본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Civil Examination for High Officials in Choseon Dynasty and its Preparation Procedures with Reference to a Local Saengwon Applicant’s Life-long Diaries by Cho Se-whan

wonchangae 1

1경상대학교 경남문화연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

A very new trend of Korean History begins to scrutinize various aspects of administrative realities of the Civil Examination for High Officials (CEHO, in short), for example, how an applicant committed themselves to prepare so as to pass in particular. This paper investigates such detailed realities of CEHO around 17th century through Cho Se-whan case who served his offical life until the early days of King Sookjong reign, after he passed it in A.D. 1657 (8th reigning year of King Hyo-jong). His preparation procedure is contained precisely in his life-long diaries over thiry three years in which comprehensive events, including peddy affairs, can be divided such three categories as his hometown lives, Capital Seoul lives, and his offical logs. He was originally given a pass in the first examination and entitled Saengwon when he was 19 years old, A.D. 1633 (11th reigning year of King Injo). His diaries were transmitted for the present time after he was 33 years old and contained his trial for CEHO over 10 years. Local passers of Saengwon were asked to submit Attendance Record (AR, in short) of Capital Confucian School Restaurant which is one of the differences contrased to Confucian Students or Yu-hak. As passer of Saengwon, Mr. Cho had fine knowledge in depth on Confucian Classics and he was good Argumentative Writing among Composition Subjects. This background was evaluated to pass regular CEHO by every three year rather than to pass another divisions such as Inside Palace Exam or Extraordinary Exam in which no AR was required. The first step towards CEHO asked all applicant to cover over 150 points (more or less half a year attendence, at least) of AR. This is why he went up to Seoul so frequently and then lived at Capital Confucian School as well as near-by villages so as to get the pre-requisite AR sufficiently. He also could apply a division of Confuician Followers in CEHO in addition. He estimated himself that he was superior in Debate Division of Confucian Classics to Composition Division for Memorial Days. He got 2nd rank points and was at last nominated ‘Tam-wha-rang’ in a regular CEHO held in A.D. 1657 (8th reigning year of King Hyo-jong). His daries informed us detailed procedures from the applicant perspective; how he prepared the examinations, the way in which the first step passers, Saengwon and Jinsa, tried to get required AR points in general, Confucian Follower Examination held solely for Capital Confucian School and its correlated pass rate, royal permission for Honorary Pass and so forth. All of these facets reflects the actual realities vividly around 17th century which we could not find any source from Administration Code, Chronological Data and others.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.