Ham Sŏkhŏn’s Pacifism and the Reunification of Korea

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This book explores the extent to which Ham Sŏkhŏn’s Quaker involvement affected his approach to Korean Reunification Theology (KRT), and the degree to which elements of KRT can be located within Quaker Peace Testimony (QPT). For this, QPT, Ham’s ideas of peace, and KRT are explored in turn, and in particular Ham’s ideas of peace are considered as a bridge between QPT and KRT.

It is suggested that the twentieth-century QPT was peace-centric, tolerant, and based in pluralism clearly different from the nineteenth century anti-war testimony. It is argued that liberal Quakerism influenced the shifts of QPT. Conscientious Objection and relief are considered as concrete expressions of the twentieth century QPT.

Ham S?kh?n’s ideas of peace are analyzed in terms of three key ideas: pacifism, non-violence and the minjung. It is argued that Ham’s Christian pacifism was awakened by the QPT and it stimulated Ham’s ideas of peace. It is also suggested that Ham’s Quaker experience was parallel to his pacifist practice. The book explores the thought that Ham’s ideas of reunification are based on his ideas of peace, and that they influence KRT. Five reunification theologians’ thinking and key ideas are explored and then Ham’s influence on them is considered. It is suggested that QPT and Ham’s ideas of peace share common ground in their ideas of pacifism, non-violence and humanitarianism (of the minjung), and that KRT was influenced by Ham’s ideas of reunification particularly in regard to his ideas of peace. Consequently, connection between the QPT and KRT can be considered through Ham’s ideas of peace.

This book proves that there is a connection between parts of QPT, Ham’s ideas of peace and KRT, provides an original contribution to knowledge, and increases the academic understanding of both Ham’s life and thought, and the nature of KRT.


“This important book highlights significant research into the influence of Ham S?kh?n on ‘Korean reunification theology’ and the influence on Ham in turn from the Quakerism he drew inspiration from in his later life ... Dr. Jung systematically outlines the unique aspects of the Quaker ‘peace testimony’, their historic witness against war and violence, the key ideas of Ham S?kh?n, and the main ideas of Korean reunification theology. Dr. Jung guides the reader through complex material with great clarity of thought and an essential nuance, carefully delineating different sets of key ideas from each other and placing them in their context. There are few enough books on any of these topics, but Dr. Jung provides the highly original and additional valuable task of showing how the three link together through the life and teaching of Ham S?kh?n. This book adds significantly to the literature in each of these areas of scholarship.” – (from the Foreword) Dr. ‘Ben’ Pink Dandelion, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, University of Birmingham

“Ham S?kh?n (1901-89) was a remarkable man. A prophet for democracy and religious pluralism within Asia, he was known as the ‘Gandhi of Korea’ emerging after the Second World War as an important figure within his homeland. Ham’s Quakerism – particularly his attraction to the Friends’ peace declaration of 1661 and Korean reunification theology which he developed – informed a life of non-violence and genuine freedom for his tragically divided country ... Dr. Jung has written a lively account of the complicated development of Ham’s theology and life-work, contextualizing it within the brittle reality of Korea politics. For this reason alone, Dr. Jung’s work is timely and highly recommended.” – Professor Gerard Guiton, Pendle Hill Quaker Study Center

“This well-researched and well-written book is a very useful addition to the Quaker Studies literature. Dr. Jiseok Jung presents the life of Ham S?kh?n with considerable care and attention to detail. Ham was, without doubt, a major figure in the peace movement, not only in South Korea, but also in a more global sense. It is very good that, at last, we have available to us a meticulous and engaging account of his life.” – Professor Peter Collins, Durham University

“This book is a major contribution to peace theology in Korean academic circle. Dr Jung’s exploration of Quaker pacifism provides a spiritual basis of Christian pacifism to Korean Christianity. His clear, intellectual, and historical analysis of Ham S?kh?n’s ideas of peace and five reunification theologians’ thinking reveals the unique feature of peace in the Korean historical context with the experience of colonialism, Korean war, the division and the conflict between North and South Korea.” – Professor Suil Chae, Hanshin University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ben P. Dandelion
List of Figures
1. Pacifism and Just War Theory
2. Quaker Peace Testimony
3. Ham Sŏkhŏn’s Ideas of Peace
4. Korean Reunification Theory
5. Conclusion

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