The Subtle Path to Heterodoxy: Reflections on the Concept of ‘Yiduan’ in the Jinsilu


  • Milan Hejtmanek Seoul National University



Heterodoxy, Korea, Chosǒn dynasty, Neo-Confucianism, Jinsilu


Neo-Confucian philosophy in the Korean Chos?n period (1392-1910) partook of a moral discourse that drew extensively on Song Chinese texts from the 11th and 12th centuries.  Among these, the Jinsilu (Reflections on Things at Hand), compiled by Zhu Xi and Lü Zuqian in 1175 proved especially influential.  This paper examines in detail a central theme of the Jinsilu: heterodoxy or yiduan, situating it both within the broader traditions of earlier Confucianism and as well as within the context of Neo-Confucian thought or daoxue as it was developed the 11th century, by the brothers Cheng Yi and Cheng Hao. It identifies three distinct, if overlapping conceptions of heterodoxy in the Jinsilu. The paper argues that the most pessimistic and aggressive attitude toward the danger of straying from the orthodox way and the condemning of those who had done so derived from Cheng Yi. His thought and sense of near dread concerning heterodoxy would prove highly influential in Chos?n Korea.

Author Biography

Milan Hejtmanek, Seoul National University

Associate ProfessorDepartment of Korean HsitorySeoul National University


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