Chung Hyun Kyung


Chung Hyun Kyung
Chung Hyun Kyung
Hangul 정현경
Revised Romanization Jeong Hyeon-gyeong
McCune–Reischauer Chŏng Hyŏn-kyŏng

Chung Hyun Kyung is a Korean Christian theologian. She is a lay theologian of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, and is also an Associate Professor of Ecumenical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the U.S.A.

She graduated from Ewha Women's University in Seoul with the B.A. (1979) and the M.A. (1981). She holds the M.Div. from the School of Theology at Claremont (1984), a diploma from the Women's Theological Center in Boston (1984), and the Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary (1989).

In 1990, she introduced Asian women's theology with her book Struggle to be the Sun Again.

In 1991, she was invited to speak at a World Council of Churches gathering in Canberra, Australia. Her speech created a furor and she was accused of syncretism, that is, combining Christian teachings and practices with elements of other traditions. Her retort, however, was:

If they ask me, “Are you a syncretist?” I say, “You are right, I am a syncretist, but so are you.” My response is that I know I am a syncretist, but you don’t know you are a syncretist because you have hegemonic power ... non-Christian cultures, when they try to interpret the gospel out of their life experience, they are syncretists! But they are just being true to their identity, history and culture. (“(Chung) Hyun Kyung,” no author given, Zion’s Herald, v. 177 no. 5 (Sept/Oct, 2003):14, complete interview pp. 14–16.)

In the same interview, she challenged the Western values imposed on the Third World:

"I think in order to really heal the world we need the 'wisdom of darkness.' This can be the Third World, dark people, women, or our 'shadows,' ... all the things we do not want to confront within ourselves, so we project them onto others and call them terrorists. So, I think that we need 'endarkenment' for a while, not enlightenment, to heal the world." (interview, “(Chung) Hyun Kyung,” no author given, Zion’s Herald, v. 177 no. 5 (Sept/Oct, 2003):16, complete interview pp. 14–16.).

Her teaching and research interests include feminist and eco-feminist theologies and spiritualities from Asia, Africa and Latin America; Christian-Buddhist dialogue; disease and healing in varied religious backgrounds; mysticism and revolutionary social change; as well as the history and critical issues of various Asian Christian theologies.

Her best-known book is Struggle to be the Sun Again: Introducing Asian Women's Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1990). In it, she responds to the emerging liberation theology which argues for Christianity's preferential option for the poor. She interprets the Gospel through her experience as an Asian woman: "Doing theology is a personal and a political activity. As a Korean woman, I do theology in search of what it means to be fully human in my struggle for wholeness and in my people's concrete historical fight for freedom." (1990: 1)

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