Albert L. Park
Building a Heaven on Earth
Religion, Activism, and Protest in Japanese Occupied Korea
University of Hawaii Press 2015
New Books in Biblical StudiesNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network April 24, 2015 Franklin Rausch
Christians, like other religious people, have to manage the relationship between their belief in supernatural forces and an afterlife on one side, and how those beliefs impact their daily life on the other. This was especially difficult for Korean Protestant Christians (and members of an indigenous religion influenced by Christianity during the Japanese Colonial period (1910-1945), when Christians faced a repressive government, growing criticism of religion, and the social and cultural dislocations caused by the continued onrush of modernity into the peninsula. In his thorough and well-researched book, Building a Heaven on Earth: Religion, Activism, and Protest in Japanese Occupied Korea (University of Hawaii Press, 2015), Albert L. Park examines how Korean Protestant Christians dealt with these challenges by developing theologies that found the source of renewal and Korean national identity in the countryside. Through a sensitive and careful interrogation of the thought and efforts of these activists, Park unearths a largely ignored aspect of Korean religious history, leading to a book that will be of interest to both scholars of Christianity as well as students of religious responses to modernity.