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2009, Vol.15, No.1

  • 1.

    The Descendants of Abraham: A Multicultural Interpretation of the Abrahamic Traditions

    Han, Dong-Gu | 2009, 15(1) | pp.10~31 | number of Cited : 5
    Abstract PDF
    The 21st century's world, which is sometimes referred as 'Neo- Hellenistic', is multicultural where a diversity of people shares a nation and a common ground of life. However, though the world has changed to multicultural society, the people yet seem to value nationalistic ideas considerably. I believe therefore it is needed for this era to have a biblical value of multicuturalism, which is specifically advocated in the Abrahamic traditions and studied in the present article tracing them back from the New Testament, intertestamental writings and to the Old Testament. The christian community in the New Testament opened the door for every believers to be a part of 'the descendants (= seed) of Abraham' (Gal 3: 7-14; Rom 4: 13-16). Christian missionary work has thus become worldwide, overcoming nationalism and reaching to the multicultural and multinational world. The intertestamental writings also attest the multicultural advocating Abrahamic traditions. For instance, Sirach 44: 19-21 say that Abraham could possibly become a father of many nations because he was blessed by God for his sincere observation of the Law; it in effect highlights the subsequent harmony between Israel and the foreign nations and their culture. In 1 Maccabees 12: 19-23 it is said that "the Spartans and the Jews are brothers and are of the family of Abraham". Psalm 47, in the Old Testament, insinuates that the range of the Israelite people covers every nations in the world since YHWH God's sovereignty is expanded to accept the leaders of nations in the world as the people of Abraham's God. In the Abrahamic traditions of Genesis, YHWH God acknowledges Israel and the gentiles all together as his people, advocating 'multicultural world-view and values'. First of all, all the world is recognized as a family that derives from one man by the bless of God. This idea clearly indicates that the variety of the nations in the world are the descendants of Abraham. The bless of that 'expansion' is an innovative interpretation for the identity of Israel is seriously associated with witnessing the bless of God to all the nations in the world. The very tradition advocating the multicultural world-view is found in Genesis 21: 8-21. Here the new world in which God carries out his will is envisaged, where the 'feeble belief' that attempted to run in the family by an adopted son (Gen 15: 2) or a concubine (Gen 16) is denounced, and the 'narrow-minded nationalism' that only admits a son of first wife as a true heir is got over. God broke down the wall of nationalistic separation between Israel and the gentile since he is a God over all the nations in the world.
  • 2.

    Abraham and the Figure of an Master/Superior Man(J zi)

    Myung Soo Suh | 2009, 15(1) | pp.32~51 | number of Cited : 3
    Abstract PDF
    This article explores the similarity and dissimilarity between Abraham's figure and a master's. In Confucian traditions a master is regarded as an ideal and true man who takes the golden mean/mode- ration/equilibrium. For this reason in the Confucian cultural societies such as China, Korea and Japan noble scholars had endeavored to study and cultivate their mind so as to be a master. According to Confucian teachings, "the man of wisdom(知者) has no perplexities; the man of humanity(仁者) has no worry; the man of courage(勇者) has no fear" in the analects(論語)14: 30. These three com- ponents should be taken by the superior man. In other words, the superior regards them as the standards of life and behavior. He always regards the will of Heaven and loves a human being. Also he bears himself in modesty and moderation, and behaves himself gracefully. Even though the socio-cultural backgrounds of ancient Israel and China are quite different, we can find those similar elements in the Abraham cycle from the synchronic and cross-cultural perspective. In this paper the similar elements are suggested as follows: Abraham's filial piety and brotherly love(孝悌); understanding of others in a position of self (推己及人); a great morale(浩然之氣); quest of self and return to propriety(克己復禮); being obedient to heavenly will(順命); philantrophy and saving the distressed(博施濟衆). These are the elements of the superior man which can be found in the Abraham cycle.
  • 3.

