Shangdi

Annual heavenly sacrifice (祭天 jìtiān) in honour of the Highest Deity the Heavenly Ruler (皇天上帝 Huángtiān Shàngdì) is held at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. State pomp and a variety of Confucian religious groups have contributed in the reviving of worship of the Highest Deity in the 2000s.

Shangdi (Chinese: 上帝; pinyin: Shàngdì; Wade–Giles: Shang Ti), also written simply, "Emperor" (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), is the Chinese term for "Supreme Deity" or "Highest Deity" in the theology of the classical texts, especially deriving from Shang theology and finding an equivalent in the later Tian ("Heaven" or "Great Whole") of Zhou theology.[1]

Although in Chinese religion the usage of "Tian" to refer to the absolute God of the universe is predominant, "Shangdi" continues to be used in a variety of traditions, including certain philosophical schools,[2] certain strains of Confucianism,[3] some Chinese salvationist religions (notably Yiguandao) and Chinese Protestant Christianity. In addition, it is common to use such term among contemporary and secular Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese societies typically for a singular universal deity and a non-religion translation for the God in Islam, (Unitarian) Christianity and Judaism.[4]

Etymology

Shang oracular script graphs for 帝 , the supreme God as the celestial pole.[5]

"Shang Di" is the pinyin romanization of two Chinese characters. The first – , Shàng – means "high", "highest", "first", "primordial"; the second – , – is typically considered as a short hand for huangdi (皇帝)in modern Chinese, the title of the emperors of China first employed by Qin Shi Huang, and is usually translated as "emperor". The word itself is derived from Three "Huang" and Five "Di", including Yellow Emperor (Huangdi 黃帝), the mythological originator of the Chinese civilization and the ancestor of the Chinese race. However, 帝 refers to the High God of Shang, thus means "deity" (manifested god), [2]. Thus, the name Shangdi should be translated as "Highest Deity", but also have the implied meaning of "Primordial Deity" or "First Deity" in Classical Chinese. The deity preceded the title and the emperors of China were named after him in their role as Tianzi, the sons of Heaven. In the classical texts the highest conception of the heavens is frequently identified with Shang Di, who is described somewhat anthropomorphically. He is also associated with the pole star. The conceptions of the Supreme Ruler (Shang Di) and of the Sublime Heavens (Huang-t'ien)afterward coalesce or absorb each other.[6]

Other Languages
беларуская: Шандзі
català: Shangdi
español: Shangdi
فارسی: شانگدی
français: Shang Di
Bahasa Indonesia: Shangdi
italiano: Shang Di
magyar: Sang-ti
Bahasa Melayu: Shangdi
日本語: 天帝
norsk: Shangdi
polski: Shangdi
português: Shangdi
svenska: Shang Di
Türkçe: Shangdi
українська: Шан-ді
Tiếng Việt: Thượng đế
吴语: 上帝
中文: 上帝