Teaching Asian seminarians in the shadow of the Holocaust / by Alan Ka Lun Lai.
The core thesis of this dissertation is to argue that the Holocaust and the theological reflection it requires are not exclusively a Western issue but also a concern for Asians who share the Christian heritage. By Asians I refer to those North Americans who are influenced by the Confucian way of life, such as Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese. For Asian Christians to think that they share no responsibility for the Holocaust, and thus ignore such theological reflections have disastrous implications for the future of Christianity and Jewish-Christian relations. For centuries, Christian self-identity was built upon a distorted understanding of Judaism. Asians came to know the Christian faith through the preaching and teaching of Western missionaries in an era when anti-Judaism was the acceptable norm in interpreting Scriptures. As a member of the Christian family, it is a dangerous attitude on the part of Asian Christians to think that they are unaffected by the Holocaust. To support my point, I examine the problematic writings of selected Asian theologians, the context of the development of Asian churches in North America, and the relationship between Evangelicalism and Confucianism. I also compare the works of two Asian theologians, C. S. Song and Peter Phan, as a way to spot the problem and to look for alternatives.Because of the tendency to bypass theological reflection of the Holocaust, the task of theological education for Asian students is challenging. If anti-Judaism is theologically unjustifiable, then the practice of educating seminarians must be altered. My key concern is: How should seminaries teach Asian Seminarians after the Holocaust so that the past mistakes of the church are avoided? Through exploring both the Western and the Asian cultural traditions on transformational learning, I discuss the spiritual dimension of teaching and learning. I concluded by saying that core commitments of seminary education are to free Christianity from anti-Judaism, to involve the entire faculty, to enable seminarians to see the beauty of Judaism, to provide forums for the better understanding of the religiously others, and to use dialogue in teaching.
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