Hailed by leading South Korean academics as the most significant research on the history of Korean Catholicism to date, Professor Jai-Keun Choi of Yonsei University in Korea explores the origin of the Roman Catholic Church in the Korean peninsula. Professor Choi raises important historical questions as: What were the historical forces that allowed Roman Catholicism to take root in the 19th century Choson Korea despite official governmental efforts to stamp out Catholicism through systematic persecution? What was the Korean populist reaction to Roman Catholic missions? What was the role that native Korean converts played in the spread of Catholicism throughout Korea? With a keen eye to the delicacies of conflicting historical forces, Professor Choi adroitly explains the complexities of the clash of civilizations in the experience of Choson Korea, where Korean Confucianism responded with greatest hostility to Roman Catholicism from the West. This book makes a significant scholarly contribution t only in the study of Korean history but also in such academic disciplines as sociology of religion, anthropology, political science, and international relations.