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Protestantism and politics in Korea

Chung-shin Park

Publication Year: 2011

Following its introduction to Korea in the late 19th century, Protestantism grew rapidly both in numbers of followers and its influence, and remained a dominating social and political force throughout the 20th century. Park charts this stunning growth and examines the shifting political associations of Korean Protestantism

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xi

Although I am solely responsible for any flaws and errors this book might have, it was made possible by scholarly, moral, and financial support from my teachers, friends, students, and family, as well as from many institutions and organizations. I would like to take this...

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pp. 3-9

On a spring day in 1984, a motorcade of hundreds of vehicles proceeded along the highway connecting Inch’ŏn, a port city, to Seoul. Spectators lining the road would break into applause every once in a while. If Horace N. Allen, Horace G. Underwood, Henry...

Part 1: Protestantism in Korea: A Social History

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1. The Growth of Protestantism: History and Meaning

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pp. 13-49

The growth of Protestantism in Korea was exceptional—to some observers a miracle. Recent statistics show that more than 25 percent of the population in South Korea is Protestant. The Protestant church is still growing rapidly: according to some observers, in the...

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2. The Theological Orientation of the Protestant Church: Its Formation and Transformation

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pp. 50-94

Divergent theological or doctrinal opinions may be advanced as an attempt to rationalize individual interests or gloss over underlying personal conflicts, which often result from regional clashes of loyalties or divergent goals based on self-serving motives. However...

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3. The Korean Protestant Church as a Social Institution

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pp. 95-113

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Korean National Council of Churches (KNCC) was quite vocal in advocating democracy and social justice and criticizing violations of human rights, but the organization did not represent all Protestant groups. The KNCC represented a mere six...

Part 2: Protestant Christians and Politics

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4. The Protestant Church and Early Nationalist Politics, 1880–1919

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pp. 117-138

In the late nineteenth century, a desire for reform and modernization on the part of some Koreans coincided with the arrival of Protestant evangelism, and Protestantism and the progressive nationalist forces were brought together under these unique historical circumstances...

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5. Protestant Christians and the Late Nationalist Movement, 1919–1945

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pp. 139-157

The cherished hopes of throwing off alien rule were dashed. Not surprisingly, there were no serious nationalist activities immediately after the March First Movement. As novelist Yi Kwangsu remarked, “Gone is the fervor that once spurred them on; people are beginning to think only...

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6. The Protestant Church under Foreign Occupation, 1945–1948

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pp. 158-170

In August 1945, to great national jubilation, Japanese rule in Korea came to an end as a result of the Allies’ victory over the Axis powers. The end of Japanese rule, however, did not lead to an era of freedom for the nation. A line had been drawn across the peninsula at the 38th parallel...

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7. Protestant Christians and South Korean Politics, 1948–1980s

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pp. 171-199

In the late 1940s, Protestant Christians found themselves supporting the formation of a pro-Christian government in the south and began enjoying its protection and sponsorship. The position of the Christian church in the south was now one of conformity with the government...

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pp. 200-206

Following its arrival in Korea in the late nineteenth century, Protestantism grew rapidly to be a formidable social force, with membership in Protestant denominations consisting of one quarter of the total population of South Korea just one century later. Underlying...


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pp. 207-271


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pp. 273-301


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pp. 303-316

E-ISBN-13: 9780295802084
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295981499

Publication Year: 2011