Timeline Index lists Jikji as oldest printed book with metal types on civic group's campaign

By Son Ji-hyoung
  • Published : Sept 19, 2021 - 13:37
  • Updated : Sept 19, 2021 - 18:36

This photo provided by the Jogye Order shows Korean (left) and English translations of Jikji, an ancient Buddhist document. (Jogye Order)
Not-for-profit civic organization Voluntary Agency Network of Korea said Sunday its campaign to petition a website to recognize Jikji Simche Yojeol as the oldest book with movable metal type in the world has borne fruit.

Timeline Index, a Netherlands-based project to collect and disclose information about historic assets, has recently recognized the Buddhist doctrinal book as the oldest book printed using movable metal type, upon VANK’s request for correction, according to VANK.

Printed during the Goryeo Dynasty -- which ruled South Korea during the medieval period -- and published in Heungdeok Temple in 1377, Jikji predates Johannes Gutenberg’s “42-Line Bible” that was printed in the mid-1450s, which set the course of “Gutenberg Revolution” across the European continent to open the gates for the spread of learning to the mass.

Jikji was confirmed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as the world‘s oldest still-existing book printed with movable metal type in 2001 and was included in its Memory of the World Program.

Its surviving copy is currently stored at the National Library of France.

This is the latest development of VANK’s campaign to promote Jikji as a valuable historic asset. So far, VANK‘s campaigners have induced the websites of the Morgan Library & Museum and History of Information in the United States, as well as GB Times in Finland, into changes in order to “deliver the accurate historical fact,” according to the organization.