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Integration Processes in the Circulation of Knowledge

Cases from Korea

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Edited By Marion Eggert and Florian Pölking

Korea, geographically situated at cultural crossroads, has a long history of creative engagement with knowledge from outside sources. This volume discusses processes of knowledge integration – of interpretive adaptation, dissection, selection and re-assemblage, of reduction and amplification, as well as of blending with existing cognitive structures – in pre-modern and early modern times. The articles assembled deal with a wide range of sources (including material objects as carriers of knowledge) and with diverse fields of knowledge, spanning the realms of philosophy, religion, literature, military and technical knowledge, and political thought. Together, they richly illustrate the transformative powers inherent in re-configurations of knowledge.
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Vladimír Glomb - Yulgok and Laozi: Integration of the Daodejing - into 16th Century Confucian Discourse

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Vladimír Glomb1

Yulgok and Laozi: Integration of the Daodejing into 16th Century Confucian Discourse

Abstract Yulgok Yi I’s commentary on the Daodejing presents a unique attempt to integrate a Daoist text into Korean Confucian discourse. The aim of this paper is to analyse strategies Yulgok used to compose the text of Sunŏn and how his approach toward the Daoist classic influenced the circulation of his treatise among Korean literati.

Integration of new knowledge into Confucian discourse has been studied predominantly from the perspective of temporal actuality: new was understood as contemporary, and in most cases also as unusual or strange (a classical example would be the case of Western knowledge). Korean Confucian tradition had a much broader range of areas lying out of its borders, which could become (and often became) sources of new knowledge possible to integrate into existing canons. As the main sources of inspiration or polemics served Chinese non-Confucian currents on the one hand and related contemporary Chinese intellectual debates on the other. Most of the impulses, which aroused the intellectual curiosity of the Korean literati, were by no means modern or contemporary and belonged rather to a classical intellectual tradition; a fascinating variety of Chinese antiquity texts and philosophical schools was an unknown and attractive realm present at hand. Korean scholars were well aware of the richness of the intellectual debates of Chinese philosophical currents and frequently engaged in inquiries on these topics. The book...

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