[KS] religious terms

BakerDon ubcdbaker at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 17 20:29:30 EST 2010

In regard to Brother Anthony's inquiry about early Korean Christian use of the term Shangdi for God, 

Until Rome ordered them to stop doing so (in the early 18th century),  Jesuit missionaries in China often told their Chinese audience that the Catholic Tianzhu was actually the same God as the one the ancient classics  called Shangdi. Some of the first Korean Catholics read some Jesuit works which had been published before that Papal ruling, so at first they were unaware of the prohibition against using the term Shangdi (Sangje) to refer to God. For example, a poem said to have been written by Yi Pyŏk, the Sŏnggyo yoji, uses a number of different terms of God, including Shangdi.
Also, and Sung-deok Oak can correct me on this if I am wrong, Shangdi/Sangje was one of the terms the first Protestant missionaries in Korea considered using for God before they settled on Hananim/Hanŭnim. 
Don Baker ProfessorDepartment of Asian Studies University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2 don.baker at ubc.ca

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