The Bible and Empire in the Divided Korean Peninsula: In Search for a Theological Imagination for Just Peace
Citation:Lim, Youngseop, The Bible and Empire in the Divided Korean Peninsula: In Search for a Theological Imagination for Just Peace, Trinity College Dublin.School of Religion, 2021
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The major objective of this thesis is to examine the relationship between biblical interpretation and imperialism in the context of the Korean conflict. This study takes its starting point in the questions of what caused the Korean conflict, and what role the Bible has played in the divided Korean church and society. In order to find answers to these questions, this study is carried out in several steps. The first step is to explore just peace and imperial peace in the Bible as a conceptual framework. The second step seeks to reconstruct the history of Korean Christianity, the relationship between church and state, and the impact of American church and politics from postcolonial perspective. As the third step, this study focuses on the homiletical discourses of Korean megachurches in terms of their relation to the dominant ideologies, such as anticommunism, national security, pro-Americanism, and economic prosperity. The last step is to present examples of theological efforts for overcoming colonial-imperial settings and creating theological imagination for just peace. This thesis is composed of eight chapters, each of them dealing with a different aspect of the relationship between the Bible and political ideologies. Discussing just peace and imperial peace in the Bible, Chapter 1 defines biblical justice and peace as counter-imperialistic features. Chapter 2 reviews the historical background of the Korean church in political fluctuation. Chapters 3 illustrates how the Bible, theology, and Christian missions have been threatened by colonial-imperial phenomenon, ranging from the mid-nineteenth century until quite recently. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on analysing the homiletical discourses of Korean megachurches that have influenced social discourse and practices. In Chapter 6, theological alternatives to surmount colonial-imperial contradictions are drawn by suggesting examples of biblical interpretation as a key driver of social change. On the basis of the results of this investigation, it can be concluded that the Korean church and society have been divided politically, socially, and theologically by colonial-imperial ramifications. Korean churches have not been immune to the impact of American imperial theology and the Cold War rhetoric. In particular, theological discourses created in the Korean mainstream churches have functioned as supporting the colonial-imperial ideologies, rather than implementing biblical just peace. Nonetheless, this study suggests the possibilities for the re-enactment of the theological alternative to division and conflict, and reaffirms the feasibility of overcoming imperial peace and its ideology through theological imagination for just peace.
Author: Lim, Youngseop
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Religion. Irish School of Ecumenics
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available