    Adam and Noah's Failures and Abraham's Success

    Jae Gu Kim | 2009, 15(1) | pp.52~72 | number of Cited : 8
    Abstract PDF
    This paper stands on the premise that the worth of Abraham's being cannot be properly evaluated without regard to Adam and Noah before him. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to prove that through the comparison between Adam-Noah and Abraham, Abraham would be rather closely connected to the primeval history(Gen. 1-11) than to the patriarchal history. To deal with this connectedness, the methodology is spontaneously limited. Here is adopted the canonical approach based on the literary and theological integrity of the book of Genesis, not on the historical criticisms, such as the source, form, and traditio-historical criticisms. Adam's good start with the great complements, "It was very good," ends in a disobedient failure. Obedience and true worship intended in the Garden of Eden are destroyed, curse is poured upon the land, and the split between brothers and human hubris are everywhere. As a second Adam, Noah starts his new creation-journey with the complements, the one "blameless among the people of his time," and "walking with God." But because of his failure allusive to the incest and pagan worship, Noah curses the descendants of Ham. Then, cursed land has more curses. These two persons have blown away the dreams of God, that is, obedience and true worship. Likewise, Gen. 1 - 11, called the primeval history, repeats the same failures, one by Adam and the other by Noah. But in the beginning and end of Abraham's life journey, his faithful response, related to obedience and true worship, to the order of God opens up a new horizon to the human world. It is because the will of God which Adam and Noah did not realize has finally come true by Abraham. For this reason, the worth of Abraham is focused not on the person who opens up the patriarchal age, but more on the person who has brought the primeval age to perfection. Likewise, the comparison between Adam-Noah and Abraham demonstrates, firstly, the reason God calls out Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans and, secondly, the reason Abraham's faith is so cherished. Through this comparison, it can be contended that Abraham be a third Adam, and a second Noah. And it is more emphasized that Abraham belongs more with Adam and Noah stories than with the patriarchal history.
  • 4.

    The Structure of Abrahamic Cycle, 'Bloody-Awful Husband', Sarah's Bitter Laughter

    Kee, Min Suc | 2009, 15(1) | pp.73~87 | number of Cited : 3
    Abstract PDF
    In the present article I will argue that the feminist criticism of the scripture, which has been well neglected in the conservative environ- ment of Christian seminaries, could harmonize with the canonical criti- cism popularly practised, in contrast, in the same context. I specifically read, in a literary and reader-responding method, the Abrahamic Cycle (Gen 12-25) from the perspective of Sarah, Abraham's first wife. There have been many feminist readings of it from Sarah's point of view, but I, particularly, construct the structure of the cycle from her standpoint. In the end I will argue what picture of Sarah could be drawn in the structure and how the 'broken world', envisaged by Sarah's reading, could have a canonical significance. In other words, I am going to sug- gest how, above all for Sarah, the 'unfaithful' behaviour of her husband Abraham, 'a man of faith' in irony, and the tyrannical deeds of her husband's God YHWH could be understood as an integrating part of our Canon. The 'figure' of Abraham and his God in the cycle is read as 'absurd' especially in its feministic reading. This embarrassment in fact corres- ponds to the scepticism that is being nurtured within the scripture, mainly implied in its wisdom tradition. As the divine history is unfolding, a human being is not supposed to stand as a hero but only God's sincerity carrying out his own promises as a highlight. And, since God is revealed as absurd as hard to be accepted by, at least, Sarah a woman, it challenges our overdosed optimism or 'arrogance' that we are able to 'understand' God. Hence, 'Sarah's reading' could suggest that a feminist reading of the scripture could get along well with the so-called canonical reading of it.
  • 5.

