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A History of Translation and Interpretation of Genesis up to 1800

정중호 1

1계명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to launch a Korean history of interpretation of the Old Testament beginning in the late 16th century, not in the 20th century. In this study the focus is on the stories of the Creation and the Fall, which were the most well-known Old Testament stories in the early years of Christianity in Korea. These stories were essential in order to introduce the Almighty Creator God. Among the catechisms written in Hanja (Chinese characters), Chunjoo-sillok(天主實錄), Gyoyo-seoron(敎要序論), and Jindo-jajung(眞道自證), are compared to the Old Testament and analyzed. There is a focus on scholars of the Chosun era, since they were literate in Hanja. The story of Creation was explained in order to introduce the Almighty Creator God, and it was interpreted in an oriental way by utilizing the concept of Gi(氣). The seriousness of the Fall is presented with an emphasis on the concept of the original sin. Heaven is described, utilizing the astronomical knowledge of the time, as the nine-fold sky, which contains gods and devils. The contents of Genesis, including the story of Creation, were transmitted through science manuals such as Jikbang-woegi(織方外紀), Gigi-doseol(奇器圖說), and Manmul-jinwon(萬物眞原) which were written in Hanja by Catholic priests. Because Koreans were thirsty for Western learning, these science and technology books enabled the contents of the Genesis to be accepted without much resistance. The Seonggyo-yoji(聖敎要旨) and the Joogyo-yoji(主敎要旨) were also analyzed. Stories of Cain and Abel and the great flood are appeared in the Seonggyo-yoji. Since it was written in Hangeul(Korean script), the book Joogyo-yoji was widely read. By summarizing the catechism of the 18th century and utilizing the popular Korean materials and experiences, the book helped Koreans to understand Genesis. In addition, the book is more faithful to the contents of the Old Testament than any other catechism. The contents of Genesis were communicated even through books that were mainly critiques of Catholic doctrines. Examples of such books are Ojoo-yeonmoon-jangjeon-sango(五洲衍文長錢散稿), Byukwee-pyun(闢衛編), and Cheonhak-moondap(天學問答).

Citation status

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