Confucian Education and the Formation of Choson Yeongnam Family Precepts 儒家教育與朝鮮王朝嶺南家訓的形成

Project: Research project

Project Details


As Confucianism spread and matured, Choson Korea developed indigenous literature for Confucian education. Through the Confucian classics selected by Yeongnam scholars, this project studies the taking root of Confucian culture in the Korean peninsula. It analyzes how clans erect models of learning through the hereditary and educational functions of family precepts that are created within the doctrines and framework of Confucianism, hence unveiling the core of Korean values and structures.

Confucian classics hold an important place in the history of Korean education, and are used for nurturing officials and as examination subjects. These allowed the classics to spread among the literati and serve as bases for construction of family precepts. This study is therefore significant in two aspects: In education within the clan, the classics served as foundations for precepts that must be handed down across generations, thus enabling Confucianism to become enrooted even in modern Korean society. At the level of nationalistic character, the desire to be acknowledged as legitimate Confucianists drove the construction of family precepts based on the classics, placing Confucianism at the heart of family precepts. These would consolidate from the integrity of the clan to become national values of the Korean nationality.

Initial accounting reveals some 500 documents of family precepts from Choson Yeongnam. These come from some 139 authors writing in different formats and genres, including letters, prose, verse, mottos and inscriptions. The focus of this project lies in (1) explicating the spread of Confucian education in Yeongnam; (2) unravelling the reasons for the local prolificacy of family precepts in Yeongnam; (3) exploring the structure and content of Yeongnam family precepts; (4) analysing their literary genres; (5) describing the indigenous character of Yeongnam family precepts; and (6) portraying the bases that clans serve in the formation of Korean nationalistic values. This cross-culture study also crosses geographical boundaries. Informed by and employing frameworks of culture spread, hermeneutics, genre theory, genealogy, education history, cultural identity, the ground-breaking project studies the how Koreans create precepts for their own clans within Confucian frameworks.
Effective start/end date1/12/1930/11/21


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