Three Deities Faith and Distribution of Scriptures in the Late Chosŏn: Based on the Collection of Holy Spirit Writing


Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Common Room (#136), 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Harvard-Yenching Institute Weekly Talk Series; co-sponsored by the Korea Institute

Jihyun Kim
Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Seoul National University

Jihyun Kim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea. She received her B.A. (1999) from the Dept. of Religious Studies, Seoul National University and disciplined in Master Course at the same institution. She obtained her M.A. (2005) and Litt. D. (2010) from Kyoto University, majored in Chinese Daoism, particularly exploring the practice and daoist scriptures of medieval period. She held academic positions as an Assistant Professor in Zinbunken (Institute for Research in Humanities) and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Integrated Humanities at Kyoto University (2010-2015). Her research theme in HYI is “Revelations and Daoist Culture in the Late Chosŏn Dynasty,” under the host of Professor James Robson. Her main research object includes 19th century spirit-written text, Sŏnggye jip 聖乩集 (C. Shengji ji), which reveals the unfolding of Daoist culture emerged from the challenge and quest for new world in the late Chosŏn period (17-19 centuries). In particular, her research 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.

Chaired by James Robson, James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

In 1896, Chosŏn 朝鮮 Dynasty ceased to exist, thus beginning an era of the Great Korean Empire (Daehan jeguk 大韓帝國 1897-1910) in which western systems were introduced. In emulation of Meiji Japan (1868-1912), keywords in this period were “civilization (kaehwa/kaihua 開化).” The fundamental changes that occurred in this period are often explained by modernization. However, in investigating the religious history of late 19th and early 20th century Korea, ‘irrational’ factors such as divine revelations provided powerful momentum toward reformation. This talk focuses upon a previously neglected religious text, Sŏnggye jip 聖乩集 (C. Shengji ji), the Collection of Holy Spirit-writings, which reveals indigenization of Chinese religious practice as well as the quest for ‘enlightenment and reformation’ in the late Chosŏn period (17-19 centuries). In particular, I will explore the religious faith and practice with relation to Three Deities (samsŏng/sansheng 三聖), Guanyu関羽, Wenchang文昌, and Luzu呂祖 in the reign period of Kojong 高宗 (reigned 1863-1907), who had a strong will to reform the state, exploring the background of publication and distribution of various texts of the Three Deities by the command of Kojong.