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

By Sung-Deuk Oak

The Making of Korean Christianity
Paperback, 437 pages $49.95
Published: 15th November 2015
ISBN: 9781602585768
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Religious Studies, Church History

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 the International Bulletin of Missionary Research as one of the top Fifteen Outstanding Books of 2013 for Mission Studies.

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






"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."

–Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, Boston University

"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."

—James H. Grayson, Emeritus Professor of Modern Korean Studies, The University of Sheffield

"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."

—Young-chan Ro, Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies and Director, Korean Studies Center, George Mason University

"[The Making of Korean Christianity] is a must read for anyone who wants to study world Christianity."

—Gun Ho Lee, The Presbytery of New Hope, Interpretation

"In short, Sung-Deuk Oak has produced an insightful study of the history of Christianity in Korea. This outstanding book is a must-read for anyone interested in modern Korean history, cross-cultural interactions, and global Christian studies."

—Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, The Asian Christian Review (8:1), Pace University in New York

"The history of Protestantism in Korea is rich and complex, and Oak’s work makes a valuable contribution toward understanding its origins and initial development."

—Sean C. Kim, Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies (14:2), University of Central Missouri      

"[The Making of Korean Christianity] is highly recommended not only for those interested in the development of Korean Christianity, but also for those who want to explore the 'creative combination of the principle of Christian universality (vertical transcendence) and that of inculturation (horizontal adaptation)' (316)."

—Gun Cheol Kim, Africanus Journal

"A wealth of historical data from the turn of the last century on the formation of Korean Christianity is meticulously presented and carefully analyzed."

—S. Michael Ahn, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Themelios

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

Recognized as one of the "Top Fifteen Outstanding Books of 2013 for Mission Studies" - 2013 - International Bulletin of Missionary Research - Joint winner

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 437 pages
 9in x 6in

  HIS023000, REL053000, REL070000
 Baylor University Press

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