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Mastemah משׂטמה

(860 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name Mastemah appears as a noun meaning ‘hostility’ in OT ( Hos. 9.7–8) and Qumran writings. In Qumran literature the word is mostly connected with an evil angel (Belial) and in Jub. Mastemah is always a proper name for the leader of the evil angels. II. Identity Maśṭēmâ originates from the Hebrew root śṭm, a by-form of śṭn (Wanke 1976: 821–822; [Satan] cf. the noun שׂטמה in 1QM. 14:9), and occurs also in Ethiopic. It is probable that the semantic evolution of Mastemah is like that of ʾAbaddôn: a noun for a certain concept is first connected with an angel whose role is …

Roma Ῥώμη

(781 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name Roma occurs only as toponym and as the name for the capital of the Roman Republic or Empire in Biblical and related literature. As a personification of the city and the republic, Roma attained divine status outside the Bible. II. Identity According to legends the toponym Roma originated from the foundation of the city to which Trojans were forced, after one of their women, Rhome, encouraged the destruction of their ships. In the Greek world Roma was considered to be the personification of the Roman people or state, analogous to t…

Ruler Cult

(3,121 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name A technical phrase for the phenomenon of the ruler cult does not appear in biblical literature. Nevertheless, ruler cult understood as specific institutions devoted to sacrificial or related activities for the worship of a ruler (Hellenistic rulers as well as Roman emperors) may form part of the background of some passages in the Bible and related literature ( Dan. 3 Gk., Rev and Martyria). Several terms which have been associated with the ruler cult appear in the NT (e.g. euergetēs, sōtēr, kyrios, Asiarchēs). II. Identity Although the Egyptians considered the pharaoh …

Typhon Τυφών

(1,824 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name The adjective typhōnikos in Acts 27.14 indicates that the Eurakylōn was a stormy wind. The word derives from the noun typhōn which stands for a whirlwind in Philo, Deus 89. Both meanings can be connected with the monstrous figure Typhōn in Greek mythology. Josephus hints at a related god in Ap. 1.237. II. Identity Typhon appears in Greek myths as the opponent of Zeus or even of all gods. He is the youngest son of Tartaros and Gaia and has several names ( Typhōeus, Typhōs, Typhaōn and Typhōn), which were used interchangeably. In antiquity his name was derived from typhoō ‘to be …

Angel (II) ἄγγελος

(2,015 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name Angelos (“messenger”; Vg. and VL angelus) is in Greek, Early Jewish and Christian literature the most common designation of an otherworldly being who mediates between God and humans. In LXX the word is usually the translation of malʾak. It occurs 175 times in NT (according to the editions of Nestle-Aland26 and the Greek New Testament3, including Luke 22.43, which is often considered as a later addition). It is used sometimes of human messengers (e.g. Jdt. 1.11; in the NT Luke 7.24; Luke 9.52; Jas. 2.25, and the OT quotation referring to John the Baptist in Mark 1.2–3 and parallels).…

Archangel ἀρχάγγελος

(1,121 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name The figure of the archangel already appears in the Hebrew Bible, but the Greek term archangelos (Latin archangelus) does not occur in the Greek versions of the OT. The word appears in (early) Greek passages in the OT Pseudepigrapha (e.g. Greek text of 1 Enoch) and there are two occurrences in the NT (1 Thess. 4.16; Jude 9). II. Identity In Jewish literature from the Second Temple period a tendency can be observed to differentiate between groups and categories of angels (cf. 1 Enoch 61:10; 2 Enoch 19:1–5; Angel) and to bring a hierarchy in the angelic world. Some scholars as…

Python Πυθών

(995 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name Pythōn occurs just once in NT and indicates the oracular spirit of a slave-girl ( Acts 16.16). There are two further occurrences in the Sibylline Oracles (5:182; 11:315). Sib. Or. 11:315 is possibly connected with the dragon Python. Traditions concerning Python may be incorporated in Rev. 12. II. Identity Python is the Dragon ( drakōn Euripides, Iph. Taur. 1245; Pausanias 10.6.6; Lucian, De Astr. 23; draco ingens Hyginus, Fab. 140; δράκαινα Hom. Hymn to Apollo 300) or Serpent (Fontenrose 1980:55) that protected the sanctuary of Delphi near Mount Parnassus (see e.…

Dragon Δράκων

(1,895 words)

Author(s): J. W. van Henten
I. Name Drakōn is the Greek word (Latin draco) which is used in LXX (33 occurrences), NT and Pseudepigrapha for a large monster which often appears as opponent of God or his people. It is often related to the sea and can be identified or associated with a snake (Serpent). In the NT the word only appears in Revelation (13 occurrences). II. Identity In ancient mythology the dragon could be depicted as a real animal like a snake or crocodile or as a large imaginary monster living in the sea or on land. Certain types of these monsters can be discerned in mytho…