The text which you hold in your hands contains the Divine Principle, the teaching of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. The earliest manuscript of the Divine Principle was lost in North Korea during the Korean War. Upon arriving as a refugee in Pusan, Reverend Moon wrote and dictated a manuscript called Wolli Wonbon (Original Text of the Divine Principle). He then guided Hyo Won Eu, the first president of the Unification Church of Korea, to prepare more systematic presentations of his teaching with biblical, historical and scientific illustrations. Reverend Moon gave President Eu special instruction regarding the content of these texts and then checked them over meticulously. These efforts resulted in Wolli Hesul (Explanation of the Divine Principle) published in 1957 and Wolli Kangron (Exposition of the Divine Principle) published in 1966. For the past thirty years, Wolli Kangron has been the text of Reverend Moon’s basic teaching.
Exposition of the Divine Principle is the new authorized English translation of Wolli Kangron. The first English translation, The Divine Principle, was made in 1973 by Dr. Won Pok Choi. Dr. Choi labored with considerable erudition to select the proper terminology and convey the complex thought of this text. Aware of its sacred nature, she made a point of producing a literal translation. Through this work, she laid the foundation for the teaching of the Divine Principle in the Western world. In recognition of Dr. Choi’s pioneering work, when Reverend Moon commissioned this new translation he requested that the translators seek out her advice. She gave constructive guidance and played an active role in improving the translation. In a real sense, her hands have guided this project.
For this version, the translators have sought, above all, to accurately render the meaning of the Korean text into clear English. The style of the Korean text, in keeping with the most erudite efforts of that generation, employs long and complicated sentences with numerous embedded clauses expressing complex relationships. It is simply not possible to express every nuance in the compact, linear structure of modern English. Whereas modern English wants to pin down every thought in an unequivocal proposition, the Korean of that time often renders thought loosely and dynamically, utilizing metaphor and context to convey meaning. Wherever a literal translation would not adequately express the thought and argumentation of the text, we have rearranged the order of thought in a manner more suitable to the Western mind. At times we used creative phraseology rather than dictionary definitions to evoke comparable understandings, feelings and cultural associations.
Furthermore, the Divine Principle employs some technical terminology and gives distinctive meanings to certain common words. Wherever possible, for this translation, we drew from common English vocabulary rather than invent new theological terms. Hence, ordinary words may be invested with distinctive meanings, for example: “indemnity,” “condition” and “foundation.” Proper understanding requires attention to their particular usage in the text.
The time and cultural context of this book was another issue for the translators. It was written in the 1960s, when communism was still a worldwide menace and Christianity was still confident of its cultural superiority and continuing expansion. Although these and other conditions of the time may have changed in the intervening decades, we have preserved the original perspective of the text. God’s providence continues to advance precisely as explained in the Divine Principle.
In one sense, this new version seeks to accomplish more than a conventional translation. In the 1960s, when Korea was still recovering from the ravages of the Korean War, there was a paucity of historical and scientific texts available for study. This hindered President Eu in his efforts to accurately frame the scientific and historical examples which he employed to illustrate the operation of the Divine Principle in nature and in history. As authorized by Reverend Moon, and with Dr. Choi’s guidance, the translators drew upon the knowledge of scholars in various fields and made minimal, necessary changes in certain scientific, historical and biblical illustrations. Nevertheless, throughout the translation, we adhered strictly to Reverend Moon’s wishes that the integrity and purity of the text be maintained. Finally, the new translation has been carefully and extensively reviewed by church elders Rev. Young Whi Kim and Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak and has received their blessing.
In the deluxe color coded edition, the colors are based upon the 39th Korean edition of Wolli Kangron with colors prepared by Mrs. Gil Ja Sa Eu. The main ideas are shaded red, topics of second rank are shaded blue, and topics of third rank are shaded yellow. The reader can grasp the main thread of the teaching of the Divine Principle in a short time by reading only the red text. Reading the red and blue text together provides a richer framework; reading all three colors together gives a rather full exposition including many examples. To get the fullest meaning, the text must be studied in its entirety. Yet even when reading the full text, attention to the passages in red can help to clarify the thread of the argument.
Exposition of the Divine Principle expresses a truth which is universal. It inherits and builds upon the core truths which God revealed through the Jewish and Christian scriptures and encompasses the profound wisdom of the Orient. Through this translation, we hope the deep message of the Divine Principle may be better understood in the Western world.
The Divine Principle Translation Committee March 1996