Religion and Literature: Convergences and Divergences
(German version here)
Wednedsday 6 -8 pm (first session: April 16th)
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Rost- und Silberlaube K25/11
The relationship between religion and literature is determined by the convergences and divergences of the texts they produce, irrespective of whether these texts are thought of as aesthetic or religious. While liturgical texts often show a particular aesthetic dimension, texts with an aesthetic orientation can be deeply religious. Closer examination reveals connotations and perversions as well as complex inter-textual relationships that are worth being investigated from both historiographical and literary perspectives.
This interdisciplinary lecture series aims at uncovering inter-textual relationships by bringing together representatives of different disciplines who will examine various types of texts mainly from the Modern Age. Read more…
From the Son of the Carpenter to the Son of God:
Nikos Kazantzakis’ „The Last Temptation“
“The Last Temptation” from 1951 is among the best-known novels by the famous Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957). His controversial transfiguration of Jesus Christ’s life according to Gospels has been subject to both praise and condemnation. The Vatican’s ban of the book in 1956 and Martin Scorsese’s equally controversial film adaptation in 1988 made the work irrevocably famous all over the world. Having furthermore been an inspiration for other fictional re-tellings of Jesus’ story (such as Uwe Saeger’s “Die Gehäutete Zeit”) ever since, Kazantzakis’ novel is of great significance for our seminar on religion and literature.
Kazantzakis draws Jesus Christ as tormented by doubts and fear, feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty, and being stricken by temptations. We get to know him as the Son of the Carpenter, a social misfit disappointing his mother Mary’s hopes for him to become a respected paterfamilias. Read more…
Judas in Literature: Borges and Saeger
We spent two sessions of Professor Renger and Professor Brittnacher’s seminar discussing the biblical figure Judas – the accomplished villain par excellence, he who betrays and deceives. What else exactly do we know about this person called Judas Iscariot? Definitely not much, which makes him a perfect protagonist and projection surface for many different literary works. In this literary context, the question of his personal motives has moved into focus and he appears to loose his devilish character little by little.
In 1944 Jorge Luis Borges published a story in his anthology Ficciones called Tres versiones de Judas. Within a few pages, Borges raises the question of the relativity of religious assertions. Read more…
After two papers on religion and fairy tale last week, we had a fantastic session on The Grimm Brothers’ Children’s and Household Tales (Grimms’ Fairy Tales) this afternoon. Many thanks to our two speakers who prepared the session!
Almut Renger & The Seminar Team
The Grimm Brothers’ Children’s and Household Tales (aka Grimms’ Fairy Tales) are still famous all over the world. From 1806 on, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm started collecting fairy tales from pre-existing literature as well as from their circle of friends and acquaintances. The ‘fairy tale’ that the brothers travelled all throughout the countryside in order to collect these tales is not true though. Rather, they let people send different stories to them and they then subsequently worked over the given material. The first volume of the first edition was published in 1812 (86 stories); the second volume (70 stories) followed in 1815. The Siebte Auflage letzter Hand appeared in 1857.
In two sessions of our seminar with Professor Renger and Professor Brittnacher we tried to discover the religious aspects in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, particularly in tale number 3 Mary’s child (German Marienkind). This tale is full of Christian elements: Read more…