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Alfred North Whitehead and Yi Yulgok: Toward a Process-Confucian Spirituality in Korea

From the publisher’s website:

This book explores the Confucian-Christian dialogue in Korea through a comparative study of the cosmologies of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), the founder of process philosophy, and Yi Yulgok (1536-1584), the great scholar of Korean Neo-Confucianism. Although their philosophical traditions are different, Yulgok and Whitehead’s perspectives on the universe were very similar. This study argues that Whitehead’s theory of eternal object-actual entity has affinities with Yulgok’s theory of principle-material force. Their two theories, both based on reciprocal dialectical interrelationships, view the world as a cosmos characterized by the process of becoming. Accordingly, Whitehead’s panentheistic interpretation of the God-world relationship correlates with Yulgok’s Neo-Confucian notion of how the Great Ultimate relates to material force. These two concepts suggest a balanced structure of God and the world and offer insights into encouraging interreligious spirituality in Korea.

Chung Soon Lee is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Merrimack College. He is also a Pastor at the First Congregational Church of Waverley-Senuri (UCC) in Belmont, Massachusetts. He received his doctorate in Theology and Religion from the Boston University School of Theology.

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