Monday, December 02, 2013
Preface for the Korean Edition of On Jesus
I was delighted to discover that On Jesus would be translated into Korean, especially since I have and esteemed Korean colleague, Dr. Sun Wook Chung, and several beloved Korean students at Denver Seminary, and because of the resurgence of Christianity in Korea in recent decades. I hope that its translation will contribute to wise philosophical discussion about Jesus and Christianity in Korea and among Korean readers elsewhere, whether these readers are followers of Christ or not.
While some of the cultural references employed may be unique to American culture, the essential issues that are raised in On Jesus are not uniquely American, but timeless. Jesus addressed issues that are perennial for human beings, and which have been categorized by philosophers as matters of metaphysics, epistemology, and morality. One thing that distinguishes Jesus from most philosophers is the metaphysics of his own identity. The Bible, Christian creeds, and orthodoxy through the ages have confessed and defended [SG1] the claim that this prophet from Nazareth was both human and divine: one person with two natures. Therefore, this book discusses this significant claim in some detail. However, I discuss this topic in much more depth in chapter 21 my book, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Christian Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011).
If I had originally written this small book for a Korean audience, I would have added more comparison and contrasts between the teachings of Jesus with those of Buddhism and Confucianism. However, I hope that the attentive Korean reader will supply this analysis and bring the philosophy and identity of Jesus into a uniquely Korean context. Although On Jesus does consider some of the differences between Jesus and the teachings of other religions, Christian Apologetics deals with this important topic in more detail, especially in chapters 19-24. (This book is now being translated into Korean and should appear in 2014.)
Perhaps many Koreans will also be intellectually provoked by my chapter, “Jesus’ View of Women,” given the influence of the Confucianism view of women and the assumption of male leadership in the church.
I further hope that this small volume challenges more Korean Christians to confidently enter the philosophical calling, with Jesus are their model and inspiration. As he said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind” (Matthew 22:37-38; see also Isaiah 1:18).
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., September 12, 2012
Professor of Philosophy
Denver, Colorado, USA