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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
 
 
Title THE CHALLENGE OF WESTERN LEARNING AS HETERODOXY: RE-READING THE SŎNGHO SCHOOLS CONTROVERSIES AND CONFLICTS OVER WESTERN LEARNING IN CHOSŎN
 
Author
KIM SEONHEE
Volume Vol. 19 No. 2
Pages pp. 193~216 (all 24 pages)
Publication Date DECEMBER, 2016
Keyword Confucian Orthodoxy, Daotong, Heterodoxy, Matteo Ricci, Sŏngho Yi Ik, Sŏngho School, Western Learning
Abstract Confucian Orthodoxy, Daotong (K. Totong Գ), which establishes Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism as Right Learning (), is an idea transcending history in the sense that it is unaffected by the passage of time or contingent factors, whereas Daotong discourse (Գ), which distinguishes heterodoxy from the viewpoint of Daotong, is always a historical praxis and a logic operated by a specific historical momentum. Daotong discourse had not been a topical issue in Chosŏn since the time it had accepted Zhu Xi () and his interpretation of Confucianism as orthodoxy. Only after the Jesuits entered China in the sixteenth century to introduce their theocentric worldview and academic system that supported it did the need to update a list of heterodoxies and to re-operate Daotong discourse emerge. The Jesuits introduction of Western Learning () did not provoke an immediate backlash from scholars in Chosŏn. Research on Western Learning by Sŏngho Yi Ik ( , 1681–1763) with his open and practical attitude was a good example. However, the vigorous research on Western Learning eventually came to divide the Sŏngho School into two groups the pro-Western Learning line () and the anti-Western Learning line (), schools of thought that came into conflict. This article examines the attitudes of Sŏngho and his School members towards Western Learning, not by focusing on the dichotomy between pro- and anti-Western Learning, but by focusing on civilization and the expansion of Confucianism, because, as far as Daotong is a universal idea guaranteeing social order and the moral cultivation of individuals, it is also an idea of civilization. If viewed from the perspective of civilization, Western Learning can be regarded, not as mere heretical discourse, but as a practical and intellectual resource that can encourage moral cultivation, improve public welfare, and develop nations, and acceptance of Western Learning can be viewed as a matter of academic and technological progress rather than merely that of orthodoxy. In this context, the controversy within the Sŏngho School that attempted to include not only philosophical speculations but also practical knowledge into the essential nature of Confucianism may be estimated as being an attempt to expand Confucianism, regardless of any individual members stance on the issue.
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