Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine: Evolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan (Paperback)G. Clinton Godart (author)
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Evolutionary theory was controversial and never passively accepted in Japan: It took a hundred years of appropriating, translating, thinking, and debating to reconsider the natural world and the relation between nature, science, and the sacred in light of evolutionary theory. Since its introduction in the nineteenth century, Japanese intellectuals-including Buddhist, Shinto, Confucian, and Christian thinkers-in their own ways and often with opposing agendas, struggled to formulate a meaningful worldview after Darwin. In the decades that followed, as the Japanese redefined their relation to nature and built a modern nation-state, the debates on evolutionary theory intensified and state ideologues grew increasingly hostile toward its principles. Throughout the religious reception of evolution was dominated by a long-held fear of the idea of nature and society as cold and materialist, governed by the mindless "struggle for survival." This aversion endeavored many religious thinkers, philosophers, and biologists to find goodness and the divine within nature and evolution. It was this drive, argues Godart, that shaped much of Japan's modern intellectual history and changed Japanese understandings of nature, society, and the sacred.
Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine will contribute significantly to two of the most debated topics in the history of evolutionary theory: religion and the political legacy of evolution. It will, therefore, appeal to the broad audience interested in Darwin studies as well as students and scholars of Japanese intellectual history, religion, and philosophy.
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Number of pages: 336
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
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