Next Article in Journal
Gertrude Stein and the Metaphysical Avant-Garde
Previous Article in Journal
Religion and International Relations in the Middle East as a Challenge for International Relations (IR) Studies
Open AccessArticle

Confucian Exemplars and Catholic Saints as Models for Women in Nineteenth-Century Korea

Department of World Languages and Cultures, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Religions 2020, 11(3), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030151
Received: 10 March 2020 / Revised: 17 March 2020 / Accepted: 18 March 2020 / Published: 24 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Women in Joseon Korea (1392–1910) were held to high standards of virtue, which were propagated through didactic texts such as the “Chaste and Obedient Biographies” volume of Lienü Zhuan, the Chinese classic featuring biographies of exemplary women. Joseon women who converted to Catholicism were also educated in standards of Catholic virtue, often through the biographies of saints, which shared with the Confucian exemplar stories an emphasis on faithfulness and self-sacrifice. Yet, the differences between Confucian and Catholic standards of virtue were great enough to elicit persecution of Catholics throughout the nineteenth century. Therefore conversion would have involved evaluating one set of standards against the other and determining that Catholicism was worth the price of social marginalization and persecution. Through a comparison of the Confucian exemplar stories and Catholic saints’ stories, this paper explores how Catholic standards of virtue might have motivated conversion of Joseon women to Catholicism. This comparison highlights aspects of the saints’ stories that offered lifestyle choices unavailable to women in traditional Joseon society and suggests that portrayals of the saints’ confidence in the face of human and natural oppressors could also have provided inspiration to ease the price of conversion. View Full-Text
Keywords: early Korean Catholicism; Confucianism; women and Catholicism; Catholic saints early Korean Catholicism; Confucianism; women and Catholicism; Catholic saints
MDPI and ACS Style

Torrey, D. Confucian Exemplars and Catholic Saints as Models for Women in Nineteenth-Century Korea. Religions 2020, 11, 151.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop