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In this paper, I examine briefly the contents and character of King Jeongjo(正祖)’s comprehension of the Analects of Confucius(『論語』) in his last years, expressed especially in his Discussions on the Analects of Confucius in Summer(『魯論夏箋』). In this book, he made a display of his profound Confucian scholarship and statecraft as a distinguished Confucian scholar and the king of the day. The main contents of it are as follows: ① King Jeongjo elucidated his original reinterpretation of the Analects of Confucius in the context of emphasizing the necessity of systematic and practical Confucian statecraft and the reinforcement of sovereign right. ② He firmly expressed his dogmatic beliefs in the Learning of Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi(程朱學) in his capacity as a ‘king and master’(君師) deliberately and repeatedly with his main political intention in order to restore the moral obligations and public order of the late Joseon dynasty(朝鮮王朝)’s society through a series of forum of Chogyemunsinjedo(抄啓文臣制度, The Royal Confucian Reeducation System of Civil Ministers holding a Junior Position) established as an annex in Gyujanggak(奎章閣, The Royal Academic Institute for the National Compilation). ③ He laid special emphasis on the Confucian learning of earnest questions and practical experiences in everyday life to Chogyemunsin(抄啓文臣, The Junior Civil Ministers under the Royal Confucian Reeducation System). ④ He presented his unique methodologies of interpreting and understanding of Confucian Classics including the Analects of Confucius to Chogyemunsin. ⑤ Lastly and on the other side, he not only developed his independent political theories of Confucian kingcraft, in which he refused to place absolute trust in Neo-Confucian moral politics blindly, but also on the basis of them, he criticized and wanted to reform the political situations of the then Joseon(朝鮮) regime prudently. In conclusion, King Jeongjo’s thoughts of Confucian scholarship and kingcraft mentioned above seem at a glance to have some logical inconsistencies in contents. But these inconsistencies should be appreciated to be derived from his dual and dissonant social standings, i.e. ‘the king of the Joseon dynasty’ and ‘an enlightening Confucian forerunner of the day’.


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King Jeongjo, Gyujanggak(The Royal Academic Institute for the National Compilation), Chogyemunsinjedo(The Royal Confucian Reeducation System of Civil Ministers holding a Junior Position), Chogyemunsin(The Junior Civil Ministers under the Royal Confucian Reeducation System), the Analects of Confucius, Discussions on the Analects of Confucius in Summer, the Learning of Confucian Classics(Jing xue), the Learning of Kingcraft, the Learning of Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi, the Confucian Learning of Earnest Questions and Practical Experiences, Neo-Confucian Moral Politics.