Monday, December 21, 2015

The importance of Pauline prepositions

 Among a few prepositions used by Paul, the following are most important: en ("in") and ek ("from, out of, by"). For example, en christo ("in Christ") is one of the most important phrases in his letters. Its meaning is complex. It may mean various things; to say a few: it means membership ("belonging to Christ"); or it also means "the way of life" like "the way of Christ" called the modal dative. When we translate en into English, the best and consistent policy is to put "in."

But at times, this simple rule of translation does not apply when doctrinal issues are involved. Such a case is found in Gal 2:20. For example, the NRSV translates the last part of v.20 as "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves us." According to the NRSV translation, Paul puts his faith in Christ. But this is very problematic because the Greek genitive must be honored in right translation. That is, the correct literal translation is "in faith of the Son of God," which means, I argue, that this genitive must be the subjective in that Paul basically says that the one who lives in him is Christ. That is, he has to live "in Jesus' faith." Paul talks about Jesus' faith and admires his faith. He wants to live in his faith. That is what he means. Therefore my translation is put here in good sense: "The life I live now in the flesh I live en (in) the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me."

Otherwise, Paul does not merely say that he wants to put his faith in Jesus (this is the objective genitive meaning; and faith is Paul's). Also, he uses the preposition en before faith of which is Jesus. Here en connotes a sense of participation in Christ's faith. Paul's letters are replete with the language of participation into Jesus' faith (example: dying with Christ, being baptized into his death, imitating him, parts of Christ).

Now another example of Pauline preposition is in 2 Cor 13:4; there is a preposition ek plus the noun astheneia (weakness): "Christ was crucified ek ("out of, by, or on the basis of") weakness, but lives ek ("by or out of") the power of God." Interestingly, the NRSV now translates ek as "in" and so it reads: "Christ was crucified in weakness." Why this? My guess is that translators want to support one of the traditional atonement theories -- the vicarious, voluntary suffering of his death). This translation is greatly misleading because the preposition is ek, not enPaul's point is simple: "Christ was crucified by weakness (or "out of" or "on the basis of" weakness), but lives by (ek) the power of God." Note the CEB translation: Christ was crucified because of weakness." Paul's point is that Jesus was weak and becaure of it he was crucified. So we infer that Jesus' crucifixion is not necessarily voluntary but it is a tragic and violent one caused by evil power.

Compare with en astheneia ("in weakness" in 1 Cor 2:3; 15:43; 2 Cor 12:9)
1 Corinthians 2:3 And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 1 Corinthians 15:43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 2 Corinthians 12:9 but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

*Some references about "weakness" in general in the New Testament:
Rom. 8:26; 1 Co. 1:25; 2:3; 15:43; 2 Co. 11:30; 12:9; 13:4; Heb. 5:2; 7:28; 11:34

Perhaps for more about Pauline prepositions and translations, see my recent book.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Renewal of New Testament Theology

The Renewal of New Testament Theology (Cascade, 2015)


''Farewell to New Testament theology as usual. Kim has struck the heart of the matter. This is a bold and fresh reading that seeks to resurrect a Jesus who points his finger to God and squarely situate him in his first-century Palestinian context. Reading Jesus against the grain, Kim provides a provocative textbook that is sure to stimulate interest and discussion. For those who had abandoned, domesticated, or otherwise misappropriated Jesus, this is a must-read.''
--Robert Wafawanaka, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Virginia Union University, author of Am I Still My Brother's Keeper?

''This is a book that both theologians and biblical scholars--who have been concerned about an unnecessary dichotomy between the two disciplines--have long awaited. Readers will deeply appreciate Kim's clear and fresh approach to New Testament theology as a process of discerning and engaging historical Jesus and New Testament texts. I highly recommend this book not only for research but also as a textbook for various courses in theological education.''
--Seung Ai Yang, Associate Professor of New Testament at Chicago Theological Seminary

''Yung Suk Kim's Resurrecting Jesus is a rare synthesis of historical criticism and spiritual passion. Kim boldly challenges the conventional divide between theology and history. Making the words and deeds of the historical Jesus the foundation for theology, Kim redefines central concepts of the New Testament in ways that are relevant to seekers for ethical consistency in a harsh world.''
--L. L. Welborn, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Fordham University --Wipf and Stock Publishers
The Renewal of New Testament Theology (Cascade, 2015)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The most selfish form of religion

"You die, and I don't die."
This is a most selfish saying that we may find in the most popular segments of Christianity.
The idea and confidence with this belief is that Jesus' death is good enough that there is no more death needed for salvation. It is like saying: "Jesus suffered for me and so I don't suffer any more." That is what Mel Gibson's movie THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST tries to convey to people without asking the ugliness of evil and violence done on to Jesus.

