Martyrdom as Social Protest:
who are in such suffering now, what will you do when you are thrown
to the beasts, which you despised when you refused to sacrifice [to
Roman gods]?" And Felicitas replied, "Now it is I that suffer
what I suffer; but then there will be another in me, who will suffer
for me, because I also am about to suffer for Him."
From The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity
"Is it true that self-sacrifice is the only thing that gives
meaning to death? To this question the warrior is obliged to reply
`yes,' while knowing full well that his suicide mission has no meaning."
1. Active preparation of the sources, and active participation in class discussion. The quality as well as the quantity of your remarks matter. (!) Come to class with at least four points and/or questions you wish to make to the class about the reading material. This is a significant percentage of your grade.
2. Two oral reports (about 8-10 minutes long). One report will be a chapter from The Nobility of Failure (in most cases). Ideally, the second should relate to your seminar topic. For your class presentation, write a critique of your article (about 3 pages, single spaced). Get your copies made in the History Department before class to distribute to us. Recommended: practice with a roommate to make certain your points are clear; and time yourself!
3. One final paper centering on a primary document, or documents. This paper is to be a synthetic work in which you apply what you have learned in the course in interpreting your primary document(s). This is not meant to be a research paper. Your paper should be about ten pages in length. ROUGH DRAFTS MUST BE TURNED IN BY Friday, November 22nd. THE FINAL DRAFT IS DUE THE LAST DAY OF FINALS, Friday, December 20 at 12:00 p.m.
Shusaku Endo, Silence (Taplinger).
For purchase through History Department:
You will also need a Bible with an Old and New Testament. There should be several copies in the library. Use one with an accurate translation.
Schedule of Class Meetings
2. Monday, 16 September: Western Codes of Honor; Altruistic Death
Reading: Homer, The Iliad. At minimum, read chapters 1, 6, 9, 16-24. If possible, read the whole book. Follow the outline of events provided, and pay special attention to the topical notes provided.
Chapter I of The Nobility of Failure: Prince Yamato Takeru , 4th c. legend.
Julian Pitt-Rivers, The Fate of Shechem or The Politics of Sex: Essays in the Anthropology of the Mediterranean (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), ch. 1: "The Anthropology of Honour," 1-17.
Report: Jan Bremmer, "Scapegoat Rituals in Ancient Greece," .
Chapter II of The Nobility of Failure: Yorozu, the Emperor's Shield, 587 CE.
Euripides, Iphegenia at Aulis
Report: R. G. Frey, "Did Socrates Commit Suicide?" Philosophy
53 (1979):106-8; Gregory Vlastos, "Socrates on Political Obedience
and Disobedience," Yale Review 63 (1974):517-534.
Chapter III of The Nobility of Failure: Price Arima: The Poet,
5. Monday, 7 October: The Politics of Desperation
Reading: Plato, The Apology and Crito
Movie: Iphegenia by Michael Cacoyannis.
7. Monday, 21 October: Roman Honor and Proto-martyrs
Report: Miriam Griffin, "Philosophy, Cato and Roman Suicide," Greece and Rome 33 (1986):64-77; 192-202. [Or Henry Wheatland Litchfield, "National Exempla Virtutis in Roman Literature," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 25 (1914):1-74.]
Chapter IV of The Nobility of Failure: Sugawara No Michizane, thedeified scholar-poet of plum blossoms. 901 CE
PBS Video: The True Story of the Roman Arena
Epictetus, The Enchiridion
Reports: Anton J. L. van Hooff, From Autothanasia to Suicide: Self-killing in Classical Antiquity (London and New York: Routledge, 1990), Chapter 3, "Causae Moriendi," 79-130, and 6 "Philosophers and Theologians," 179-188.
Chapter V of The Nobility of Failure: Minamoto No Yoshitsune, "Sympathy for the Lieutenant," 1185 CE.
Genesis 22: The binding of Issac, or his sacrifice?
From Martin S. Bergmann, In the Shadow of Moloch, The sacrifice of children and its impact on Western religions (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992); Prelude and Chapter I: The Psychology of Sacrifice, 1-49. (packet)
Report(s): from Bergmann, In the Shadow of Moloch, Chapter 4: The Significance of the Sacrifice of the Firstborn for the Formation of the Jewish Religion, 91-115; or Chapter 5: "From the Sacrifice of Isaac to the Sacrifice of Christ"; Sidney Hoenig, "The Sicarii in Masada--Glory or Infamy?" Tradition 11 (1970):5-30.
(note change in schedule 11 and 18 have been switched)
10. Monday, 11 November Virgins and Martyrdom; The changing meaning
Ambrose of Milan, On Virginity
Chapter VIII of The Nobility of Failure: Oshio Heiachirao, popular leader betrayed by the populace, 1868 CE.
11. Monday, 18 November: Christian Martyrs
Origen, Exhortation to Martyrdom and The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (packet)
Reports: Edmund Leach, "The Logic of Sacrifice," in
Anthropological Approaches to the Old Testament, ed. Bernhard Lang,
Issues in Religion and Theology 8 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press,
13. Monday, 2 December: Death for the Emperor
Reading: Chapter X of The Nobility of Failure, "The Kamikaze
Report(s): Takeo Doi, The Anatomy of Dependence, 1-64; Yoshida
Mitsuru, Requiem for Battleship Yamato, tr. Richard H. Minear (Seattle:
University of Washington Press, 1985).
14. Monday, 9 December: Presentation of Projects.
Prepare a one-to-two page synopsis of your project. Have it copied
for the class in the History Department. Come prepared to talk about
your projects to the class.