Essays about Korea and the philosophies and religions of East Asia which passed through. The essays observe Korean philosophy and religion as systems in their own right and argue for their specific relevance in Korean society, while considering their larger relevance to China and Japan.
Publisher: The Society For Korean And Related Studies
Fifteen years ago, when I was a most ignorant young man with a fresh B.A. degree in history and was trying to decide how to spend my life, I had lunch with a man reputed to be an authority on the history and culture of East Asia. I told him of my interest in Korean history and asked if he thought I should pursue it. His reply was, "Well, Korea really doesn't have much of a history."
The discussion did not proceed very well after that.
Perhaps he meant to say that Korea has played the historical role of recipient of Chinese culture, and transmitter of culture to Japan, and that scholars were not paying much attention to the middleman, whose role is boring. In case of culture and religion, however the middleman cannot just make out bills of lading and send on packages; he has to open them all and consume the contents. Whatever the next recipient gets, there results at least a much enriched middleman.READ MORE
The essays that follow are about Korea and about the philosophies and religions of East Asia which passed through. It is satisfying to see that they observe Korean philosophy and religion as systems in their own right and argue for their specific relevance in Korean society, while not neglecting their larger relevance to China and Japan.
These essays are, as they say, uneven. They reflect the present state of scholarship on Korea, and readers will benefit from them by learning the state of the art.
John S. Brownlee
Associate Professor of Japanese History
Chairman, Department of East Asian Studies
University of Toronto.