Asso. Prof. David W. Kim

PhD (Syd), MA (Qld), GDip (Qld), BMin (CHC)
Honorary Lecturer, School of History and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, United Kingdom
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 61-2-(0)490-107-579

Areas of expertise

  • Historical Studies 2103
  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303
  • Asian History 210302
  • Religion And Religious Studies 2204

Research interests

Religion and Politics, Transnational Asia, Women in East Asia, Korean Society, Colonial Studies, Asian Christianity, new religious movements, Diaspora Studies, Gnosticism, and Coptic Literature.


David W. Kim (PhD: Syd) is a Honorary Lecturer at the School of History, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (RHistS), United Kingdom, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (RAS), United Kingdom, Chair for ANU Religion Conference Committee and the Chair for the National Association of Foreign Scholars in Korea (NAFSIK). 

David is a book editor, Journal editorial board member and reviewer:

  • Editor: Series in Modern East Asian Religion and Culture (Cambridge Scholars                                                   Publishing, UK)
  • Article Editor: SAGE Open Publications (A&HCI, April, 2015 – Present)
  • Editorical Board Member: Humanities & Social Sciences Communications (SSCI,                                              April 2022 - Present)
  • Editorial Board Member: Journal of Koreanology (KCI, June, 2016-present)
  • Editorial Board Member: Journal of Busan Studies (KCI, Jan., 2019-)

Journal Reviwer:

  • Routledge (New York) (May, 2015 - Present)
  •  Journal of Religious History (A&HCI: Mar., 2017 - Present)
  • Journal of Church and State (A&HCI, Oxford University Press: June, 2017 – present)
  • International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society (SCOPUS: Jan., 2017 - Present)
  • Journal of Cogent Education (ESCI and SCOPUS: July, 2018 - Present)

Kim’s publications include Sacred Sites and Sacred Stories Across Cultures: Transmission of Oral Tradition, Myth, and Religiosity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), The Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas: The Genesis of a Wisdom Tradition (Routledge, 2021), Daesoon Jinrihoe in Modern Korea: The Emergence, Transformation and Transmission of a New Religion (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020), New Religious Movements in Modern Asian History: Sociocultural Alternatives (Lexington, 2020), Colonial Transformation and Asian Religions in Modern History (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), Religious Encounters in Transcultural Society: Collision, Alteration and Transmission (Lexington, 2017), Religious Transformation in Modern Asia: A Transnational Movement (Brill, 2015) and Intercultural Transmission in the Medieval Mediterranean (Continuum, 2012).

Researcher's projects

1. Sacred Sites and Sacred Stories Across Cultures: Transmission of Oral Tradition, Myth, and Religiosity (Palgrave Macmillan, Switzerland): 2018-2021.

This book offers global perspectives from Mediterranean, Asian, Australian, and American cultures on sacred sites and their related stories in regional history. Contemporary society witnesses many travelers visiting sacred sites (temples, mountains, castles, churches, houses) throughout the world. These visits often involve discovery of new historical facts through the origin stories of the associated tribe, region, or nation. The transmission of oral tradition and myth carries on the significant meaning of those religious sites. This volume unveils multi-angle perspectives of symbolic and mystical places. The contributors describe the religio-political experiences of each regional case, and analyze the religiosity of local people as a lens through which readers can re-examine the concept of iconography, syncretism, and materialism. In addition, contributors interpret the growth of new religions as the alternative perspectives of anti-traditional religions. This new approach offers significant insight into comprehending the practical agony and sorrow of regional people in the context of contemporary history.

2. Syngman Rhee and East Asian Democracy: Political Philosophy, Religion and Korean Modern Politics (Manuscrpt: 2019-2023)

South Korea has been a republic for over a half century (since 1948). During the post-colonial period the national leaders not only politically tried to demonstrate Americanised democracy from the traditional monarchy of the Chosun dynasty, but also socio-culturally developed the Korean Peninsula under the critical mentalities of anti-communism and anti-Japanese colonialism. In this regard, Dr Syngman Rhee (1875 – 1965) has been researched by Korean and international scholars, but this research will re-picture his political philosophy in relation to his religious ideology. Unlike former presidents of South Korea, Rhee was a westernised leader who had a strong network with foreign political and religious leaders. The nation of South Korea received support from international organisations during the Korean War (1950-1953). For there were few Korean people who were educated from the western society in the early twentieth century of Korea, it could be a question if the Harvard and Princeton educated Rhee was not considered as the first president of the Republic of South Korea. It would be another wonder if one realises that Dr Rhee was a Methodist who attended the world Methodist conference in USA in early twentieth century as a representative of the Korean Methodist congregation. His intellectual nationalism and religious transformation, supported by American missionaries, became the internal and external strength for the political achievement of Dr Syngman Rhee who is the father of Korean democracy.


3. The Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas: The Genesis of a Wisdom Tradition (Routledge, Oxford): 2018-2022.

This volume is structured around a reading perspective in which each Logion (114 in all) of the Gospel of Thomas is approached equally and interpreted logically to redefine the genesis of the Jesus tradition in the history of early Christianity. The new hypothesis is demonstrated in the way that the original text, during the time of a generational transition, was creatively written by the ‘one point five (1.5: child eyewitnesses) generations’ of Jesus, out of oral tradition and casual notes once possessed by the historical figure of Didymus Judas Thomas. If the ‘genetic address of Thomas,’ indeed, is in the stream of the written Logia tradition (45-60 CE) before the canonical Gospels, one should not only not deny that the Jewish wisdom (sophia) tradition survived the transitional process, but also recognize that there may be yet more undiscovered Qs. This book, with a pioneering spirit, argues that Thomas does not exactly fit into the traditional Q, but uniquely contains ‘the Thomasine-Q tradition of Jesus.’




Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  09 December 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers