Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Toward a theology of maum: The broken body of God and the broken bodies of comfort women
by Chong, Hwa Young, Ph.D., Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2009, 261; 3356206
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores how God is manifested in the broken bodies of women. My theological claim is that maum, or body/bodies, should be at the core of our understanding of God. My research traces how the witnesses of Korean comfort women survivors, with their courageous and tenacious power despite the immense injustice done against their maum, add new voices in the understanding of God.

I begin with the examination of the maternal images of God in both Western feminist thought and Korean traditional religions and find that these images do not fully express the immensity of God’s love and power from the perspective of broken bodies. I argue that the han of broken maum must be seriously considered in our understanding of God and then turn to the historical experiences of Korean comfort women. The painful stories of comfort women reveal the devastating effects of wartime violence and sexism. Comfort women survivors are not just victims of sin but also bring powerful voices to feminist theology and Christian communities, revealing the subversive power of God.

In considering the theological question of the presence of broken bodies, I find that there is continuity between the broken maum of suffering women, the broken body of Jesus on the cross, and the broken bread/rice in sacramental meals. The common bond in these broken bodies is a witness to God’s power to heal brokenness, restore justice, and build new communities.

My study concludes that Korean comfort women, in their particularity as women, not as “mothers”, shed light on God, and God gives hope to Korean comfort women and Christian communities in the midst of our brokenness. Korean comfort women and their maum show us the depths of God’s love for us in the face of human evil.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bedford, Nancy
Commitee: Duck, Ruth, Park, Andrew S., Rector, Lallene
School: Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Department: Graduate School
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Theology
Keywords: Body, Comfort women, Communion, Korea, Maum, Power, Rice, Women
Publication Number: 3356206
ISBN: 978-1-109-16203-5
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