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The transmission of the White Deer Grotto Regulations in China and Korea

Subproject by Martin Gehlmann

The establishment of Confucian academies during the Song-Dynasty is traditionally attributed to the Confucian thinker Zhu Xi (1130–1200) and the revival of White Deer Grotto-Academy. The purpose of the project is to determine to which degree White Deer Grotto Academy and institutions related to it (curriculum, study regulations, ritual activities, etc.) were used as model for the later development of the academy culture and referred upon, adjusted, criticized or neglected. Even though Zhu Xi’s teachings, from the Yuan-Dynasty to the coming of modernity, were accepted as an orthodox interpretation of the Confucian canon, his practical devices for the implementation of Confucian education were frequently transformed according to changing historical, intellectual, and social conditions. The original concept of the academy, educating local youths and disciples of Zhu Xi, started to serve as an ideal for Confucian literati to organize and institutionalize their teachings in opposition to the state educational system and the ruling concepts of the Confucian tradition. The prominent role in the process of dissemination of Confucian academies, not only in China but also in neighboring countries, belongs to Zhu Xis academy regulations which were, and still are, considered as a manifesto of the Confucian academy movement and education in a broader sense. However their “canonicity” did not hinder a variety of transformation during their transfer process in both synchronic and diachronic dimensions. This phenomena is described with a special focus on Confucian academies of the Yuan- and Ming-times in comparison to acceptance of the Chinese academy model in 16th and 17th century Korea.