A Protestant Theology of Passion

Korean Minjung Theology Revisited


Author: Volker Küster
Minjung Theology is introduced here through theological biographical sketches of its main representatives. They formulated a protestant liberation theology under the South Korean military dictatorship of the 1970s and 80s. Their strong emphasis on the suffering (han) of the people (minjung) led them to the formulation of a genuine theology of the cross in Asia. Volker Küster explores the reception of Minjung Theology and raises the question what happened to it during the democratization process and the rise of globalization in the 1990s. Interpretations of art works by Minjung artists provide deep insights into these transformation processes. Prologue and epilogue abstract from the Korean case and offer a concise theory of contextual theology in an intercultural framework.

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Rev. Dr. Volker Küster was born in 1962. Since 2002 he is Professor of Crosscultural Theology at the Protestant Theological University in Kampen (The Netherlands).Among his publications are: Theologie im Kontext, 1995; Jesus und das Volk im Markusevangelium, 1996 (Korean 2006); The Many Faces of Jesus Christ, 2001 (German 1999); God/Terreur, 2008. contact: vkuester@pthu.nl.
"Volker Küster’s A Protestant Theology of Passion: Minjung Theology Revisited is essential reading for anyone interested in contextual and intercultural theology in Asia. This important book provides the first thorough academic discussion of Korean Minjung theology in any Western language, introducing key Korean theologians in the movement, in relationship to one another and to contextual theological developments elsewhere. A unique feature of this study is Küster’s use of visual art as an inculturated expression of Minjung theology in its own right. His contention that contextual theologies are “open systems” suggests the continuing relevance of Minjung theology for our “glocalized” future. This book represents a seminal contribution to the growing body of literature on contextual theology in a global context. " – Prof. Dr. Philip L. Wickeri, San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union
"An indispensable account of Minjung theology told with insights and critical understanding. Dr. Küster skillfully places this theological current in the global context through intercultural lenses. I highly recommend this rich and rewarding text. " – Kwok Pui-lan, author of Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology
"A Protestant Theology of Passion chronicles an important movement in Korean theology that has significance far beyond the borders of that country. True to Minjung method, Küster includes not only texts, but art and poetry as sources for this theology as well. In doing so, he makes an important contribution to the wider discussion of contextual theology today. " – Robert Schreiter, author of Constructing Local Theologies
"K.s. Buch ist eine kenntnisreiche Darstellung der Minjung-Theologie und ihrer Autoren. Sie eignet sich [...] als kompetente Einführung in den gesellschaftlichen Kontext, in dem sie zur Entfaltung gebracht worden ist. " – Christine Lienemann-Perrin, in: Theologische Literaturzeitung 139 (2014), 2

Foreword by David Kwang-Sun Suh ... xi
Writing from this place ... xix

Prologue: Theology in Context ... 1

1 People as the Subjects of History ... 19

2 Re-/constructing Korean Identity: The Minjung Culture Movement ... 27

3 Theology and Biography: Theological Identity Re-/constructed ... 55

4 Jesus and the Minjung: Ahn Byung-Mu (1922-1996) ... 59

5 A Confluence of Two Traditions : Suh Nam-Dong (1918-1984) ... 79

6 Fools for Christ’s Sake : Hyun Young-Hak (1921-2004) ... 87

7 Theology as a Social Biography of the Minjung : Kim Yong-Bock (*1938) ... 95

8 A Plea for a Survival-Liberation centered Syncretism : Chung Hyun-Kyung (*1956) ... 103

9 Contextual Challenges : Minjung Theology in Intercultural Perspective ... 115

10 Contextual Transformations : Minjung Theology Yesterday and Today ... 131

Epilogue: Contextual Theologies as Open Systems ... 151

Bibliography on Minjung Theology ... 157

Index of Persons ... 163
Figures ... 167
Not only readers interrested in World Christianity or Korean studies, and students of Mission and Ecumenics will find this a helpful book, but also others from the growing Christian community in Korea and overseas will find it an appealing study.