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I am excited to announced the newest book, Religious Experience in Trauma: Koreans’ Collective Complex of Inferiority and the Korean Protestant Church, by KwangYu Lee for my book series, “Asian Christianity in the Diaspora” co-edited with Joseph Cheah.

Book Description

This book offers a psychohistorical analysis of the rapid growth of the Korean Protestant Church. KwangYu Lee looks at some of the traumatic historical events of Korea in the 20th century, including the fall of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the Japanese Occupation (1910-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), and the Korean Military Dictatorship (1961-1987), and explores the psychological impacts of these events on the collective unconsciousness of Koreans. He argues that Koreans’ collective (or cultural) complex of inferiority, which was caused and gradually exacerbated by these traumatic events, along with their psychological relationships with their two colonizers―the Japanese and Americans―prompted them to convert to Korean Protestantism en masse as a means to avoid their psychological pains and to fulfil their futile desire to become like Americans, their overtly idealized psychological-object.


“Dr. Kwang Yu Lee deeply engages in intersectionality among Korean history and religion, psychology and theology. His work, out of his desire for healing of Korean people from their past traumas, is the first to apply Jungian psychology to Korean people’s trauma and religious experiences and offers an alternative reason behind the growth of Protestant church in South Korea.” (Angella Son, Professor of Psychology and Religion, The Theological School, Drew University, USA)

“The remarkable thing about this book is that it unfolds the tragic side of Korean history as it is magnified in the emergence and decline of the Korean Protestant Church. Using a fresh Jungian approach to psychohistory, the author focuses on the cultural unconscious that stands between the personal and collective unconscious. Trauma emerges as the key cultural complex to explain Korean religious life and the story is brilliantly told. (Robert S. Corrington – Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Philosophical Theology, Emeritus, Drew University, USA)

“This timely volume interweaves several theories of psychology with the historical development and recent decline of 20th century Protestantism in South Korea. Dr. Lee offers a thought-provoking and critical contribution that also charts the interplay between religious experience and trauma and the impact of both on Korean Christians. The book envisions both psychological healing and a new contextual theology for the future of Christianity in Korea.” (Christopher J. Anderson, Special Collections Librarian and Curator of the Day Missions Collection, Yale Divinity Library, USA)

About the Author

KwangYu Lee is an ordained minister of the Korean Methodist Church. Currently he works for Korean Community Church of New Jersey and is a guest lecturer for the Pastoral Care and Counseling Program in Korean of Blanton-Peale Institute & Counseling Center.

Below are the list of 13 other books in our series with more books to be released later in the year.

13th Book in Series: Place, Alterity, and Narration in a Taiwanese Catholic Village by Marco Lazzarotti (2020)

12th Book in Series: Asian and Asian American Women in Theology and Religion edited by Kwok Pui-lan, (Ed) (2020)

11th Book in Series: Meaning and Controversy within Chinese Ancestor Religion by Batairwa Kubuya, P. (2018)

10th Book in Series: Ascension Theology and Habakkuk by Presa, Neal. D. (2018)

9th Book in Series: Interreligous Pedagogy edited by Park, J. E. Sophia, Wu, Emily S. (2018)

8th Book in the Series: Korean Women, Self-Esteem, and Practical Theology by Lucy Chung

Seventh Book in the Series: Evangelical Pilgrims from the East: Faith Fundamentals of Korean American Protestant Diasporas by Dr. Sunggu Yang


Sixth Book in the Series:  The Gendered Politics of the Korean Protestant Right: Hegemonic Masculinity by Nami Kim


Fifth Book in the Series: Religious Language and Asian American Hybridity by Dr. Julius-Kei Kato


Fourth Book in the Series:  Theological Reflections on the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement edited by Drs. Justin K. H. Tse and Jonathan Y. Tan


Third Book in the SeriesReligious Experience Among Second Generation Korean Americans (Anthropology, Change and Development) by Mark Chung Hearn


Second Book in the SeriesIdentity, Youth, and Gender in Korean American Church by Christine Hong


1st Book in the Series: Theological Reflections on Gangnam Style: A Racial, Sexual and Cultural Critique co-written Joseph Cheah & Grace Ji-Sun Kim

from $54.99

Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”: A Racial, Sexual, and Cultural Critique


Cheah, Joseph, Kim, Grace  Ji-Sun (2014)As we listen to Psy’s music are we laughing at him or with him? This book responds to this question from historical and theological perspectives and tackles the pressing issues …

Available Formats: Hardcover eBook Softcover