A Feminising Revolution: The Unification Movement and the "Age of Women"

Lukas Pokorny


Following the demise of Mun Son-myong in 2012, the South Korean Unification Movement has entered an era of female leadership. Mun's widowed wife, Han Hak-cha, rose to become the group's sole new leader. Drawing on a distinct (co-)messianic narrative, while resuming on the given millenarian trajectory – both chiefly shaped by Mun – Han successfully coped with the theological and organisational challenges of the post- Mun age, establishing herself as the prime religious and administrative authority. With the completion of a most crucial providential event in 2013 ("Foundation Day", Han is believed to have ultimately assumed a virtually divine-like theological status, rendering her teachings and actions infallible (qua providential desideratum) according to Unificationist mainline thinking. In the wake of Foundation Day, Han continues to inscribe into Unificationism the mechanics of gender equality and the significance of the female portion of messianity even more resonantly, further elevating her soteriological position and thus the contribution of women to "kingdom-building"in general. This paper discusses in a first step the UM's tradition of female leadership in the past, also introducing the theological foundation of gender relationship. Thereafter, the providential dynamics, especially concerning the so-called "Age of Women"(proclaimed by Mun in 1992) will be outlined. The third major part of the paper deals with post-FoundationDay theology and historical developments, centring on Han's concomitant evolution into God's "Only- Begotten Daughter".


Unification Church; Han Hak-cha; Korean religion; new religious movement; religion and gender




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