Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies And Early Christianity
Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter W. van der Horst

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The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online contains academic articles on the named gods, angels, and demons in the books of the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint and Apocrypha, as well as the New Testament and patristic literature. This online version contains the second extensively revised edition.

More information: Brill.com


(1,933 words)

Author(s): G. Mussies
I. Name Ὑ/ὑάκινθος is the name of a pre-Greek and Greek masculine deity or hero and of a species of flower, by extension also of things having the colour of this flower, such as a specific gem-stone, and apparently in the LXX a fabric and a kind of leather. The deity is not referred to in the Bible, the flower possibly but not necessarily in Sir. 40.4 (no Hebrew text) “who wears stephanos (garland?) and hyacinth”, the gem-stone at Rev. 21.20, the fabric and leather mainly in the descriptions or inventories of Tabernacle and Temple ( Exod. 25–39; 2 Chr. 2–3; Ezek. 16.10). The derived adjective ὑα…

Hyle Ὕλη

(351 words)

Author(s): P. W. van der Horst
I. Name The word ὕλη is relatively rare in the Greek Bible. When used, it is always in the neutral meaning of ‘material, matter, wood’ (e.g. Jas. 3.5). In philosophical and religious literature of the early Roman Empire, however, one sees ὕλη, ‘matter’, evolve into a kind of demonic power. II. Identity Due to an increasingly negative assessment of the material world in later Platonic philosophy, one finds in the writings of some philosophical circles of the early Christian centuries a correspondingly negative use of the word ὕλη. Philo, the Jewish philosopher from Alexandria…

Hymenaios Ὑμέναιος

(600 words)

Author(s): J. N. Bremmer
I. Name Hymenaios is the name of the Greek god of the wedding. The name is derived from the Greek word for wedding song, hymenaios, which in turn derives from a ritual cry during the wedding procession, hymen o hymenaiʾ o. Its etymology is obscure (Chantraine 1980). As a theophoric name, it occurs twice in the NT (1 Tim. 1.20; 2 Tim. 2.17). II. Identity Hymenaios is a relatively late creation. As a personification of the wedding song he occurs first in Pindar (fr. 128c Maehler) and Euripides ( Troades 310, 314 etc.; see also J. Diggle on Euripides, Phaeton 233–234); in the innovative fourth-c…

Hypnos Ὕπνος

(551 words)

Author(s): P. W. van der Horst
I. Name Hypnos (‘sleep’) is the god of sleep in Greek mythology. He is the son of Nyx (Night) and the twin brother of Thanatos (Death). In the Greek Bible hypnos does not occur as a deity but only in the sense of literal sleep (e.g. Gen. 28.16; Matt. 1.24), as a euphemism for sexual intercourse (Sap 4:6), or as a metaphor for spiritual torpidity ( Rom. 13.11) and death (Joh. 11.11). II. Identity In the Homeric epos the god Hypnos, called Thanatos’ twin ( Iliad 14:231; on their likeness Odyssee 13:80; cf. Virgil, Aeneid 6:278), lives on the island of Lemnos, where Hera promises to give hi…

Hypsistos ὁ ὕψιστος

(2,637 words)

Author(s): C. Breytenbach
I. Name ̔́ Υψιστος is a superlative form from the adverb ὕψι (there is no positive adj.) “most high, highest”. With the article ὁ it serves as a noun, having the sense “the most high” or “the highest”. In the Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible עליון (Elyon) is always translated by (ὁ) ὕψιστος. In these instances, as in the Greek literature of Judaism of the Second Temple Period and in the literature of primitive Christianity, the expression ὁ ὕψιστος refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In non-Jewish or non-Christian texts written in Greek, the expre…