    The Significance of Sarah's Death in the Abrahamic Traditions

    김윤이 | 2009, 15(1) | pp.88~112 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract PDF
    Sarah, in the Abraham's narrative, plays her important role as a direct passage of God's blessing toward Abraham, which is of 'descendants' and 'land'. It is unfortunate that so little is heard about Sarah's role in many commentaries of Genesis. And it is worrying that the tendency to highlight only the prominent figures in the Bible may yield a partial understanding. The present study will see how the promise of God, in Genesis 23, toward Abraham could be achieved sacrificing Sarah. Comparing the chapter with 1 Chronicles 21, how the promise of God toward Davidic dynasty was also realized sacrificing his people will be examined. The faith of Abraham and Sarah, interpreted in Hebrews 11 in the New Testament, will be examined to reinterpret the meaning of sacrifice in the Bible, especially worked out in the thoughts of the salvation history. Particularly this study employs the literary-historical criticism, a method of reading the bible as a whole and the hermeneutics of 'suspicion and memory', reconsidering the function and sacrifice of Sarah and people. In Genesis 23 the bitter death of Sarah the priestess is followed by the realization of God's promise to Abraham concerning land. As her death and burial occurred, the ownership of the land in Hebron shifts; it may imply the shift of the ownership of all the land in Israel, which is significant in the salvation history. It could be compared to the instance of Jeremiah's purchase of Hanamel's field in the time of judgement (i.e. destruction of death) as it symbolizes the restoration of God's promise and Israel as a nation. 1 Chronicles 21's report of purchasing the field in which a temple would stand, as God promised, also begins from 'the death(ל󰘶󰗁) of the people', being followed by the realization of the promise (rescuing from judgement). Here the people's death (sacrifice) was of great effect just as Sarah's death was. God's judgement was cancelled as a consequence of their death; it was followed by David and the elders' prayer of repentance and the rest of the Israelites could save their lives. In the end, with the enthusiastic participation of the gentiles, the ground for redemption and worship was confirmed and chosen. The contents and themes in the two narratives, Genesis 23 and 1 Chronicles 21, are paralleling. Theses are, first, misery of the people related to death or sin; second, purchasing the fields from the gentiles; and, third, realization of God's promises and restoration of the relationship with God. Thematically all the two narratives have a motif of 'death/ or sacrifice', and the realization of the promise, overcoming the death, that is associated with the salvation history. (Heb 11) The two narratives also reinterpret the theological meaning of sacrifice. There were many sacrifices occurred in fact behind the anecdotes of the prominent figures in the Old Testament. A number of women, children, followers and people sacrificed, while Sarah and David's people are good examples. Without their sacrifices there might have been no heroes such as Abraham and David, and no salvation history of God. Among the sacrifices Jesus' one is fundamental in the salvation history, which then could possibly extend its limit reaching to all the people. Just as the New Testament recalls and inscribes the sacrifices in the Old Testament (see Heb 11), they are to be reminded continually and newly in our current situation. The reinterpretation of the sacrifices in the Bible, practised in the present study, may give us a clue to correct the problems of today's churches that overtly adore selfish capitalism and materialistic growth.
  • 6.

    The Image of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles

    임헌준 | 2009, 15(1) | pp.117~136 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract PDF
    This paper investigates the image of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 28: 27 - 32: 33. The author makes a comparative study of the texts with 2 Kings 18: 1 - 20: 21. And he examines how Chronicler's theological tendencies were reflected into the history of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles and what image of Hezekiah Chronicler shows. Chronicler, similarly other parts of his history, describes the history of Hezekiah from the theological viewpoints that he emphasizes pan- Israelite, retribution, the cult of the Temple, raise Levites’ position, orthodoxy of Judah and the likes. He also analogizes Hezekiah to David and Solomon. As a result, though Chronicler uses 2 Kings as the source of his history of Hezekiah, he makes a very different image of Hezekiah from that of Deuteronomist. Chronicler shows us an idealized image of Hezekiah which removed his negative aspects described in 2 Kings. In 2 Chronicles Hezekiah is a model in worshipping Yahweh, a king of the whole Israel, and a great ruler like David and Solomon. Chronicler, through this image of Hezekiah which he shows, gives his readers eschatological hope: If they would respect Yahweh, rely on Him and serve Him best as they could, they should be saved from sufferings and the new Israel could be established.
  • 7.

