Alum Profile: Dr. Sung Deok Oak

Dr. Sung Deuk Oak (Th.D., 2002)
Dr. Sung Deuk Oak (Th.D., 2002)

Sung Deok Oak is an Associate Professor of Korean Christianity at UCLA and the Dongsoon Im & Mija Im Endowment Chair Scholar, which was established under the UCLA Center for Korean Studies. He is one of the core faculty members of the Department of Asian Languages & Cultures (ALC) which is dedicated to the study of the diverse civilizations of Asia, and he is running an online archive for the study of Korean Christianity. This online library provides very valuable tools for researching the history of Korean Christianity in English since it has collected numerous primary and secondary sources along with photos, articles, and books in English.

Dr. Oak earned his Th.D. degree from the School of Theology at Boston University in 2002. His dissertation, “The Indigenization of Christianity in Korea: North American Missionaries’ Attitudes towards Korean Religions, 1884-1910,” under the direction of Dr. Dana Robert examines the first encounter between Western Christianity and Korean religions from a fresh angle. In this in-depth work, Dr. Oak attempts to challenge the prevalent charges of cultural imperialism by the Western missionaries, arguing that Protestant missionaries not only moved beyond proselytism in their approach, but they became, in a sense, harbingers of Korean theology by respecting Korean culture and religions.

He is one of the leading Korean scholars introducing the history of Korean Christianity to the academic world through numerous books and articles. His academic interest ranges from the Korean Bible translation, the ancient Korean religions and their interactions with Christianity, to the Western missionaries who came to Korea and their medical and educational missions. His new book, The Making of Korean Christianity: Encounters of Protestantism with Korean Religions, 1876~1915, is to be published as the first volume of Baylor University Press Series on World Christianity in 2013.

Center for Korean Studies:

His online Archive:

by Hye Jin Lee

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