[KS] Exclusively(?) Catholic terms in pre-20th c. Chinese and Korean texts

BakerDon ubcdbaker at hotmail.com
Sat Jan 16 18:05:00 EST 2010

I may be wrong on this (and would much appreciate being corrected if I am) but I've always thought that Tianzhu was such a minor deity in Chinese Buddhism that few Chinese Buddhists were even aware of that term.   Critics of Catholicism in both China and Korea regularly accused the Catholics of being just like the Buddhists because of their promise of heaven and their threat of hell, but I haven't come across any critics who accused them of stealing the name of their deity from Buddhism. Those critics were usually more concerned about the early Catholic claim that Tianzhu was another name for the ancient Chinese deity called Shangdi. 

Don Baker ProfessorDepartment of Asian Studies University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2 don.baker at ubc.ca

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 04:16:24 +0900
From: baeksuki at yahoo.co.kr
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject: Re: [KS] Exclusively(?) Catholic terms in pre-20th c. Chinese and	Korean texts

The term Cheonju (C. Tianzhu and not Tianju)
is nowadays considered as exclusively Catholic, but one should keep in mind
that it has Buddhist (and, I read somewhere, Taoist) origin, since it refers to
a Buddhist divinity. For this reason, European missionaries in China proposed
to remove this term from the Chinese Catholic terminology on two occasions, the
first time in 1627 and the second at the end of the 19th century (I forgot the
exact date).

But this Buddhist origin
of the term tianzhu also let some
less cultivated missionaries to think that Christianity had a long history in
China … since tianzhu appeared in
some Buddhist temples.


Regarding the two last
terms, ch’eondang (tiantang) ang chiok (diyu), keep also in mind that they were
used in antichristian texts of the 18th and 19th centuries China and Korea in
order to show that Catholicism was nothing but a heterodox teaching similar to
Buddhism (or an avatar of Buddhism). Tiantang
and diyu were of course Buddhist
terms as well.




Pierre-Emmanuel Roux

--- 10/1/16 (토)에 Kwang On Yoo <lovehankook at gmail.com>님이 쓰신 메시지:

보낸 사람: Kwang On Yoo <lovehankook at gmail.com>
제목: Re: [KS] Exclusively(?) Catholic terms in pre-20th c. Chinese and Korean texts
받는 사람: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
날짜: 2010년 1월 16일 (토요일) 오전 11:29

Dear Debererniere Janet Torrey,

Yes, Cheonju (C. Tianju 天主) is one of the exclusive Catholic Terms but other 

4 are nothing but common nouns.


Kwang-On Yoo

On Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 2:33 PM, DEBERNIERE JANET TORREY <djt188 at psu.edu> wrote:

Dear Members,

In a 2002 book on Korean Literature and the early
Catholic movement (Hanguk Munhak gwa
Cheonjugyo), Kim Inseop states that the following terms were exclusively

Cheonju (C. Tianju 天主), 

yeonghon  for soul (C.
linghun 靈魂)
bulmyeol for immortality (C. bumie 不滅)

 ji-ok for hell
(C. di’yu 地獄)
cheondang for heaven (C. tiantang 天堂)

Does anyone know if there's a difference of opinion on this, especially in regards to the last two terms?

Thank you,

Deberniere Torrey

180° 달라진 야후! 메일

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