CHEONGJU, South Korea, Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A limited edition book containing the modern reinterpretation of ancient Korean "Jikji Shimche Yojeol," the world's earliest existing book printed with movable metallic keys, has been published ahead of the Jikji Korea festival, the organizing committee of the festival said Monday.
The book titled "Jikji Speaks to the World" contains explanations of four experts so a wide range of readers can understand the contents of the ancient book.
The four authors are Ok Young-jung, a professor at the Academy of Korean Studies; Seo Myeong-won, a Korean Buddhism professor at Sogang University; literary critic Jung Yeo-ul; and Ven. Hyunjin, chief priest of Maya Temple in the city of Cheongju, central South Korea.
In the book, Ok gives an explanation on the mystery of the Jikji publication process and takes a bibliographical approach to the publication.
Seo, a Frenchman who is versed in Korean Zen Buddhism and a Jesuit priest, gives the reader an explanation of the ancient book's insight that stands apart from the world's religions.
Jung reorganizes some of Jikji's touching stories into essays, while Ven. Hyunjin gives an easy introduction of Jikji's contents that helps heal the modern from an ascetic's point of view.
A reproduction of Jikji's second volume is contained in the book, with the four experts' writings printed on semitransparent paper, so that the reader can read them with the Jikji text.
The organizing committee, which printed only 500 volumes of the book, plans to sell it at a price of 10,000 won (US$8.95) on a first-come-first served basis when the Jikji Korea Festival is held next month.
Published in Heungdeok Temple in Cheongju, 137 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the ancient book is now an established symbol of the ingenuity of the Korean people. Jikji was printed 78 years ahead of Johannes Gutenberg's "42-Line Bible," the earliest existing work of metal movable type printing in Europe which was published in 1452-1455.
Unfortunately, the original document was looted and ultimately ended up in the National Library of France in Paris. It was not until 1972 when late Park Byung-sun, the former librarian of the French state library, found the lost national treasure.
UNESCO confirmed Jikji as the world's oldest metal-printed book in 2001, and included it in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme that year.
SOURCE 2016 JIKJI KOREA Organizing Committee