Rites Controversy.

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    • Abstract:
      After the introduction of Roman Catholicism in China, some Korean tributary envoys, who were regularly sent to Beijing four times a year or on special occasions, visited Catholic churches and met Jesuit priests. The priests gave Catholic books to the Korean diplomats, who in turn brought them back to Korea. Some Korean scholars became so interested in the books that in 1779 Choŏng Yak-jong formed a study group at Ganghakdang to compare the new religion with Neo-Confucianism, which was the state religion in Korea; the group included Yi Byŏk, Kwŏ Ilsin, Yi Gahwan, and two of Chŏng Yak-jong’s brothers. Chŏng Yak-jong was interested in reforming governance in Korea, notably by a system of land distribution based on egalitarian principles and by the placement of people in professions in accordance with their ability, and he drew philosophical strength for his ideas from the Christian faith.