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Female Images of God in Christian Worship

In the Spirituality of "TongSungGiDo</I> of the Korean Church


Kim MyungSil

Female Images of God in Christian Worship: In the Spirituality of TongSungGiDo of the Korean Church examines problems that arise from the use of exclusively patriarchal images in modern Christian worship. The author asserts that female images in the Bible could help worshippers find a relationship with God and provide encouragement and comfort in difficult situations. As a Korean Christian, MyungSil Kim explores the possibilities of employing God’s female images in the services of the Korean Church, noting that Korea’s native religions, the ancient religions and Muism, had many female deities unlike patriarchal foreign religions such as Buddhism and Confucianism. These female deities have comforted the Korean people when they experienced han, a distinctive emotion of deep sadness and resentment that is characteristically Korean. TongSungGiDo, the unique Korean prayer style of communal lament, provides an opportune space and time for the consideration of female images in the Bible. MyungSil Kim examines how female images could more effectively function in the context of TongSungGiDo in accordance with traditional practices to express the complementarity among the concepts of han, lament, female images of God, and prayer. This book is strongly grounded on biblical studies, feminist studies, Christian ethics, and religious studies, including principles of inculturation. The volume is a valuable resource to pastors who are sensitive about language justice in worship and to those seeking to explore feminist theology and particularly feminist liturgical studies.
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Chapter 2. In Her Image: The Traces of Female Deities

← 36 | 37 → Chapter 2


While the practice of Hebrew religion was built on ancient Israelite henotheism (the exclusive worship of one God, without denying the existence of other gods) and later monotheism, we can see some evidence in the Hebrew Bible that the Israelites may have worshipped many other gods/goddesses in public. How could this be possible under the henotheism of the Israelites? Because the idea of the Hebrew deity may have been influenced by traditions of goddess worship in the ancient Near East, we need to investigate female divine beings in the religious traditions of the ancient Near East, particularly as related to YHWHism in Hebrew religious tradition.

It is especially necessary to deal with issues in the Hebrew Bible related to Asherah. Asherah’s identity was questioned and confused even in biblical times, but she was mostly regarded as a foreign goddess and thus refused recognition by most prophets in the Hebrew Bible. An investigation of Asherah will provide many insights for those who hope to overcome the misconception in Hebrew religious traditions and in Christianity that female images/metaphors/symbols of God are opposed to the concept of One God, or only a reaction against the male-like God.

Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia, is the earliest area of human civilization in the world. It lasted as a civilization from the late sixth millennium B.C.E (a Neolithic period—the first agricultural revolution) through the Uruk period (4th millennium B.C.E) and the Dynastic periods (3rd millennium B.C.E) until the rise of Babylon...

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