Dr. habil. Katja Triplett
Areas of Interest
- Japanese religion and society
- Religion and medicine
- East Asian Buddhism
- Early Catholic mission in Japan
- Religious visual representations and material culture
Mission as Laboratory: Attempts to Overcome Competing World Interpretations in Japanese Translations of the Early Jesuit Mission
The project aims to explore, on the basis of Japanese translations from the late 16th and early 17th centuries, how Jesuits and Japanese converts dealt with competing world interpretations in an effort to create a new order of knowledge and values for a Catholic Japan that was to be uniform and harmonious. Since the Jesuit missionaries took an exclusivist approach to overcoming competing world interpretations, they had to design a vocabulary that could convey Catholic conceptions of the world, humanity and salvation in contradistinction to Buddhist conceptions and that could ultimately guide action.
Epistemic competition with Japanese Buddhism existed particularly in the area of conceptions of the body, which in Catholicism included not only normative and cognitive conceptions but also bodily practices such as baptism, self-flagellation and death sacraments. Hence, following an aesthetic-of-religion’s approach, the project examines Jesuit attempts to overcome competing interpretations of the world in Japan by focusing on conceptions of the body and the practices associated with them. The project sheds light on these bodily practices because the acceptance of Christianity in large parts of the population of Japan depended on the cultural translation of concrete actions that had to be in accordance with the doctrinal prescriptions in the texts and sermons.
The focus of the project is on the Japanese translation of three Latin language compendia, which were produced in 1593-1595 specifically for the mission to Japan. They comprise the knowledge ratified at the Tridentine Council in its entirety: compendia on philosophy (Aristotle's De Anima), religion (Compendium catholicae veritatis [Compendium on Catholic Truth]) and cosmology (De Sphaera). In Japan, the compendia, chiefly the Catholic tracts, also had the task of teaching bodily practices related to religion. Overall, the translation includes world interpretations from three traditions: ancient Greek, post-Tridentine Catholic and Japanese Buddhist. The project contributes to exploring the content of the Wolfenbüttel manuscript of the translation, which was rediscovered in 2019 and, unlike the previously known, yet incomplete manuscript (Magdalen College, University of Oxford), contains all three parts.
Turning away from a Eurocentric perspective, the project investigates the global interconnections and contexts in the experimental linguistic and cultural translation of Catholic conceptions of the body and the confrontations with the competing world interpretations in early modern Japan that were taken into account in the translation and use of the compendia. The project thus makes a new contribution to research on the formation of comparative concepts from a period of lively exchange and encounters in Asia.
Research project “Mission as Laboratory: Attempts to Overcome Competing World Interpretations in Japanese Translations of the Early Jesuit Mission,“ funded by the German Research Foundation
German Research Foundation Priority Programme SPP 2130 “Early Modern Translation Cultures (1450–1800)”: Japan’s Translated Religion: Christianity, Transculturality and Translation Cultures in the 16th-17th Century
Senior Researcher, Institute for the Study of Religions, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
Senior Research Fellow, Project: Religion and Medicine in Translation: Instances from Pre-modern Japan, HCAS Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities
Senior Research Fellow, Project: Buddhism and Medicine in Pre-modern Japan and Beyond, CHSHSS
Sessional Lecturer, Institute for Theology and the Study of Religions, Leibniz University Hannover
Fellow, Center for Modern East Asian Studies (CeMEAS), University of Göttingen (Germany)
Contingent Professor for the Study of Religions (East Asian Religions), Department for East Asian Studies, University of Göttingen (Germany)
Senior Lecturer, Department for the Study of Religions, Marburg University (Germany)
Research Associate, Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions, SOAS, University of London (UK)
Deputy Professor for East Asian Religion and Philosophy, Department for Asian Studies, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Munich (Germany)
Deputy Professor for the Study of Religions, Marburg University (Germany)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions (CSJR), School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (UK)
Research Specialist, Institute for Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Marburg, Marburg (Germany)
PhD (Dr. phil.), Department for the Study of Religions, Marburg University (Germany)
- Triplett, Katja. Buddhism and Medicine in Japan: A Topical Survey (500-1600 CE) of a Complex Relationship. Religion and Society 81. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.
- Triplett, Katja. "Religion, Medicine and the Notion of Charity in Early Jesuit Missionary Pursuits in Buddhist Japan." Journal of Religion in Japan 8/1-3 (2019): 46-75.
- Triplett, Katja. "Buddhist Monastic Physicians’ Encounters with the Jesuits in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Japan, As Told from Both Sides." In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources, edited by C. Pierce Salguero, 3-15. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.
- Triplett, Katja. "On Sickness, Society, and the New Self in Early Edo Japan: Soshin’s Dharma Words (Seventeenth Century)." In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources. Edited by C. Pierce Salguero, 16-21. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.
- Triplett, Katja. "Pediatric Care and Buddhism in Premodern Japan: A Case of Applied ‘Demonology’?" Asian Medicine (Special Issue "Religion and Medicine" edited by Katrin Killinger, Christoph Kleine and Katja Triplett) 14/2 (2019): 313–341.
- Triplett, Katja, with Katrin Killinger and Christoph Kleine. "Distinctions and Differentiations between Medicine and Religion." Asian Medicine (Special Issue "Religion and Medicine" edited by Katrin Killinger, Christoph Kleine and Katja Triplett) 14/2 (2019): 233–262.
- Triplett, Katja. "The Japanese Jesuit Contemptus Mundi (1596) of the Bibliotheca Augusta: A Brief Remark on a New Discovery." Journal of Jesuit Studies 5.1 (2018): 123-127.
See here for the complete list of publications.