New Horizons in Confucian Studies
Internalizing Morals and the Active Intervention of a Moral System: Zhu Xi and Yi Hwang’s Theories of kyŏngmul 格物 and mulgyŏk 物格
Kim Hyoungchan, 5
A Religious Approach to the Zhongyong: With a Focus on Western Translators and Korean Confucians
Seonhee Kim and MinJeong Baek, 27
The Korean War and Christianity
“All Man, All Priest”: Father Emil Kapaun, Religion, Masculinity, and the Korean War
Franklin Rausch, 61
Reframing Christianity on Cheju during the Korean War
Gwisook Gwon, 93
A Postcolonial Self: Korean Immigrant Theology and Church
by Choi Hee An
reviewed by Andrew S. Park, 121
Memory and Honor: Cultural and Generational Ministry with Korean American Communities by Simon C. Kim
reviewed by Franklin Rausch, 124
Guest Editor’s Introduction
Richard D. McBride II, 5
The six articles in this special issue explore aspects of the history of Pure Land Buddhism in Korea. Two essays deal with the Three Kingdoms and Silla periods, two papers treat topics in the Koryŏ period, and the final two articles break new ground in the Chosŏn period. Several articles reveal a close relationship between Pure Land practices and the Hwaŏm tradition, which was the dominant doctrinal school during the middle and late periods of Silla (ca. 668–935) and was the most influential intellectual tradition at court in the Koryŏ period (918–1392).
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 6, no. 1 (2015): Pure Land Buddhism in Korea”
Guest Editor’s Introduction
Don Baker, 5
The five articles in this special issue explore the relationship of the Confucian government of the Chosŏn dynasty with religion and ritual. They reveal how much more that government was concerned with the ritual behavior of its subjects than have been the modern governments of the Republic of Korea. These articles also show that, unless we consider how important ritual behavior was to pre-modern government officials, we will misunderstand or overlook some important developments in the history of the Chosŏn dynasty.
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 5, no. 2 (2014): Religion, Ritual, and the State in Chosŏn Korea”
Guest Editor Carl Young, 5
The topic of this special issue is “North Korea and Religion.” At first glance, religion and North Korea are two subjects that may not appear to be closely associated. North Korea is a communist country and Marxist Communism has traditionally been very negative towards religion. Although North Korean communism has often strayed far from its Marxist roots, in relation to religion, the North Korean regime has actually gone beyond many communist regimes in its repression and control of religious organizations. As shown by several articles in this special issue, the policy of the North Korean state towards religion has gone through several phases and its relations towards religious organizations have been complex, ambivalent, and unpredictable, in many ways in line with much of the regime’s behavior on other issues. …
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 4, no. 2 (2013): North Korea and Religion”
Guest Editor Timothy S. Lee, 5
Every generation interprets and reinterprets its past—or should. This maxim rings true with respect to Christian missionary experiences in Korea. Ever since 1875, when Charles Dallet’s (Catholic) Histoire de l’Église de Corée was published, or 1929, when L. George Paik’s The History of Protestant Missions
in Korea, 1832–1910 was published, scholars have been interpreting and reinterpreting Christian missionary experiences in Korea. This interpretive legacy is being honored in this issue of the Journal of Korean Religions. In it are seven articles contributed by some of the most active English-language scholars of Korean Christianity working today. As a contributor and organizer of a symposium that gave rise to these articles, I am grateful to JKR for publishing them—and in doing so advancing the conversation on the history of Christian missions in Korea, in particular, and the history of Korean Christianity, in general…
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 4, no. 1 (2013): Interpreting Christian Missionary Experiences in Korea”
Laurel Kendall, 5
I agreed to comment on the three contributions to this symposium in a desire to see how the study of shamans in contemporary Korea is developing. I was curious about how and in what ways it continues to attract the attention of young scholars like Dong-kyu Kim and Jun Hwan Park, as well as offering new questions to veterans of Korean shaman studies like Jongsung Yang. As these contributions abundantly demonstrate, and as many of us have argued for a long time, there is no such thing as a fixed “Korean shamanism,” but rather a body of religious practices that survive precisely because they are fluid, responsive to other changes in Korean society. Like quicksilver contemporary South Korea, and the shamans who share in its dynamism, scholarship too is a moving target, with new projects and new approaches continuously added to the conversation. At the same time, all of these works build upon some viable scholarship that has gone before.
