Write a reaction paper on the (two) reading articles of the week.
Length: 450-600 words.
Choose 1-2 issues and write a short essay with your own questions and arguments
one of these articles,,,just choose one article..
October 4 3. HISTORY 2: A Century of Growth and Changes (1884-1984)
Why in Korea, Why not in Japan; Modernization; Americanization
Oak, Sung-Deuk. “Protestantism Comes East: the Korean Case,” in Mark K. Noll ed., Protestantism
after 500 Years (Oxford: Oxford University Press, August 2016), 228-257.
October 6 4. HISTORY 3: Recent Three Decades and Stagnation (1984-2014)
Religious Demography in South Korea
Don Baker, “Sibling Rivalry in 20th-Century Korea: Comparative Growth Rates of Catholic and
Protestant Communities,” Christianity in Korea, 283-308.
Lee, Timothy. “Beleaguered Success: Korean Evangelicalism in the Last Decade of the Twentieth
Century, Christianity in Korea, 330-350.
DISCUSSION PAPER SAMPLE
Lee’s paper, “Breakthrough for a New Moral Order, 1885-1919” argues that the introduction of Christianity to the Korean peninsula and its subsequent success, particularly regarding Protestantism, was the result of the Korean people’s desire for “a new moral order”. This search for a “new moral order” was fueled by the decline of the Chosŏn dynasty. Additionally, Lee argues that evangelicalism successfully integrated itself into a distinctly Korean context, especially when analyzing the March First Movement of 1919. By explaining the social, political, and historical context prior to presenting his argument, Lee convincingly explains the mindset of many Koreans in their search for what the writer terms the “new moral order” as well as the marriage between Korean nationalism and evangelism during the Japanese colonial period. What Lee terms as a moral order, however, seems to be more of a social order, thus somewhat undermining his argument.
One of the strongest points of Lee’s argument is the thoroughness with which he discusses the context prior, during, and after the introduction of Christianity to Korea. Lee explains the dissatisfaction of Koreans in the late 19th century and the subsequent attempts to address this dissatisfaction: ideas like Sirhak, Tonghak, and Roman Catholicism are all offered as solutions to the search for a new order. Lee proceeds to introduce the history of Protestantism in Korea, tracking its successes (such as the Great Revival) and failures (like the “9 lean years”). The piece culminates in the success of evangelical Protestantism at becoming an accepted fixture by Koreans due to foreign missionaries’ eventual involvement in the Korean struggle for independence.
One of the issues in the chapter that may weaken Lee’s argument is the phrase a “new moral order.” When describing the demographics of Catholic converts in the section entitled “Searching for a New Moral Order,” Lee focuses not so much on the moral (concerning right and wrong) aspects of the Chosŏn society but rather the class aspects (4). He chooses to focus on the egalitarian nature of both Tonghak and Catholicism (4, 5), suggesting that the equality found in both religions appealed to those marginalized by the Neo-Confucian class system. Personal moral reasons for accepting Christian faith are not discussed until the section on the Great Revival, in which the focus was on those who already considered themselves to be Christian (15). The article fails to explain the moral reasoning behind the sudden influx of those desiring to be Christian prior to the Great Revival, but gives a sociopolitical explanation instead.
As a result, the article is successful in providing explanations for the interest in Christianity, but not necessarily in the way in which the author originally framed the argument. Had Lee used a phrase other than a new moral order, he would have been more effective.
(Words of the text: 462)
1st paragraph = summarize the main thesis of the article
2nd paragraph = what are the new points or strong arguments that you have found
3rd paragraph = criticize one or two points that you do not agree with, or raise questions about
one or two points of the paper.
4th paragraph = your own conclusion