About the word “Psalms”

About the word “Psalms”

 *This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see this

The book of Psalms is composed of 150 individual psalms. It probably occupies the largest portion of the entire Bible in the Protestant tradition. The quantity may not have any special meaning, but I would say it is possible to think that the largeness indicates the book’s significance in the Christian canon. Well, anyway, this important book is called “the book of poetry” in Korean Christianity, which is a little different from other Christian communities in the rest of the world. The subject of this writing is, thus, about the implications (or problems) of the designation “the book of poetry.”

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What is Hallelujah?

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see this

If you are a Christian, you would probably be familiar with the term “Hallelujah.” As you know, it means “praise the Lord” or something. But if you didn’t have a chance to get involved with any Seminary education, you may not know this word in Hebrew. Well, actually I think you don’t have to know this word in Hebrew. Thus, I dedicate this post to “Surplus-Christians,” who would bother to search for certain surplus pieces of knowledge, spending a lot of time, even though those ares not particularly useful in their lives. (it’s a joke :-)) 

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What/Who on earth is Qohelet?

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see  this.

Qohelet is the protagonist of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible. In some (older) English translations, including ESV, KJV, ASV, RSV, and WEB, the word “Qohelet” is translated as “the Preacher.” In some other translations, such as NIV and NRSV, the word appears as “the Teacher.” Additionally and unusually, Good News Bible (GNB) takes the word as the “Philosopher,” and Common English Bible (CEB) as “the Teacher of Assembly.” Among the translations, the most well-known designation is the “Preacher.” But Qohelet is not really a preacher or a teacher in the sense that we usually understand the terms. Perhaps, Qohelet could be seen as a teacher, since his writing, known as Ecclesiastes, is edifying after all. But the Hebrew word, “Qohelet,” does not mean “teacher.” Also, we do not call every speaking subject who provides moral and intellectual lessons teacher.

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Old Testament vs. Hebrew Bible

Ideological Issues of the term, “Old Testament”

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see here

Christian Scripture, commonly called “the Bible,” is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament comes first in the Bible and occupies an enormously large portion of it, compared to the New Testament. The “New Testament,” of course, means a new covenant, whereas the “Old Testament” gives an impression that this particular corpus of texts is something old: so it is perhaps obsolete or inferior to the new covenant. I know Christians don’t think this way, but, in terms of the designations themselves, it is true that people rarely think that something “old” is equal to or better than something “new.” Even Jesus says “no one puts new wine into old wineskins” (Luke 5:37). For this reason, there are people who don’t like the name “Old” Testament, and some of them prefer the term “the First Testament.” Despite the limitations or the negative connotations of the name “Old” Testament, however, most Christians seem reluctant to replace the old name with the alternative. That is, perhaps, because they are so deeply familiar with the name “Old Testament.” Or maybe they think that the designations are not a big deal, as far as they are aware that the Old Testament is as important as the New Testament. In other words, even though the “Old Testament” is not the best designation for the corpus of these texts, the discussed problems do not strongly motivate most Christians to seek an alternative for the “Old Testament.” With respect to this point, the mentality of many biblical scholars would probably be the same. Nevertheless, most biblical scholars, whom I know or read, usually prefer the “Hebrew Bible” to the “Old Testament.” Then what on earth caused them to abandon their old habit, to push them out of their comfort zone, and to use an alternative, “Hebrew Bible?”

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Solomon or Qohelet?

Solomon or Qohelet?

*This post was originally posted in two languages (Korean and English) back in 2017, and now I separated it into two. For a Korean version of the post, see this

Ecclesiastes. . . . A problematic biblical text that entails many intriguing questions. Among them, the real identity of the protagonist of the book is, perhaps, the reader’s very first task that should be carried on to understand the text. If you have learned that the main speaker of the book is Solomon if you believe it with no doubt whatsoever, and if you have never been curious about the identity of the protagonist of the book, you might probably have never thought how many intriguing questions the text generates. If you are like this type of reader, this article may be able to open your eyes to see very different or maybe shocking aspects of the book. But don’t be afraid. We are simply going one step closer to this text’s historical aspects.

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