Asian-American Biblical Interpretation: Evangelical Voices

  Conveners: Milton Eng, Max Lee      Email conveners

Asian American Biblical Interpretation (AABI) has come of age in recent years. Publications continue apace with works as recent as the encyclopedic T&T Clark Handbook of Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics (2019). In addition, Asian American biblical scholars have now attained the highest and most visible positions in the academy including presidents and deans of seminaries, the presidency of the Association of Theological Schools and even most recently the highest office in our premier guild, President of the SBL. Yet, most of such scholarship and representation has come from non-evangelical or mainline theological schools. Evangelicals are less represented.

This new research group provides a space for Asian American evangelical scholars to engage with, critique, integrate and indeed pave new ground in current approaches in Asian American Biblical Interpretation. The fact that the majority of Asian American Protestants are evangelical makes their voices even more imperative. “Asian American” is understood in its broadest sense to include East, Southeast, South Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Asian American biblical interpretation by its very nature is interdisciplinary. Thus, invited guests will include theologians, historians, sociologists and scholars from other disciplines to inform our research.

Our session for 2021 features a panel review of three important books recently authored in the past two years by Asian American biblical scholars who teach in evangelical schools. They include: Te-Li Lau’s "Defending Shame: Its Formative Power in Paul’s Letters," Janette Ok’s "Constructing Ethnic Identity in 1 Peter: Who You Are No Longer," and Chloe Sun’s "Conspicuous in His Absence: Studies in the Song of Songs and Esther" with a new epilogue on the relevance of her work for AABI. The reviewers will present first for 20 minutes followed by an author response for 10 minutes. There will be a panel discussion with Q&A afterwards.

The session theme is “Asian American Evangelical Interpretation: For the Church and the Academy From the Ground Up.” The questions we seek to engage with are: first, what might evangelical, Asian and American biblical interpretation look like; second, how do these examples speak to the evangelical church as a whole and the Asian American church in particular; third, how do these present works contribute towards an overall interpretive methodology?

The reviewers’ papers will be available on the IBR website after October 25th under the Research Groups tab at www.ibr-bbr.org (IBR Member login required). Attendees are encouraged to read the papers in advance though drop-ins are welcome. Non-IBR members are welcome to attend. For further information, please contact Milton Eng (miltoneng@thirdspaceaa.org) or Max Lee (mlee1@Northpark.edu).

It is also hoped that our research group will provide opportunities for mentoring younger and early career evangelical Asian American biblical scholars.

Session Date: Likely Fri Nov 19th. Time and location TBA

Review Papers will be uploaded onto this site sometime late-October

  • Milton Eng, Third Space Asian America, Presiding (3 min)
  • Max J. Lee, North Park Theological Seminary, Presiding (2 min)
  • M. Sydney Park, Beeson Divinity School
    Review of Te-Li Lau's "Defending Shame: Its Formative Power in Paul’s Letters" (20 min)
  • Te-Li Lau, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Respondent (10 min)
  • Bo Lim, Seattle Pacific University
    Review of Chloe Sun's "Conspicuous in His Absence: Studies in the Song of Songs and Esther" + A New Epilogue (20 min)
  • Chloe Sun, Logos Evangelical Seminary, Respondent (10 min)
  • Diane Chen, Palmer Theological Seminary
    Review of Janette Ok's "Constructing Ethnic Identity in 1 Peter: Who You Are No Longer" (20 min)
  • Janette Ok, Fuller Seminary, Respondent (10 min)