    The Universal Rule of God in Judgment and Restoration in Isaiah 6

    Hong, Seong Hyuk | 2009, 15(1) | pp.137~154 | number of Cited : 5
    Abstract PDF
    The Relationship of judgment and restoration in Isaiah 6 has been a recurring problem among scholars. Not a few proponents took the viewpoint that Isaiah's message was primarily one of doom, eliminating any oracle of Isaiah that sounds like restoration for the future. Especially, they regard the verse 13 of restoration as a later addition to the original commission account, made most probably during the period of the exile. Against this view, this study will, ultimately in a dialogue between the literary and historical approaches, first attempt to display that coherence within Isaiah 6 is firmly established by analyzing its literary context and unifying structure as well as its literary features such as thematic continuity, similar vocabulary and imagery. From the standpoint of its context, Isaiah 6 is at the center of chapters 1-12 which deal with the judgment and restoration of both Israel and Judah. It functions as a suitable conclusion to chapters 2-5 which are focused on the socio-religious corruption, while it does as an equally suitable introduction to chaps. 7-12 whose common features revolve around political issues. Its transitional position indicates that while it is placed in the climax of judgment, it presages Yahweh's sovereign intervention which will reveal in the relationship of Judah with foreign nations. With respect to the structure of Isaiah 6 itself, it divides into 3 sub-sections. The first sub-section (v. 1aα) sets the stage for the entire commission report by describing when Isaiah's vision took place and Yahweh began to take an initiative in the future events. The second sub-section (vv. 1aβ-7) refers to Isaiah's vision of Yahweh's presence in the temple which includes the doxology uttered by the seraphim and Isaiah's purification made by a seraph under the control of Yahweh. The third sub-section (vv. 8-13) is the audition report of Yahweh's purificatory judgment and restoration of Judah characterized by a question-and-answer pattern. This sub-section starts with a report of Yahweh's question and ends with a report of His answer. All the features of the structure suggests that Yahweh will exert a sovereign influence on the judgement and restoration of Judah. On the basis of the literary analysis and more illumination of historical background implicit in the passage, this study is further aimed at showing that the passage of doom and restoration is from the eighth-century prophet and its primary intention is to stress the universal rule of Yahweh with the pattern of unavoidable purificatory judgment and subsequent restoration symbolized by the 'holy seed.' The present study will finally suggest that the prophet Isaiah intended to highlight the importance of trust in Yahweh as the universal ruler, implicitly warning Ahaz and his followers not to rely on foreign alliances to preserve their vested interests. alliances to preserve their vested interests.
  • 8.

    Continuity and Discontinuity of the Old Testament and the New Testament: for the Mutual Understanding of the Christianity and Judaism

    이경숙 | 2009, 15(1) | pp.155~173 | number of Cited : 5
    Abstract PDF
    We, all Christians, know that the Old Testament and the New Testament both are the canons and the words of God. But many Chris- tians are accustomed to interpret the Old Testament as the one inferior to the New Testament and is replaceable by the New Testament. There are 5 models to explain the relationship between the Old and the New Testament, but most of the Christians prefer to use the "contrast model", namely, "the Old versus the New", "Law versus Gospel", "Wrath versus Mercy", "Leah versus Rachel", "Hagar versus Sarah" and etc. In the contrast model, preference of the New Testament/Christianity and hostility against the Old Testament/Judaism is clearly expressed or deeply implicated. Although no Christian will admit that he/she is against the Old Testament or rejects the God of Israel, it is true that Christians have a tendency - consciously or unconsciously - to reject or to look down the Old Testament. It is a great contradiction that Christians use the Old Testament as the canon on the one hand and reject the Jews on the other hand. The Old Testament is the religious treasure of the Judaism which has been written by the Jews and for the Jews and have been adopted by Christians later. What was the background of Anti-Judaism? How can we explain the Holocaust? In this article I will try to explore the roots of the anti-Judaism in the history of the Christianity and try to suggest a way to interpret the Old Testament properly. Apparently Jesus was a Jew. The crowds who heard him, his earliest disciples, the apostle Paul - all were Jews. According to the historical survey of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus had neither intention to reject the Old Testament, nor to establish a new religion. Yet, there were many different groups of Jewish people about this time. The heated polemic against different types of Jews has been unfortunately interpreted as the polemic against the Judaism itself. As Christianity grew, it became a community conspicuous for not living according to the Jewish law and traditions. And Marcion, who lived in the second century(85-159 A.D.) and was influenced by Valentinus(130 A. D.), was the father of the anti-Judaism in the church history. The root of his teaching lies in the Pauline antithesis of Law and Gospel. But he exaggerated this contrast to distinguish the Creator from the true God. Finally the Christian church declared that Marcion was heretic and condemned his church as heretical. Still, there has been always the followers of Marcion in the Christian church from the early Christian era to Holocaust. The real cause of anti-Judaism can be found in the allegorical theories of Justin Martyr, Tertulian, Irenaeus, Hippollytus. For them, "the Old Testa- ment is good, but the Jews are bad". In this ambiguous theories and the interpretations of the Old Testament, there were seeds to rejection of the Old Testament and the Jews.
  • 9.

