言者研究の特色とその思想史的意義──ロバート・Ｎ・ベラーの議論をてがかりに── Characteristics and Historical Significance of Uchimura Kanzo’s Study of the Hebrew Prophets:With Aid from Robert N. Bellah
Characteristics and Historical Significance of Uchimura Kanzo’s Studyof the Hebrew Prophets: With Aid from Robert N. BellahThe purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims to clarify thecharacteristics of the study of the Hebrew Prophets by Uchimura Kanzo,who is called “a prophet in the modern era” both in Japan and abroad.Second, this paper also attempts to show the significance of his study onthe Prophets in the history of Japanese thought in the light of Robert N.Bellah’s concept “prophetic individualism”.In Section 1, I examine this concept of Bellah. About half a century agohe introduced this concept in his discussion on “political loyalty” and “theresistance to power” in the history of Japan’s modernization. Moreattention needs to be paid to the implications of the fact that, at the end ofthis discussion, Bellah gives special regard to Uchimura and his role inJapan’s history of “prophetic individualism”. In Section 2, I turn mydiscussion to Uchimura’s study of the Prophets. Its aim is to show that hispresentation of each Prophet’s personality and actions is quite multifacetedin approach and rich in content. Section 3 presents three notableimages of the Prophets, which are found in Uchimura’s study. Thoseimages are: Prophets as revolutionaries or progressivists; Prophets as “thefriend of humankind” in the sense that they severely criticized people fortheir unmoral behavior; and, Prophets as the instrument of God as a resultof being called by Him against their own will.In the following two sections I examine Uchimura’s political and socialthought by focusing upon (1) his critique of patriotism and (2) his pacifistthought; both of which are closely linked to his study of the Prophets.Section 4 considers Uchimura’s critique of his contemporaries’ idea ofpatriotism and his own alternative to it. My aim is to explain the reasonswhy he regarded the patriotism of the Prophets as the best alternative forleading each nation to a morally right direction. In Section 5, I give theexamples of how Uchimura’s interpretation of the images of the Prophetsin the Old Testament is related to his analysis of peace issues. Theseexamples prove, I argue, that in his pacifist thought the images of hisProphets constitute not only the models for him to be followed in order toshow an absolute faith in God, but also the starting points to discover whathuman beings must do as their duty in this real world.In Section 6, the relation of Uchimura’s study of the Prophets with hissocial realism is examined on the basis of my discussion above. Referringto Bellah’s concept of “prophetic individualism” again, I demonstrate thatUchimura was well aware of the limits of human nature but, at the sametime, founded his hope on the historical potentials which he detected in“the courage to stand utterly alone” from the Prophets in his study. Thisrecognition played a key role, I argue, in Uchimura’s realistic judgment ofsocial situations in his contemporary period. The virtues shown by theProphets as well as their courage to fulfill their own duties led Uchimurato follow the footsteps of those predecessors in his own public life. This isone of the most significant legacies that he left in Japan’s history of ethics.