[KS] Three topics - Re: Senyeon-ga; Dan'gun discourse; teaching Buddhist history

Andrew zatouichi at gmail.com
Mon Sep 7 05:20:14 EDT 2015

Dear all,

Three separate topics/questions.

1) *Se'nyeon-ga response*

Thank-you kindly for the very useful links.

I've taken the Han Yong-u (韓永愚) 해재 article on the SNY library site, but
couldn't see the Chin Chaegyo article Sem Vermeesch mentions, but certainly
I'd be interested.

At first glance the 歷代世年歌 原本(縮小影印) 외 version also available from the SNU
library doesn't seem to be the same as the book version I had photographed,
but I should spend some time looking at it before making assumptions!

2)* Dan'gun*

Because my thesis is a survey of popular historiography focusing on early
Korea, much of it discusses treatment of Dan'gun. I've developed some of my
own thoughts/observations on this subject and recently drafted a conference
paper, a part of which is an attempted response to Breuker's treatment of
Dan'gun in his *Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea* (2010);
this is meant only in the spirit of developing (or at least revisiting) the
discourse, as in all other respects I've found Breuker (2010) - and his
other writings on historiography - extremely enlightening and infinitely
more sophisticated than anything I am capable of myself.

In relation to Korean mythography (and my thesis), I have just been reading
Gardiner's 1982 Korean Journal articles "The Legends of Koguryŏ" which are
essentially annotated translations of the primary sources.

My question is, are there any classic (or recent) articles of this high
quality that discuss the Hwan'ung-Dan'gun myth? I recognize there has been
a greater tradition of scholarly interest in the Dongmyeong/Jumong myths
(going back to Japanese colonial work such as Shiratori's seminal 1938
article "The Legend of Kin Tung-ming.." in *Memoirs of the Research
Department of the Toyo Bunko*), no doubt in large part because it is much
earlier attested mythology; meanwhile Dan'gun has been largely high-jacked
by pseudo scholarship and modern nationalist discourse, which I imagine has
turned most people off.

(If anyone might be interested in my draft paper - although it's rather a
mess - I would be happy to share it in order to stimulate some discussion
and ideas).

3) *Teaching Buddhist history*

This term I am teaching an introductory undergraduate course "Premodern
Korean history" which I last prepared and taught two years ago. Whilst I
need to revise my notes in general, a point I remember is that I was
unsatisfied with the narrative of Korean Buddhist history (or rather lack
of). My problem was, the way I taught it, each of the famous monks seem to
unify disparate or polarized schools of Buddhist thought at different
periods, culminating with Jinul (知訥). No doubt this is a shallow
understanding, so my question is how can I improve on this. How can Korean
Buddhist history be taught as an interesting narrative? (Recognizing
developmental narratives maybe artificial - but still useful), or are there
better approaches? Has anyone else encountered similar problems?

For reference, I mainly rely on Grayson's *Korea-A Religious History* (2002)
which I find works quite well as a general survey on premodern Korean
intellectual history (and even Korean history in general); I take a few
more details from Buswell's works too.

Andrew Logie
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