HYI Working Paper Series: Kim Jihyun

조선말기 삼성(三聖) 신앙과 경전 형성 -《성계집(聖乩集)》을 중심으로- ("Three Deities Faith and Distribution of Scriptures in the Late Chosŏn: Based on the Collection of Holy Spirit-Writing") (Kim Jihyun, Seoul National University)

Abstract: In 1896, the Chosŏn 朝鮮 Dynasty ceased to exist, thus beginning an era dubbed the Great Korean Empire (Daehan jeguk 大韓帝國 1897-1910) in which western systems of government and education were introduced. In emulation of Meiji Japan (1868-1912), keywords in this period were “enlightenment (kyemong/qimeng 啓蒙)” and “opening toward civilization (kaehwa/kaihua 開化).” The fundamental changes that occurred in this period are often explained by rationalization; that is, a paradigm shift to western views of time and nature and the introduction of modern system. In other words, ignorance was dispelled by rationalism implemented through modern institutions. However, in investigating the religious history of late 19th and early 20th century Korea, ‘irrational’ factors such as divine revelations provided powerful momentum toward modernization and reform. This paper focuses upon previously neglected sources, including 19th century spirit-written text, Sŏnggye jip 聖乩集 (C. Shengji ji), which reveals the unfolding of Daoist culture which emerged from the challenge and quest for a new world in the late Chosŏn period (17th-19th centuries). In particular, this article aims to explore the religious faith and practice with relation to Three Deities (samsŏng/sansheng 三聖) in the reign period of Kojong 高宗 (reigned 1863-1907), the last Chosŏn king and the first emperor of the Great Korean Empire, from the perspective of comparative studies of Chosŏn and late Qing (1644-1911) China. In particular, it explores the background of publication and distribution of various texts of the Three Deities by commend of Kojong in this period.