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Pronoia Πρόνοια

(2,309 words)

Author(s): R. L. Gordon
I. Name Pronoia, Latin Providentia, means in Homer anticipation or foreknowledge, but already by the 5th century bce often expressed intention, especially in a legal sense, and care, for one’s family and in military planning. An analogous care was ascribed to the gods; the early Stoa built on this traditional sense in developing its notion of providence, the divine governance of the world, equivalent of Zeus and Logos. This sense, more or less indebted to Stoic theory and always qualified by ‘divine’ or the like, is to be found in some Hellenistic biblical texts ( Wis. 14.3; Wis. 17.2; 3 Macc…

Helios Ἥλιος

(4,678 words)

Author(s): R. L. Gordon
I. Name The word ἥλιος, sun, like šemešShemesh, is ambivalent between a true name and a common noun. Only the context can determine which aspect—stellar, religious, cosmic, political—is predominant in a given text. The standard etymology (H. Frisk, Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch [Heidelberg 1954] 1:631–632; P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque 2 [Paris 1970] 410–411) appeals to the psilotic epic form ἀέλιος and a Cretan (Hesych.) or Pamphylian (Heracleides of Miletus) form ἀβέλιος to postulate an original *σαϝέλιος, cognate with S…

Poseidon Ποσειδῶν

(2,429 words)

Author(s): R. L. Gordon
I. Name Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, occurs in the Bible only in the Apocrypha, as a theophoric name (Poseidonios: 2 Macc. 14.19). Numerous dialectal forms occur in inscriptions, the main division being between the ποσ- and ποτ-(western dialects, Corinth, Crete, Rhodes) forms. The dominant form occurs in a number of Linear B tablets from Pylos and once at Knossos (nom. po-se-da-o, also po-si-). But the ‘original’ form was probably *Ποτ(σ)ειδάηων. No etymology so far proposed (a selection in Burkert 1985:402 n. 2) is without serious difficulties: the weakness of the a…

Anthropos Ἄνθρωπος

(1,602 words)

Author(s): R. L. Gordon
I. Name One designation, with or without qualification, of the highest being in many gnostic systems: quae est super omnia virtus, et continet omnia, Anthropos vocatur (Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.12.4). The name draws attention to the direct or indirect link between supreme divinity and humanity, esp. the ‘unwavering race’, thanks to which redemption from the world created by theArchons is possible. The name Anthropos signifies that God is the prototype of Man ( anthropos), because man is made, directly or indirectly, in his image. The Religionsgeschichtliche Schule and others claime…