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

Walraven, B.C.A. B.C.A.Walraven at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Tue Sep 8 05:20:45 EDT 2015


You may already know the article by John Jorgensen who argues in great detail that the Tan’gun myth is a Koryo product, composed under the influence of Buddhism. The bibliographical details you can find in Breuker’s book.


Boudewijn Walraven

From: Koreanstudies [mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreanstudies.com] On Behalf Of Andrew
Sent: maandag 7 september 2015 11:20
To: koreanstudies at koreanstudies.com
Subject: [KS] Three topics - Re: Senyeon-ga; Dan'gun discourse; teaching Buddhist history

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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