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

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


(388 words)

Author(s): B. Becking
I. Name The personal name ʾašḥûr, Ashhur (1 Chron. 2.24; 1 Chron. 4.5)—traditionally construed as a derivation from the root šḥr, ‘to be black’ ( HALAT 91)—has been interpreted by Cassuto (1947:472) as “belonging to Išḫara”. Išḫara is known as a Babylonian goddess. II. Identity Išhara, d Iš-ḫa-ra, also written Aš-ḫa-ra and Eš-ḫa-ra, is one of the names for Inanna/Ishtar. In Atr. I 301–304 and Gilg. II ii 35–50 mention is made of a ‘bed laid for Išhara’. From this it can be inferred that Ishtar was called Išhara during the marriage rites. Therefore, she can be depi…

Ishmael ישׁמעאל

(997 words)

Author(s): M. Dijkstra
I. Name Ishmael is the eponym of the Ishmaelite tribes who traced their ancestry back to Abraham/Abram and visited his tomb at Hebron (Machpelah, Gen. 25.9). The name as such is common Semitic and is attested from the earliest times onward (Knauf 1985:38 n.170; Archi 1988:51). His name is explained in Gen. 16.11 (J.) and Gen. 21.17 (E.) as a wish for answer, an explanation which tallies with the traditional understanding of this name (Noth, IPN, 198). The name is not only found in early Mesopotamia (3rd millennium), but also in Middle Bronze Hazor Iš-me-ı̀l(dingir) (Horowitz & Shaffer 1992…


(2,485 words)

Author(s): T. Abusch
I. Name The major Mesopotamian goddess of love, war, and the planet Venus is known primarily by the Sumerian name Inanna and the Akkadian name Ishtar. Although the name Inanna is usually translated as ‘Lady of Heaven’ (nin.an.ak), the alternative translation ‘Lady of the date clusters’ (nin.ana.ak), suggested by Jacobsen (1976: 36), seems preferable. The name Ishtar is Semitic and earlier was pronounced Eshtar. Ishtar is not simply a Semitic name brought in and applied without further change to a pre-existing Sumerian goddess, but rather repre…


(1,564 words)

Author(s): J. Assmann
I. Name Isis ( ʒst, Gk. Εἶσις, Ἶσις, Copt. ēse, isi), perhaps a theophoric element in the personal name Ἰαμβρες, Iambres ( 2 Tim. 3.8–9, var. Mambres); the identification seems very doubtful. Like Osiris, Isis does not belong to the early attested deities but makes her first appearance only in the Pyramid texts where she plays, however, a very prominent role (end of the 5th dynasty, over 70 occurrences). The etymology of her name is not clear. Her symbol which she often wears as a headdress is the seat or throne s.t which also serves in writing her name, but this writing has to …