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 3, no. 2 (2012): Korean Shamans in the Present Tense”
Boudewijn Walraven, 5
The past century has seen a huge imbalance in the study of Korean Buddhism. Most attention has been devoted to the early period and particularly to Buddhism in Silla, where Wŏnhyo (617–686) emerged as a towering figure whose influence reached far beyond the Korean peninsula. Koryŏ, too, received considerable attention, particularly thanks to the printing of the Tripitaka, which became the basis for the Taishō Canon that is used as a standard edition by modern buddhologists. … With the advent of the Chosŏn court in 1392, however, the gradual adoption of Neo-Confucianism as the new state’s ideology implied a drastic deterioration of the position of Buddhism, which no longer could claim to be the dominant system of belief and was severely weakened institutionally. Twentieth-century scholars of Korean Buddhism (among whom quite a few Japanese) accordingly adopted a negative perspective on Chosŏn Buddhism. … Yet, Late Chosŏn Buddhism merits more attention, at the least because of the important role it continued to play in society, perhaps not at the official, public level, but in the private lives of people of all classes.
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 3, no. 1 (2012): Late Chosŏn Buddhism”
Don Baker & Seong-nae Kim, 5
In this second issue in volume two of the Journal of Korean Religions, we continue our exploration of Korea’s complex religious culture while continuing to interrogate the meaning of “religion” in a Korean cultural context.
The five articles in this issue, dealing as they do with Confucians, Christians, Buddhists, and mudang, reflect the diversity of religious life on the peninsula. Moreover, they challenge attempts to impose a simplified definition of religion on Korea’s religious complexity, to dig unbridgeable trenches separating Korea’s various religious communities from one another, or even to distinguish between real religions and pseudo-religions in Korea. We hope this issue will stimulate further scholarly discussion of how the term “religion” has been used in a Korean context as well as of how best to represent and analyze the complex phenomena that form Korea’s religious culture.
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 2, no. 2 (2011): Korean Religions in Inter-Cultural Contexts”
In Search of “Korean-ness” in Korean Religions through Border-crossing: A Comparative Approach
Nam-lin Hur, 5
What elements make Korean religions distinctive? This is an issue that has attracted a lot of attention from many scholars in the field. What would be an effective avenue to approach the ways in which external religions are adapted or transformed to Korean society and culture? In this article, Hur suggests that the task of tackling this question can benefit from a border-crossing approach, particularly through comparison with Japanese religions that offer a range of contrasting features. In order to illustrate this, Hur offers two examples that sharply distinguished Korean religions from Japanese religions in early modern times. One is the value of filial piety which dominated Korean Confucianism but was almost invisible in Japanese Confucianism. The other is Buddhism’s role in funerary rituals and ancestor worship: Buddhism in Chosŏn Korea was kept at bay from the dominant ritual arena of ancestor-related rituals; in contrast, Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan was the central agent of funerary rites and ancestor worship rituals. Hur suggests that border-crossing, comparative approaches that involve Japanese cases can contribute to de-localizing Korean religions and, at the same time, to localizing Korean-ness found in Korean religions in the context of society and culture.
Keywords: filial piety, ancestor worship, funerary rituals, Confucianism, Buddhism
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 2, no. 1 (2011)”
Seong-nae Kim & Don Baker, 5
Korea offers both challenges and opportunities for scholars of religion. The opportunity it presents comes from its religious diversity. The Republic of Korea is the only country in the world in which both Buddhists and Christians each claim between 20% and 30% of the population. It also has what may be the most visible community of practicing shamans in the industrialized world. There are more Confucian shrines per capita in Korean today than in any other nation on earth. And Korea is home to a large assortment of new religious movements, ranging from the Unification Church to Daesoon Jinrihoe. In addition, close to half of the South Korean people say they have no particular religious affiliation. There is, therefore, much for a scholar of religion to study in Korea.
Continue reading “Journal of Korean Religions, vol. 1, nos. 1&2 (2010): Problematizing ‘‘Korean Religions’’”