Readers' Response / Reviewer's Reply

By Grayson, James H. | International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 1999 | Go to article overview

Readers' Response / Reviewer's Reply


Grayson, James H., International Bulletin of Missionary Research


To the Editor:

I have read the review by James Grayson of my book Christ and Caesar in Modern Korea: A History of Christianity and Politics (October 1998). The reviewer writes that the book does not introduce "facts not already known and readily available elsewhere." I would like to ask him what books and resources are "readily available" that deal with the history of Christian mission and the church with political development of modern Korea? He also says the book "lacks any critical analysis," and there is no "critical interpretation of the events offered." These statements are not only erroneous but irresponsible. The book usually devotes the first and last paragraphs of each chapter to historical analysis and interpretations. My interpretations and analysis may not be to his liking, but he cannot say that the book does not have historical analysis and critical interpretations. In fact, the four scholars who reviewed the manuscript for the press commented that it contained too strong critical interpretations and analysis, especially against the military regimes of Generals Park Chung Hee, Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo, and I had to make extensive revisions.

Finally, the reviewer quotes my statement on page one of the book that says, "Yi family adopted Neo-Confucianism as a political ideology and system of rule that kept Korea in total isolation," and in sweeping generalization without any explanation he says this statement is "inaccurate." Anyone who has some elementary knowledge of Korean history knows that the Yi dynasty that took over the Koryo dynasty of strong Buddhist culture adopted Neo-Confucianism and allied only with the Confucian "Big Brother Country of China and kept Korea in isolation except for limited contacts with Japan, from 1392 to the latter part of the nineteenth century, shortly before the demise of the Yi dynasty. Here again I ask the reviewer to explain why the above-quoted statement is "inaccurate."

Wi Jo Kang

Wartburg Theological Seminary

Dubuque, Iowa

Reviewer's Reply:

I have three points to make about Prof. …

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