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  • P-ISSN1229-0076
  • E-ISSN2773-9351

The Learning of Principle and the Governing by Culture in Joseon

The Review of Korean Studies, (P)1229-0076; (E)2773-9351
2020, v.23 no.2, pp.11-37
https://doi.org/10.25024/review.2020.23.2.002
이봉규 (인하대학교)

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Abstract

This article examined the characteristics of rule by culture, which Joseon established based on the learning of principle, from the following three aspects: the use of Family Rites in the enactment and revision of state rites and ritual; the education of the sovereign during royal lectures based on the ideology of the learning of principle; and the reliance on revering the Confucian king and practicing the Confucian king as the ideology guiding state affairs based on the Sino-barbarian dichotomy of the learning of principle after Qing was founded. The main findings include first, that the public aspect of the king’s rites was strengthened through Family Rites, and the king was led to practice the duty of filial piety and veneration through the performance of rites to naturally carry out virtuous rule by observation of and absorption of ritual practices. Second, when educating the king on the learning of the sages, the appropriate control of the human mind and the simultaneous training of fostering and the perfection of knowledge based on learning of the sages according to the learning of principle were emphasized. The system included the inviting scholars that were not in power called rustic literati to royal lectures and having them teach the learning of the sages to the king and express their opinions regarding state affairs. In addition, using Classic of the Mind and Heart as a textbook of royal lectures was a unique characteristic of Joseon and shows that the royal lectures were an important space of political activity. Third, before the emergence of Qing, Joseon believed itself to be the legitimate heir of the learning of Zhu Xi. The initial policy towards Qing of repelling the barbarians by stabilizing domestic affairs based on revering the emperor and expulsing the barbarian was the application of the policy of the learning of principle that had been taken in the past against the threat of the Jin dynasty. As things stabilized in Qing, practicing the Confucian king, or using Sino-culture and civilization to transform barbarians, and thereby realizing monarchy in Joseon so that it would spread to Qing became the basic direction of policy. King Jeongjo carried out compilation projects that saw the study of the principle of the ChengZhu learning as orthodox, and the establishment of the manual of state ritual including Comprehensive Study of the Board of Rites and Comprehensive National Code were products of the will to realize a system of monarchy in Joseon.

keywords
rule by culture (munchi 文治) family rites (garye 家禮) royal lecture (gyeongyeon 經筵) foster (hamyang) and perfection of knowledge (chiji 致知) Sino-barbarian dichotomy (hwai 華夷) revering the Confucian king (jonwang 尊王) and practicing the Confucian king (haengwang 行王)

The Review of Korean Studies