Most critically and candidly speaking, Jesus did not come to die; rather, his death is a result of what he said and did for the kingdom of God (better to say "God's rule of peace, justice, and mercy").

Paul says that "Jesus was crucified by weakness (eks astheneias)" (2 Cor 13:4a). The often translation of Jesus' Crucifixion "in weakness" does not seem to convey the intended meaning by Paul, who acknowledges Jesus' weakness (not acting like weak, but he was weak and could not overcome violence).

Jesus looked like he failed. But God makes him alive (2 Cor 13:4b). It is God who raised him and made him alive now. The true form of religion is based on other-centered life and sacrifice; the rest is up to God.

In light of the above, I am concerned that Jesus is being misrepresented in popular circles of Christianity today. How can we separate Jesus' death from ours? Jesus died, so do we.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

the difference between philosophy, theology, and science

If you are asked where you are from, you will answer in some different ways.
Philosophy says, "I don't know." It is true that philosophy assumes that we human beings are not capable of knowing where we are from. No one knows the answer; yet philosophy attempts to answer. That is the beauty and value of philosophy. Answer-seeking attitude distingushes humans from other beings.

Theology (or religion) says, "I am from God." Most theological discourses begin with God. So much so that many people believe that they come from God. They presuppose the ultimate being beyond the world and try to live according to the divine will.

Science says, "I am from my parents." For example, who I am today can be explained through my parents and their influence. Physically and spiritually, I must have inherited their gifts and characters.

All these answers are legitimate and important. I mean we need all of these: philosophy, theology (or religion) and science. The only difference is that each deals with different aspects of origin/meaning of life.

Friday, November 27, 2015

My Paul book was translated into Korean

I am so glad that one of my Paul books was translated into Korean and published by SamIn, in Seoul, Korea. The book is about Paul's threefold theology or gospel. The English title is A Theological Introduction to Paul's Letters: Exploring a Threefold Theology of Paul (Cascade Books, 2011). I hope this book will impact Korean scholars and Christianity in ways that they may relive the heart of Paul's gospel in today's world. I sincerely thank Rev. Dr. Jinseong Woo for his hard work of Korean translation.

바울의 삼중 신학
김영석 지음 | 우진성 옮김 | 삼인 | 2015년 12월 03일 출간


한국어판 서문



1장 바울은 어떻게 해석되어 왔는가?
ㆍ 법정적 구원의 관점
ㆍ 사회과학적 혹은 사회학적 접근
ㆍ 바울에 대한 ‘새 관점’
ㆍ 묵시 신학적 접근
ㆍ 정치적?이데올로기적 읽기
ㆍ 요약

2장 바울의 삼중 신학을 향하여
ㆍ 바울의 삶
ㆍ 바울 신학의 중심 이슈와 바울의 해결책: 율법, 죄, 생명에 대하여
ㆍ “그리스도의 몸으로 말미암아 율법에 대해서는 죽임을 당했습니다.”
ㆍ “그리스도는 율법의 끝마침이 되셔서”
ㆍ “율법의 행위”
ㆍ 요약

3장 바울의 삼중 신학
ㆍ 하나님의 의, 그리스도의 믿음, 믿는 자들이 이룬 “그리스도의 몸”
ㆍ 고린도전서에 나타난 삼중 신학 둘러보기
ㆍ 로마서에 나타난 삼중 신학 둘러보기
ㆍ 갈라디아서에 나타난 삼중 신학 둘러보기
ㆍ 요약

4장 “하나님의 의”
ㆍ 하나님의 의는 어떻게 이해되어 왔는가?
ㆍ 구약성서에 나타난 “하나님의 의”
ㆍ 제2성전 유대교와 디아스포라 경험 안의 “하나님의 의”
ㆍ 로마 제국의 의/정의
ㆍ 바울과 “하나님의 의”
ㆍ 바울서신에 나타난 “하나님의 의”
ㆍ 로마서 1장 16~17절과 3장 21~26절에 나타난 “하나님의 의”
ㆍ “하나님의 의”, 하나님의 복음
ㆍ “하나님의 의”, 하나님의 결정적인 역사 개입
ㆍ 요약

