Been thinking about Han… 恨

My Theology professor has introduced me to a new concept, Han, which comes from the Korean culture:

“feeling of unresolved resentment against injustices suffered, a sense of helplessness because of the overwhelming odds against one, a feeling of acute pain in one’s guts and bowels, making the whole body writhe and squirm, and an obstinate urge to take revenge and to right the wrong—all these combined.” – Yoo, Boo-wong (1988). Korean Pentecostalism: Its History and Theology. New York: Verlag Peter Lang. p. 221.

Alright then… he ties it to sin, among other things.For more, read his book The Wounded Heart of God: The Asian Concept of Han and the Christian Doctrine of Sin

Sometimes, I think we Westerners could learn a lot from our neighbors.

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Author: Joel Watts

Joel L. Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. and MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014). his latest, Jesus as Divine Suicide, is forthcoming.

6 thoughts on “Been thinking about Han… 恨”

  1. I really like the concept Han and of bringing back the concept of “sinned against” into discussions of sin so that we can talk about the victims, the victimized, and the victimizer, to me it makes it a much more (w) holistic discussion of the actions of the individual and the community and what it means to talk about structural, individual, and communal modes forgiveness and transformation. My one concern with the concept of “han” is the name “han” keeping it looked in the Korean term “han” provides a certain “untranslatablity” of the concept and is very essentializing basically positing, that the specifically “Minjung” experience of “han” is the only experience of it and no other person or groups can have this totalizing experience. Many Korean Christian theologians carry the concept forward from the “Minjung” to all Koreans so I believe that it can be done carefully and artfully to talk about other experiences and to bring up the experience of African-Americans during slavery and then post-civil war era as well, to give one example.

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