Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online

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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

Thanatos Θάνατος

(1,566 words)

Author(s): P. W. van der Horst
I. Name Thanatos is the Greek mythological personification of the power of death as a god or a demon. It occurs as the name of a demonic power in the NT (for OT see Mot) in 9 passages (out of a total of 120 occurrences of the word thanatos) in Paul (e.g. 1 Cor. 15.26, 1 Cor. 54–56) and in Rev (e.g. 1 Cor. 20.13–14). II. Identity Thanatos as a personification is not frequently found in Greek literature; and when it occurs, it is often doubtful whether the personified Thanatos is merely a poetic metaphor or a real figure of popular belief (Kern 1926:262–3; Lesky 1934:1245; von Geisau 1975:648–9; cf. al…

Themis Θέμις

(522 words)

Author(s): P. W. van der Horst
I. Name Themis is the Greek goddess of what is just and lawful (θέμις = ‘law’, ‘justice’, ‘custom’, probably deriving from the stem θε-, ‘to lay down, set, establish’; but see Hirzel 1907: 53–56; Ehrenberg 1921: 41–43); she is the embodiment of the ‘social imperative’, the ‘social conscience’ (Harrison 1927, 485–6). In the Bible themis does not occur as a goddess, but only twice in 2 Maccabees in the expression οὐ θέμις, ‘it is not lawful’. II. Identity Themis is one of the many personified and deified abstract concepts (or rather a case of ‘Person-Bereicheinheit’, thus Pötscher 1975:67…


(10 words)

see god ii ← previous entry          next entry →

Thessalos Θεσσαλός

(722 words)

Author(s): K. Dowden
I. Name Thessalos (‘Thessalian’) is the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, the inhabitants of Thessaly in northern Greece. His name may be found in Thessalonike (modern Saloniki), the second city of modern Greece and already a place of importance by the time of Acts. II. Identity The Greeks often traced the beginnings of a tribe or a city to a significant person of mythic times (a ‘hero’; Heros) after whom that tribe or city was named (the ‘eponymous’ hero). The process is so old that some mythic eponyms survive whose tribes have been lost (Dowden 1992:75–76): Danaos (and his fifty daugh…


(548 words)

Author(s): B. Becking
I. Name The Hebrew noun šilluḥîm, ‘marriage gift’ (1 Kgs. 9.6), has been related etymologically with an alleged Ugaritic goddess Thillaḫuha. She is supposed to be one of the Kosharoth (de Moor 1970:200). II. Identity The Ugaritic myth which relates how the moon-god Yariḫu obtained his bride Nikkal ( KTU 1.24) is concluded by a hymn to the Kosharoth, the goddesses supervising delivery. This hymn is concluded by a list of seven words. This list is interpreted either as a list of seven nouns related to the process of marriage and parturition (Caqout et al. 1974:396–397) or as a list …

Thornbush סנה

(1,065 words)

Author(s): M. C. A. Korpel
I. Name In Exod. 3.1–6 Yahweh appears in a burning bush ( sĕneh). In Deut. 33.16 Yahweh is called šoknî sĕneh, ‘the Thornbush-dweller’. It has been suggested that the thornbush is used as a designation of Yahweh in Judg. 9.14–15 ( ʾṭd) and Ps. 58.10 ( ʾṭd). Outside the Bible the Egyptian national god Amun seems to be related to the nbs-tree, the Ziziphus spina Christi; a Ugaritic deity is called ‘the god of the Ziziphus’; in Mesopotamia some deities have the ‘thornbush’ as their symbol. II. Identity In Egypt the nbs-tree which is the Ziziphus spina Christi was a holy tree ( LdÄ 1 [1975] 659…


(2,232 words)

Author(s): R. L. Vos
I. Name Despite many ingenious attempts scholars have failed to establish a plausible etymological explanation of the name of the Egyptian God Thoth (Spies 1991:18–21 gives a convenient summary of current views). Aram. tḥwt and tḥwtmʿ (= Gk. Thothomous, ‘Thoth is justified’: Segal 1983: 47), Akk. tiḫut, Lat. Theut and Greek spellings (e.g. Thōuth, Thōth and Thouth: Hopfner 1946:50–52) reflect Eg. Ḏḥwty. Phoen. Taautos (Eusebius, Praep. evang. I.29.24) has been suggested to refer to Thoth (J. Ebach, Weltentstehung und Kulturentwicklung bei Philo von Byblus [Stuttgart 197…

Thrones θρονοί

(1,203 words)

