[KS] Name used for "god" in Korean language

lawrence driscoll lawdri at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 31 12:21:50 EDT 2008

Dear List:
Like Professor Ledyard,  I too would hope for this discussion to be embellished by an expert of Buddhism, and perhaps an expert on Korean Buddhism as well. In reading the various threads, I am reminded of the latter day deification of Confucius, something that I'm sure was an abhorent idea in the mind of the Master. 
Best regards,
Lawrence Driscoll> Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 21:02:29 -0400> From: gkl1 at columbia.edu> To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws> CC: erichwein at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: [KS] Name used for "god" in Korean language> > I'm wondering what Erich Weingartner thinks of the discussion > that has resulted from his query, "What is the word in Korean for > "God"? I notice in> going back to his original message that he used the capitalized form > "God" without any definite or indefinite article, whereas the spelling > in his subject line was the uncapitalized "god".> My own supposition is that in saying simply "God", he had in > mind a transcendent, monotheistic deity as in the three Abramic > religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. If that is so, then we > properly have to do with Korean and in some cases broader East Asian > concepts specifically adapted to or created for one or more of these > religions. Given the general history of modern East Asian religion, > this will mean mainly Christianity.> If we are dealing with the word(s) for "god", with an > uncapitalized initial, then we would seem to be moving into a more > complex and mainly polytheistic religious scene of which few could be > master of all the necessary details.> I believe that so far, all five of his questions have been > addressed to one degree or another. But in dealing with the Buddhist > scene, the discussion gets more complicated and subtle, and that's > where we are now.> > It would be good if someone who specializes in Buddhism could > join the discussion, because the issues are fascinating, going far > beyond mere distinctions between "God" and "god(s)" and to what degree > such distinctions are theological or simply matters of popular > perception.> > Gari Ledyard> > Quoting erichwein at hotmail.com:> > > 1. What is the word in Korean for "God"? (Transliteration, please)> >> > 2. Is this an original Korean word, or one introduced by Christian> > missionaries?> >> > 3. Is it the same word used in traditional Korean folk religion (e.g.> > shamanism) and in Buddhism?> >> > 4. Is the same word used in both North and South Korea?> >> > 5. In North Korea, is the same word for "God" used both in reference> > to the Christian God (e.g. in worship services of the Korean Christian> > Federation) and in reference to the "Great Leader"? (Explanation: I am> > told that the word "god" is not used in reference the the GL. However,> > on several occasions my interpreters in the DPRK did use the word> > "god" in reference to KIS. This may have been a wrong translation.> > Example: Referring to the young age at which KIS founded the PKA, one> > interpreter told me, "That is why I consider him a god.")> >> > 6. If not, what distinguishes the two words/concepts used?> >> > Thanks for any clarifications you can render.> > Erich Weingartner> >> >> >> >> > ----- End forwarded message -----> > > 
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