Performing the bible in the Korean context: Korean ways of reading, singing, and dramatizing the scriptures

Sung Uk Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study explores the performative nature of the Bible as a sacred text in the Korean context. Drawing on the theory of scriptural performance advocated by James W. Watts, I investigate its character as words and contents. First, I delve into the scriptural performance of thoroughly reading (and listening to) the Bible at the level of words. Second, I scrutinize the scriptural performance of singing and dramatizing the Bible at the level of contents. The specific context of South Korea—whether religious, cultural, or social—alerts us to the performed transformation of the semantic range of the long-standing Christian tradition. Given the cultural differences between Western and Eastern Christianity, I contend that the adaptation of Christianity to Korean soil renders the performative dimension of the scriptures all the more semantic. In other words, the Korean ways of performing the Bible are essentially deeply rooted in those of signifying it. In the long term, Christianity turns out to be such a global religion that it provokes a more complex analysis of its scriptural performance in its widely differing range of semantics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number268
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported (in party) by the Yonsei University Future-Leading Research Initiative of 2018.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies

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