Author(s): M. de Jonge
I. Name In a hymnic passage extolling Jesus Christ we read “for in (or: by) him all things in heaven and earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones ( thronoi) or dominions or rulers and powers—all things have been created through him and for him” ( Col. 1.16). Here the term ‘thrones’, like the other words, denotes heavenly beings. It occurs with this meaning only here in the Bible. The other words are found in similar lists (1 Cor. 15.24; Eph. 1.21; Eph. 3.10; Eph. 6.12; 1 Pet. 3.22); whilst ‘rulers’ and ‘powers’ are mentioned together in Col. 2.10, Col. 15. II. Identity A th…


(928 words)

Author(s): B. Becking
I. Name The name of the Ugaritic deity Thukamuna, occurring as element in the binomial divine name Ṯkmn-w-Šnm, has etymologically been related to the Hebrew noun šĕkem (Ginsberg 1936:92; Wyatt 1990:446–449). šĕkem occurs in the OT as a noun meaning ‘shoulder; back’ (22 times; cf. Ug. škm, ‘shoulder’ e.g. KTU 1.14 ii:11; iii:54; 1.22 i:5); as a toponym Shechem located in the highlands of Ephraim (e.g. Gen. 12.6; Gen. 33.18; Gen. 35.4; Gen. 37.12, Gen. 14; Josh. 17.7; Josh. 20.7; Josh. 21.21; Josh. 24.1, Josh. 25, Josh. 32; Judg. 8.31; Judg. 9; Judg. 21.19) and as a personal name …

Tiamat תהום

(1,707 words)

Author(s): B. Alster
I. Name Tĕhôm, usually translated “the deep”, occurs in Gen. 1.2 as a designation of the primeval sea, and is frequently used in the OT to denote the cosmic sea (Yam) on which the world rests, and from which all water comes, as well as any large body of water, including rivers, and the depth of the sea and the earth. Heb. Tĕhôm is etymologically related to Akk. Tiāmat, which derives from an older Semitic root, thm, known in Ugaritic and other semitic languages as a designation of the sea. In Arabic Tihāmat denotes the coastal plain along the southwestern and southern shores of th…


(10 words)

see Ruler cult ← previous entry          next entry →

Tigris חדקל

(942 words)

Author(s): B. Alster
I. Name The OT refers to the Tigris as Ḥiddeqel. The designation hannāhār haggādôl, “the Great River” was applied to the Tigris in Dan. 10.14, but otherwise refers to the Euphrates. The two rivers appear as a pair in the expression ʾaram naharayim, “the Land of the Two Rivers”, i.e. (Western) Mesopotamia. Hebr Ḥiddeqel derives from an earlier Semitic form of the name which appears as Idiqlat in Akkadian, and Idigna in Sumerian. The female ending, characteristic of the Akkadian form, shows that the Tigris, like the Euphrates, was conceived as a female entity.…

Tirash תירשׁ תירושׁ

(960 words)

Author(s): J. F. Healey
I. Name Heb. tîrōš appears to be the term for ‘new wine’, i.e. wine which is incompletely fermented (though it should be noted that Köhler [1928] took the view that it simply meant ‘wine’ and was an archaic alternative to yayin: this question does not affect the present treatment). It occurs in Hebrew frequently in this plain meaning, often in the context of the formulaic phrase ‘the grain, the new wine and the oil’ ( Deut. 7.13; Deut. 11.14 etc.). There are analogous forms in Ugaritic ( trṯ: KTU 1.114:4, 16 [// yn] and 1.17 vi:7 [with yn]) and Phoenician and Punic ( trš: Karatepe KAI 26 A III…

Titans Τιτᾶνες

(1,196 words)

Author(s): G. Mussies
I. Name In the strict sense ‘Titans’ is the collective name of only six of the sons of Uranus-Sky and Gaea-Earth, whose six sisters and wives were called Titanesses (Τιτανίδες). The most important couple of these were Cronus and his sister-wife Rhea, who became the parents of Zeus, Hera and various other gods. The Greek name ‘Titans’ occurs in the geographical name “Valley of the Titans” in the LXX at 2 Sam. 5.18, 2 Sam. 22; 2 Sam. 23.13 ( Luc); 1 Chr. 11.15 (v. l. Hex), and as a synonym of “giants” in Jdt. 16.6. The name cannot be explained from Greek and is considered to be of pre-Hellenic provenanc…

Title Page

(324 words)

Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible DDD Edited by Karel van der Toorn Bob Becking Pieter W. van der Horst SECOND EXTENSIVELY REVISED EDITION BRILL Leiden • Boston • Köln William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge, U.K. 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retreval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. First edit…