[KS] religious terms

sung oak sungoak at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 17 21:18:55 EST 2010

Dear Don & others,

As American missionaries worked mostly with the British and Foreign Bible Society in Korea, the Korean Protestant Churches used the "Shangdi" edition of the Chinese Testaments. So there were two official terms for God in the Korean Protestant Churches since the publication of the first authorized version of the NT in 1906--"Hana^nim" of the Korean vernacular editions and "Shangdi" of the Chinese editions. Of course, they adopted "Shangdi" in the Chinese-Korean mixed editions. Before 1906, they used "Tyo^njyu" (C. Tianzhu), "Shyangdyje" (C. Shangdi), "Shin" (C. Shen), "Ch'amshin" (C. Zhenshen), "Shayngjyu" (C. Shangzhu) as well as "Hana^nim." H. G. Underwood used all these except the last one in 1885-1905. 
Sung-Deuk Oak

Assitant Professor of Korean Christianity



From: ubcdbaker at hotmail.com
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 17:29:30 -0800
Subject: Re: [KS] religious terms

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

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