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1 Corinthians 8.4-6: An Inter-cultural Reading from the Political Context of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Kwon, Oh-Young (2017) 1 Corinthians 8.4-6: An Inter-cultural Reading from the Political Context of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. US-China foreign language, 15. pp. 43-55. ISSN 1539-8080

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Abstract

This article explores an inter-cultural reading of 1 Corinthians 8.4-6 from the political and ideological contexts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea; DPRK afterwards) today. The Pauline passage (1 Cor 8.4-6) indicates Roman imperialism and the Imperial cult(s) that had a heavy impact upon the life of people (including Christ-believers) in Roman Corinth of the first century CE. In Roman Imperial cult(s), the Roman emperors were worshipped as divine, and people in the Roman Empire were compelled (at least by social pressure) to honor them as gods. This notion is, to some extent, reflected in the Pauline language—“there may be so-called gods…on earth…there are many gods and many lords” (1 Cor 8.5). The Roman emperors would be seen as amongst these many gods and these many lords in the Pauline description. The DPRK’s culture and society is primarily shaped on the foundation of Juche ideology. The Juche literarily means “self-reliance” and emphasizes the DPRK’s independence from other countries in terms of its political, ideological, and economic systems. Furthermore, in this Juche ideology Kim Il Sung the founder of the DPRK’s communism is claimed as a divine figure, and the people of the DPRK are compelled to venerate and worship him. The discovery of such social, cultural, and religious similarities in the two polarizing contexts encourages me to attempt inter-cultural dialogues between the Christ-believers in first century Corinth and the people of the DPRK today, who appear to see the Juche ideology as the religion officially constituted and recognized in their country today. This attempt makes a contribution to recent Asian Biblical scholarship that would acknowledge and encourage Asian Christians and scholars to read Christian Scriptures from Asian cultural, social, religious, and political contexts.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords: Paul, Corinthians, inter-cultural reading, imperial cult(s), Jucheideology, North Korea
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - Biblical Studies, general
D - Missiology
College/Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
Depositing User: Dr Suman Kashyap
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 04:03
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2018 04:03
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/3273

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