5장 “그리스도의 믿음”
ㆍ 바울서신에 나타난 “그리스도의 믿음”
ㆍ 구약성서에 나타난 메시아
ㆍ 제2성전 유대교와 디아스포라 경험 속에서의 메시아
ㆍ 그리스-로마 제국에서의 메시아
ㆍ 바울과 “그리스도의 믿음”
ㆍ 바울서신에 나타난 “그리스도의 믿음”
ㆍ Pistis Christou 요약
ㆍ 요약

6장 믿는 자들이 이룬 “그리스도의 몸”
ㆍ 바울서신에 나타난 “그리스도의 몸”
ㆍ 구약성서에 나타난 인간 문제
ㆍ 제2성전 유대주의와 디아스포라 경험 속에 나타난 인간 문제
ㆍ 그리스-로마 시대의 인간 문제
ㆍ 바울과 “그리스도의 몸”
ㆍ 바울서신에 나타난 “그리스도의 몸”
ㆍ 고린도전서 12장 12~27절에 나타난 “그리스도의 몸”
ㆍ 요약

7장 그리스도를 “본받음”
ㆍ 헬라 전통 안의 미메시스
ㆍ 미메시스와 바울
ㆍ 본받음의 해석 방식
ㆍ 고린도전서 4장 16절과 11장 1절에 나타난 “본받는 사람들”
ㆍ 요약

8장 오늘날 바울을 어떻게 읽을 것인가?
ㆍ 바울 신학 요약

신학과 윤리를 융합한 바울의 삼중 신학 
버지니아유니온 대학의 김영석 교수는 총 세 권의 바울 연구서를 펴냈는데, 이 책은 그 가운데 가장 총론적인 저서다. 그는 이제까지의 바울 연구 경향을 다섯 가지로 구분하면서, 그 연구들이 중요한 성과를 냈음에도 공통으로 갖는 한계를 지적한다. 바로 윤리가 신학과 분리되어 있다는 점이다. 즉 바울을 아는 것과 실천하는 것은 별개가 된다는 이야기다. 따라서 이 책은 ‘하느님의 의’, ‘그리스도의 신실함’, ‘그리스도의 몸(인 우리)’이라는 바울의 핵심적인 세 키워드가 하나로 맞물리고 있는 의미를 집요하게 파헤친다. 그리고 ‘삼중 복음’이 하나로 만나는 지점에서 신학과 윤리의 융합을 가능하게 하는 바울의 핵심 의미를 도출한다. 저자는 미국에서 가장 활동적인 한국계 신학자다. 안타깝게도 한국의 독자들은 그를 거의 알지 못하지만, 독창적 바울 해석을 시도하는 이 책이 한국 신학계에 김영석이라는 이름을 알리는 문지방이 되리라 믿는다. ― 김진호(제3시대그리스도교연구소 연구실장, 『리부팅 바울』 저자)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

student learning experience by posting board

During the last class of Introduction to Biblical Studies, I asked my students to reflect on their learning experience. I remember that at the first class they were very concerned about passing of this course. The task was to explore what changes were made during their course work and learning process. For the first five minutes they individually reflected on their learning experience from day 1 to this day of the last class. In doing so, I told them to come up with some nouns, verbs, and adjectives that describe their learning experience. After this, I asked them to have conversation with the other peer next to each other. Lastly, all of them were divided into several groups. At this time, I asked them to write words or draw somthing in order to describe their experience of this course on their posting boards. Each group did it differently. Thanks for all students who participated in this class. The following postings were made and reported in class. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Luke 5:1-11 and reader-response questions

Luke 5:1-11:

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ 5Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

The following is a list of reader-response questions that I come up with:

-Why does Jesus stand at the lakeside?

-Why are the crowds thirsty for the word of God? What is the word of God that Jesus preaches?

-Why Jesus uses boats to teach them?

-Why Jesus uses Peter's boat?

-Why Jesus asks Peter to go to the deep water and let down the nets? (deep water as a difficult place or as an abundant place?)

-Why is there irony between success of many fish and crisis that boats begin to sink?

-Why does Peter say that "I am a sinful man!"? (Is he saying that 'I am nothing'?)

-What would be Peter's response to Jesus' word: "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people"?

-What caused Jesus' disciples to leave everything and follow him? To do what? Compare with the crowd's existence in the beginning of this text.