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210Journal of Korean Studies lucid that a portion of it could be assigned as a course reading. Both Buswell's monograph and Grayson's textbook belong in every serious Korean studies library collection. Thanks to Grayson, we have a more-or-less accurate account in English of what transpired over the course of Korean religious history: who preached what, when. Buswell helps make a small but important part of that history come alive. Both approaches, the overview and the close study, are essential. Serious gaps remain in English-language studies of Korean religion in particular, and of Korean civilization and culture in general. However, at least the gap on the Korean religious studies shelf is slightly smaller today because of the contributions of Grayson and Buswell. They — each in his own fashion — have earned the gratitude of their fellow toilers in the fields of Korean studies. Don Baker University ofBritish Columbia New God, New Nation: Protestants and Self-Reconstruction Nationalism in Korea, 1896-1937. By Kenneth M. Wells. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991. Pp. xi, 176. Notes, bibliography, index. $32.00. Polls on religion in South Korea agree that about a quarter of the people identify themselves as Christians, with three-quarters of these being Protestant. Most observers accept the idea that Christianity is now a "Korean" religion. In New God, New Nation, Ken Wells opens a window on the minds of early Korean Protestant leaders and contributes much to our understanding of how this missionary-borne creed came to be identified with the cause of Korean nationalism in the early twentieth century. We have become familiar with the idea of "cultural nationalism" in modern Korea to explain the thinking of activists who eschewed leftist prescriptions during the Iapanese colonial period as they came up with their own versions of Korean* national consciousness. Koreans of this type ran newspapers, journals, intellectual clubs and Book Reviews211 associations of different kinds, and occupied prominent positions in Korean schools. Many also served as leaders of the Protestant churches, mainly Presbyterian and Methodist, where their dual functions as churchmen and educators coincided in the large network of Christian schools originally founded by missionaries but which had become, by 1919, incubators of nationalist ideas and a home of the Independence Movement. Wells focuses in on these Christian leaders as elements in the emerging Korean nationalism. His first point is that Christianity with its corollary benefits of "modern" education was seen by many as a way to shape a new national identity free from both outmoded tradition and foreign oppression. But this is not a book about revolutionary resistance. The movement Wells describes was much more subtle. Its central idea was that Korean nationhood had to consist of something substantial, and that mere opposition to colonialism was not enough. This was the lesson they drew from the March 1, 1919, Independence Movement: that those agitating to oust the Japanese should agree upon a vision of a new Korean nation and pursue a consensus on how to bring it to pass. Nor should Korean leaders expend their energies in lost causes. In the opinion of Yun Ch'iho, wh.om Wells sees as typical of the "reconstruction nationalists," it was beyond the Koreans' means to win a test of strength against the Iapanese. Better to cultivate social responsibility and modern skills and wait for the chance to act when Iapan was weaker. In the 1920s, Protestant leaders such as Yun Ch'iho, Yi Kwangsu, and Yi Sangjae created organizations that coincided with the better attributes of Christianity, as in the Korean YMCA. They set up alumni associations, youth organizations, "national" associations such as the Tong'uhoe, the movement* for a national university, the overseas Hungsadan, and Cho Mansik's Korean Products Promotion Society, all with a view to upholding Korean "nationhood" even in the absence of a Korean "state." The problem is that to keep their groups in business they had to "cooperate" and even "collaborate" to some extent with the Japanese and were later denounced for playing ball with the colonial authorities. Welis accounts for this as follows: "The debate over collaboration was essentially a question of political versus nonpolitical resistance, and ... it was the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1665
Print ISSN
0731-1613
Pages
pp. 210-214
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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