The Cave and the Butterfly
An Intercultural Theory of Interpretation and Religion in the Public Sphere
Imprint: Cascade Books
"Fluent in theological and philosophical reflection, Paul Chung herein engages in a learned conversation across disciplines and cultures. Woven into the fabric of his discussion are insightful linkages to biblical texts and contemporary social issues."
--Terence E. Fretheim, Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary
"Public Theology has become an extraordinarily challenging task that few can attain today. Paul Chung, who already has demonstrated sensitive and comprehensive readings of theology and philosophy through a Barthian / Bonhoefferian proficiency contributes a compelling approach in this volume. The public of theology is no longer mono-centric but multi-centric and Chung masterfully links the Western and Asian polarities. The coherency of his account does the reader great dialogical benefit. This volume is indeed a real achievement of East/West theology as it masterfully maintains the centrality of revelation through Jesus Christ. Public culture is rife with conflict and as such is reflective of its all-too-human condition as the massa perditionis. Chung shows how this condition of the human can be redemptively transformed through taking the Word of God with utmost hermeneutical seriousness."
--Kurt Anders Richardson, Professor in the Faculty of Theology, McMaster University
"This book transcends hermeneutics in any conventional sense. In response to the crisis of modern technological existence and the contradictions of global capitalism, Chung guides the reader on an intercultural quest for authentic and responsible humanity. The wisdom of the East reorients us to our place in the natural world, and the truth of the incarnate Word sends us into the public sphere to encounter God in the face of the least (Minjung). We are invited to open ourselves to the way of embodied emancipatory praxis."
--Craig L. Nessan
Wartburg Theological Seminary
"Paul Chung invites us to join him in the quest for the truth in which he joins contemporaries of antiquity: Plato (the Greek from the Western world and his metaphor of the cave) and Laozi (the Chinese from the Eastern world and his metaphor of the butterfly), and interprets them through the eyes of each other. We are taken on a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary journey that seeks to advance a genuinely inter-cultural art of interpretation in the quest for the truth. In the world of the twenty-first century, marked by what is called 'the clash of civilizations,' such interculturality is indeed urgent."
--H. Martin Rumscheidt
Atlantic School of Theology, Halifax, Nova Scotia
"An intriguing inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural exploration that seeks to develop a public, socially embodied, theology of God's Word drawing on both Western and East Asian traditions."
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary
"I enjoyed this book, especially the survey of recent major thinkers as they bear on the question of encounter between religious traditions."
--Andrew P. Porter
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
"Chung's book is at once an epistemological-hermeneutical essay and an essay on the reality of God as physically and socially embodied, with a Theologia Crucis at its center. It offers a creative alternative to 'christomonism,' which undermines the Jewish identity of Jesus and conceals the identity of the God of Jesus Christ, not only as the God to whom Judaism, Christianity, and Islam bear witness, but also as the God to whom 'irregular' witnesses may be found in East Asian religions, and even in non- and anti-religious traditions."
--David J. Lull
Professor of New Testament, Wartburg Theological Seminary
"Paul Chung stands at the crossroads of East and West as a unique and provocative interpreter of philosophical and theological traditions for the sake of reconciliation in a world of difference. The Cave and the Butterfly brings wide-ranging philosophical knowledge to important questions of social and political engagement in a globalized world."
--Dwight Zscheile, Assistant Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership, Luther Seminary