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Salvation through DissentTonghak Heterodoxy and Early Modern Korea$
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George L. Kallander

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837167

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837167.001.0001

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(p.147) Conclusion
Salvation through Dissent

George L. Kallander

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. This book has attempted to put into perspective Korea's tumultuous nineteenth century by examining how religious practices became politicized within the context of the imperial threat. It discusses how Tonghak developed and evolved in the climate of heavy state emphasis on orthodoxy, heightened in response to campaigns of religious suppression in China and to Catholic and foreign threats against Korean sovereignty. Ch'oe Cheu brought together home instruction, Neo-Confucian ethics, Daoist elixirs, Buddhist practices, and Christian monotheism to create a new rural doctrine dedicated to family values, healing, and the revival of social cohesion. Although the Tonghak community failed in its attempt to force the state to recognize spiritual equality in the 1890s, its efforts led to the emergence of a powerful symbol of resistance that was later adopted by Koreans as the basis of opposition to imperialism and authoritarianism.

Keywords:   Tonghak, Korea, religious practices, religion, Ch'oe Cheu, imperialism, authoritarianism

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