The Gourd and the Cross: Daoism and Christianity in Dialogue


서강대학교 종교학과 명예 교수님으로 계시는 김승혜 교수님께서 도교와 기독교라는 영문 저술을 출간하셨습니다.


The Gourd and the Cross goes back to an actual dialogue that occurred in Korea in 1998, between Sister Kim, a Catholic nun and professor of Chinese religions, and two Korean Daoist scholars, a philosopher and a practitioner of internal alchemy. First published in Korean in 2003, the work consists of eight chapters discussing methodological issues as well as specific topics. Reflecting highly personal understanding and exploration, it correlates Dao and the reign of God, compares Jesus and the sage of the Daode jing, and matches ideas of freedom in the Zhuangzi and the New Testament. It also establishes a dialogue between Daoist mind-fasting and Christian unknowing, examines concepts of Eastern immortality versus Western egalitarianism, and discusses visions of nature and humanity in the two religions, both traditionally and in terms of modern ecology. It concludes with an exploration of the interaction of Daoism and Christianity in Korean folk piety. Breaking exciting new ground, it brings Daoism to the fore in the growing field of interreligious dialogue. A must for anyone concerned with the changing face of religion and its impact in the contemporary world.


Sung-hae Kim, a Catholic nun since 1965, earned her doctorate in Theology at Harvard University in 1981. After that, she served as professor of Chinese religion at Sogang University in Seoul until 2006, writing and editing twelve books as well as numerous articles and presentations in the field of Daoist Studies. Since her retirement, she has worked as the general councilor of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Chicago.


There are very few books published on comparative studies between Daoism and Christianity. Sister Kim's book provides a first blueprint for other scholars to follow and will make a great contribution in the fields of comparative theology and mysticism, interreligious dialogue, and world religions. As the editor of Fons Vitae volume on Merton and the Tao, I highly recommend this work as a groundbreaking scholarly study on Daoism and Christianity. As an Asian, Sister Kim has the required skills and the experiential knowledge to move freely between the gourd and the cross. She feels at home building bridges of understanding between the two traditions so we no longer can ignore what Daoism and Christianity share in common. Her clarity is evident throughout the book, especially in the way she addressed the questions from the audience. She invites the reader to ruminate upon the unique sources of spiritual wisdom found within both traditions without undermining the clear theological differences that exists between the two. -- Cristobal Serran-Pagan, Valdosta University Many people ask what Daoism can contribute to Christianity. Kim's book richly answers this question. A Catholic nun and Korean Daoist scholar, Kim shares her intrepid thirty-year exploration of the Daoist world. The book reveals not only deep scholarly insight, but also closely documents her personal reflections on how Daoism has enriched her understanding of the godhead, Jesus, the world, the human condition, prayer, and piety. Kim patiently ponders these Christian themes while illuminating Daoist doctrines. She presents an excellent demonstration of how a Christian can read across traditions and find that the cross-reading can both reinforce and challenge beliefs familiar to Christian life. The scholar of Daoism will find surprising new avenues for dialogue, as well as observations of Daoist life in the contemporary Korean context. Anyone interested in Christian-Daoist dialogue or in a demonstration of what interreligious learning can do should read this book. -- Bede Benjamin Bidlack, St. Anselm College


1. Daoist Culture from a Christian Perspective

2. Dao and the Reign of God

3. Jesus and the Sage

4. Freedom in Zhuangzi and the New Testament

5. Mind-Fasting and Unknowing

6. Immortality and Egalitarianism

7. The Gourd of Small Penglai

8. Daoism and Christianity in Korean Folk Piety



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