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The Dynamics of Knowledge Circulation

Cases from Korea


Edited By Eun-Jeung Lee and Marion Eggert

The book is about the evolution and transformation of knowledge and knowledge systems in the context of cultural contact. The articles take Korea as an example and deal with the configuration, dissemination and consolidation of knowledge in certain contexts of the past and present. Combining philological and social scientific approaches, this book is the result of a joint research project of the Korean Studies institutes at Freie Universität Berlin and Ruhr University Bochum pursued between 2009 and 2014.


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Part II. Dissemination


Part II Dissemination Thorsten Traulsen The Rise of the Text Style ‘Vernacular Explication’ (ŏnhae) in Early Chosŏn Korea, 1392–1598 - Diglossia, Canon, and Hermeneutics - Abstract The invention of the han’gŭl alphabet at the beginning of the Chosŏn dy- nasty with its new state ideology of Neo-Confucianism entailed a re-negotiation of the role the vernacular had to play therein, and finally resulted in prescriptive and literal ‘vernacular explication’ (ŏnhae 諺解) of the canonical scriptures� Introduction After one millennium of diglossia on the Korean peninsula, the establishment of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910) brought with it not only a new state ideology in the form of Neo-Confucianism, as defined by the Chinese scholar Zhu Xi (1130–1200), but also in 1443/4, the invention of a ‘true alphabet’ that made writing the vernacular simple and easy and moreover could also serve as a national emblem� This study looks at the process of how the role of the vernacular in general and the new alphabet in particular was renegotiated within the new state ideology, and considers its treatment in official documents and canonical scriptures� Besides the dynamics opened up by the invention of the alphabet, the function of Buddhism, both as a precedent case in terms of using the vernacular and as an ideological opponent, is shown to be a relevant element within this process at the end of the 16th century in the editing of ‘vernacular explication’ (ŏnhae) of the Neo-Confucian canonical scriptures� 1. The invention of a...

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