The Making of Korean Christianity: Protestant Encounters with Korean Religions, 1876-1915

The Making of Korean Christianity: Protestant Encounters with Korean Religions, 1876-1915

by Sung-Deuk Oak


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A major catalyst for the growth of Korean Christianity occurred at the turn of the twentieth century when Western missionaries encountered the religious landscape of Korea. These first-generation missionaries have been framed as destroyers of Korean religion and culture. Yet, as Sung-Deuk Oak shows in The Making of Korean Christianity, existing Korean religious tradition also impacted the growth and character of evangelical Christianity. The melding of indigenous Korean religions and Christianity led to a highly localized Korean Christianity that flourished in the early modern era. The Making of Korean Christianity sorts fact from myth in this exhaustive examination of the local and global forces that shaped Christianity on the Korean Peninsula.

The Making of Korean Christianity was recognized by theInternational Bulletin of Missionary Research as one of the top Fifteen Outstanding Books of 2013 for Mission Studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602585768
Publisher: Baylor University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2015
Series: Studies in World Christianity Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 437
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sung-Deuk Oak is Dongsoon Im and Mija Im Endowment Chair, Associate Professor of Korean Christianity, University of California, Los Angeles. He lives in Simi Valley, California.

Table of Contents

Illustrations, Tables, Diagrams, and Maps

Preface and Acknowledgments



1 God

Search for the Korean Name for God, Hanănim

2 Saviors

Images of the Cross and Messianism

3 Spirits

Theories of Shamanism and Practice of Exorcism

4 Ancestors

Confucian and Christian Memorial Services

5 Messages

Chinese Literature and Korean Translations

6 Rituals

Revivals and Prayers






What People are Saying About This

James H. Grayson

The Making of Korean Christianity is the most comprehensive and significant contribution to the study of Protestant Christianity in Korea that has appeared in a generation. Oak challenges the received academic discourse on the first generation of Christians and shows how early Korean Protestants dealt with sophisticated issues in theology and religious practice to arrive at their own solutions in the process of cultural encounter. This book will be the principal source in English on this period of Korean Church history for many years.

Dana L. Robert

This groundbreaking study is the best book written on the development of Korean Christianity. Oak traces the early encounter between Protestant missionaries and Korean religions and moves the scholarship in new, deeper directions. The Making of Korean Christianity is required reading.

Young-chan Ro

The Making of Korean Christianity is a remarkable book. Oak moves beyond the conventional stereotypical view of the early Christian missionaries in Korea and expounds a deeper understanding of dealing with the missionaries' encounter with indigenous Korean religions. I highly recommended this book not only for those who are interested in the history of Christianity in Korea but also for the scholars and students of Korean spirituality and religious traditions and inter-religious dialogue in Korea.

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