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A Korean man, from a land where many people are noted for their devotion to Christianity, my faith has been a big part of my life for many years. My central interest is in the area of early Christianity and the search for what we can and cannot know about the historical figure of Jesus Christ. XXX University is my first choice primarily because of its renown in this and related areas and the general reputation of the school as an excellent learning environment.
I seek a well rounded education in the area of religion with Western Religion as my area of special consideration, especially Christianity. As a teacher or professor, I will try to recover the original meanings of scriptural texts and to interpret or re-interpret the original messages in light of our current situations. My country has accomplished amazing economic breakthroughs and great progress towards the construction of a sound and well functioning democracy that have now enabled us to leave behind many of the scars and ruins of the Korean War. In a commensurate fashion, the Korean church has also completed both quantitative growth and qualitative growth. It has over ten million Christians and several mammoth churches having more than ten thousand people each. In addition, nowadays, there is little place where the Korean missionary is not dispatched all over the world. However, in spite of the massive growth in Korean Churches, many Christians still have attained only a shallow understanding of the historical profundities of Christianity and the missionary tradition. Many also labor under unbridled materialism that militates against their faith and spiritual growth. I hope to set a good example in this regard as a most diligent and devoted student and teacher of the original gospel.
Many well intentioned ministers are often given to sermonizing and teaching the Scriptures without the kinds of relevantly historical understanding of the texts as they developed in their historical contexts. As a result of the training that I hope to receive in your program, I hope that I will become a much more excellent minister as well as teacher, preaching in a way that is relevant and meaningful to the light of my own nation's situation.
After completing my studies, I will return to my home in Korea and hopefully find a position at a local church or school. To accomplish my academic and vocational goals, I am certain that Indiana is the best place to receive the thoughtful education that I need. Your academic environment and rich resources will be critical for my studies. I very much wish to be a part of your M.A. program to develop my own potential and ability, as a professional, a global citizen, and someone who is able to much better understand the Christian faith in historical context, its relevancy for the here and now, especially in the developing world, and to also better appreciate our faith through exposure to a variety of religious traditions.
There are two principal or fundamental reasons driving my application to your program. First of all, I want to develop my ability to read texts in light of their own textual and contextual backgrounds. The more I study the Scriptures, the greater the need that I feel to answer the most fundamental question: What did the words mean to the original audience or reader? Studying textual and contextual backgrounds, especially historical criticism, will surely help me to answer this question and to have the ability to help my students to understand some of these critical issues as well. I seek to apply these new abilities and knowledge to help me create a coherent meaning between the literary and historical context, on the one hand, and the immediate relevance of this knowledge to the specific context of Korean society, particularly in light of what many of us see as a spiritual depression that has come to us as the downside of such rapid economic development. In this respect, I am certain that your faculty, provisions, and the renowned resources of IU are exceptional and will provide me with the theological and pastoral knowledge, experience, and awareness that will prepare me to think critically and creatively from a variety of perspectives, and in relevant ways for our developing world.
Most specifically I am intrigued with the way in which the centuries that passed between the last books of the Hebrew canon and the emergence of both rabbinic Judaism and Christianity are especially crucial for the development of both traditions. Thus, I am sure that to investigate texts historically and exegetically in this period will enable me to much better understand the origins of Early Christianity as well as the interrelations between Early Christianity and Judaism.
I have been preparing myself for this course for a long time and this is why I read and write both Greek and Hebrew. In college, I majored in Philosophy and then went on to complete a Master's of Divinity Degree in Korea. I have also worked as a student pastor in charge of training youths in four different churches, serving church choirs as a conductor and studying English in Australia where I audited a number of theology courses at Australian universities. Upon my return to Korea, my M.Div. Thesis was selected as the best in the field of Systematic Theology. By the time that I will begin your program at IU, I will have also completed my Th.M. Degree at Duke University.