    The Directions of Korean Church for Migrant Workers' Social Welfare from the Viewpoint of Old Testament

    Yoo,YoonJong | Malsuk Suk | 2009, 15(1) | pp.174~199 | number of Cited : 3
    Abstract PDF
    As Thomas Friedman pointed out, we are living in the flat world, so movement of people and materials became easy. Accordingly migrant workers from other countries where labor price is cheaper than that of Korea have come into Korea since 1987. Now more than one million of migrant workers are living in Korea. However, the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 influenced seriously Korean economy too. A lot of non- regular workers, daily workers, and migrant workers are under danger of dismissal. The protection and care for migrant workers as well as nonregular workers and daily workers are necessary. This paper pursues what Korean church should do for migrant workers by what biblical ground (Old Testament) and by what kind of social welfare policy. This paper analyzes and compares present status of migrant workers, biblical status of migrant workers, and then presents what Korean church should do by the topics of human rights, legal status, economic trouble, social problem, quality of life, and so on. The human rights of present migrant workers in Korea is not fully protected. Employers regard them not as a human being, but as a working machine. In addition, Korean society sees migrant workers as an object of control, oppression, exclusion. About 21% of migrant workers in Korea are staying illegally. These workers are objects of discrimination, because they are in danger of being banished if their illegal status are revealed. Economically, the most common appeals are overdue wages. A lot of cases of overdue wages are misused by employers for not moving to other companies where higher salary is offered. In addition, about 30% of migrant workers had experienced of violence from employers. Migrant workers also suffer from different language, food, culture, and so on. In the Old Testament, there are four terms for designating foreigners. Among them, the most similar terminology for migrant worker is ger. The Old Testament always emphasizes protection and care for ger. In the Covenant law which is considered as old as tribal period, the protection and care for ger is crucial. Ger in the Covenant law refers to not only foreign workers, but also even Israelites who left their tribes and under protection of other tribes. In Deuteronomic law which was enacted during the monarchic period, the protection and care for ger is more emphasized than in the Covenant law. The law presents a lot of economic means to help them. Ger in the Deuteronmic law is considered not as an Israelite, but as a non-Israelite migrant worker. The Holiness Code enacted during the post-exilic period include ger in Israel community, and if they are circumcised, they can join in the Passover meal. The legal status for ger is fully guaranteed during the post-exilic period. The legal and social status of ger during the post-exilic period was no difference at all with Israelites if ger accepts Yahweh. The irony is that the social, economic, and political condition was most troubled. The Old Testament suggests that the protection and care for ger is beyond economic, social, and political condition. It is a timeless truth that people of God should keep. The Old Testament provides a lot of means to help ger economically. First it is recommended that people should leave some ears of grains, grape and olives during harvest for ger and other poor people. Second, a tithe of three years is collected for ger and other poor people. As economy decreases, the role of Korean church increases. It would be a good chance for Korean church to recover negative images imprinted in Korean society. The necessity of intervention of Korean church to migrant workers as well as other socially weak people becomes more urgent. First, Korean church should provide the value for migrant workers' human right. The universality of human right goes regardless of race, social position, and riches. The Bible teaches us to take care of migrant workers like a family member. Thus Korean church should raise the issue of migrant workers' human right. Second, Korean church should support for movement of increasing legal status of migrant workers. It is time for migrant workers to get a permanent residency in Korea. Third, Korean church should provide specific project for helping migrant workers such as economic benefits, professional counseling, giving shelters, teaching Korean, and so on. The protection and care for migrant workers is not a secondary role of Korean church after saving souls. The Bible teaches us that it is the primary role as important as saving souls. In conclusion, It is noted that it is a kairotic time for Korean church to intervene urgently to migrant workers' social welfare in Korea.