Korean Christians Learn Judaism

Korean read TalmudAbout 30% of Koreans are Christian and one of those Christians, Park Hyunjun, decided that since Jews have prospered over the last thousands of years, the Korean Christians could learn much from Jewish culture.  Read this article in the New Yorker about the school he set up to teach Judaism to Koreans for pragmatic reasons and about popular Korean Talmud retellings used as a source of wisdom to help Korean readers “overachieve in the world arena.”

To some Jews it is forbidden to teach the Talmud to non-Jews, and others worry of distortion.  But the market ignores their concerns and religion finds consumers of all sorts.

This illustrates that for most people the package called “religion” captures far more than just doctrine and salvation.

This 2011 article in The Jewish Chronicle On-Line (and pic source) speaks of the same phenomena back then:

But although average Koreans can boast that their bookshelves hold at least one or two copies of the Talmud, to think of Korea as a hotbed of latent Judaism would be wrong. The motivation is less to do with religion and more to do with aspiration. Korean parents value schooling above all else. Parents send their children to after-school crammers until midnight and will spend their last penny on tutors and extra lessons. And, shy of good role models on the quest to securing academic success for their offspring, mothers almost unerringly turn to the Jews for inspiration.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

2 responses to “Korean Christians Learn Judaism

  1. Interesting. I didn’t know that “Baby Einstein” or Talmud was a cultural icon in Korea.

  2. @Skeptic M,
    Glad you enjoyed.

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