Theophory
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Theophory

A theophoric name (from Greek: , theophoros, literally "bearing or carrying a god")[1][2] embeds the name of a god, both invoking and displaying the protection of that deity. For example, names embedding Apollo, such as Apollonios or Apollodorus, existed in Greek antiquity.[3]

Theophoric personal names, containing the name of a god in whose care the individual is entrusted (or a generic word for god), were also exceedingly common in the ancient Near East and Mesopotamia.[4][5][6] Some names of theophoric origin remain common today, such as Theodore (theo-, "god"; -dore, origin of word compound in Greek: doron, "gift"; hence "God's gift"; in Greek: Theodoros) or less recognisably as Jonathan (from Hebrew Yonatan, meaning "Yahweh has given").

Classical theophoric names

Christian theophoric names

Some Christian saints have polytheistic theophoric names (such as Saint Dionysius, Saint Mercurius, Saint Saturninus, Saint Hermes, Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki,).

Germanic theophoric names

Rarely, Germanic names contain the element Wod (such as Woðu-riðe), potentially pointing to an association with the god Odin. In connection, numerous names containing wulf "wolf" have been taken as totemistic, expressing association with Odin in the earliest period, although -ulf degenerated into a mere suffix from an early time (Förstemann 1856).

Hinduism

Some traditional Hindu names honor Hindu gods or goddesses. Often, the same name is ascribed to multiple deities.

It is not uncommon to find Hindus with names of gods. Shiva, Krishna, Ganesh, Durga, Radha, and Sita are all names of Hindu gods or goddesses as well as being personal names for Hindus. Hindu gods themselves have multiple names, so it is not always apparent if an Indian name is the name of a god or not.

Islam

Judaism and biblical

Much Hebrew theophory occurs in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament. The most prominent theophory involves

  • names referring to El, a word meaning might, power and (a) god in general, and hence in Judaism, God and among the Canaanites the name of the god who was the father of Baal.
  • names referring to Yah, a shortened form of Yahweh.
  • names referring to Levantine deities (especially the storm god, Hadad) by the epithet Baal, meaning lord.

In later times, as the conflict between Yahwism and the more popular pagan practices became increasingly intense, these names were censored and Baal was replaced with Bosheth, meaning shameful one. However the name Yahweh does not appear in theophoric names until the time of Joshua, and for the most part is very rare until the time of King Saul, when it began to be very popular.[7]

El

Yahweh

The name of the Israelite deity YHWH (usually shortened to Yah or Yahu, and Yeho or Yo) appears as a prefix or suffix in many theophoric names of the First Temple Period. For example, Yirme-yahu (Jeremiah), Yesha-yahu (Isaiah), Netan-yah, Yedid-yah, Adoni-yah, Nekhem-yah, Yeho-natan (Jonathan), Yeho-chanan (John), Yeho-shua (Joshua), Yeho-tzedek, Zekharya (Zechariah).

"Yah?" or "Yah" is the abbreviation of YHWH when used as a suffix in Hebrew names; as a prefix it appears as "Yeh?-", or "Yo". It was formerly thought to be abbreviated from the Masoretic pronunciation "Yehovah". There is an opinion[8] that, as Yahweh is likely an imperfective verb form, "Yahu" is its corresponding preterite or jussive short form: compare yi?tahaweh (imperfective), yi?táhû (preterit or jussive short form) = "do obeisance".

However, the name Judah (Yeh?dah) is not an example. The name Judah, comes from the root word Yadah = Yud-Dalet-Hey, which means "praise". The letter Yud is also a prefix pronoun in Hebrew, thus not every name or word beginning with Yud or Yud-Hey is theophoric.

In the table below, 13 theophoric names with "Yeho" have corresponding forms where the letters eh have been omitted. There is a theory by Christian Ginsburg that this is due to Hebrew scribes omitting the "h", changing Jeho (‬) into Jo (‬), to make the start of "Yeho-" names not sound like an attempt to pronounce the Divine Name.[9][10]

Strong's # the name other element English conventional form
long form short form long form short form long form short form
3059 3099 ? Y?how'achaz Yow'achaz achaz [# 270] Jehoachaz Joachaz
3060 3101 Y?how'ash Yow'ash 'esh [# 784] Jehoash Joash
3075 3107 ? Y?howzabad Yowzabad zabad [# 2064] Jehozabad Jozabad
3076 3110 ? Y?howchanan Yowchanan chanan [# 2603] Jehochanan Jochanan
3077 3111 ? Y?howyada Yowyada yada [# 3045] Jehojada Jojada
3078 3112 Y?howyakiyn Yowyakiyn kuwn [# 3559] Jehojakin Jojakin
3079 3113 Y?howyaqiym Yowyaqiym quwm [# 3965] Jehojakim Jojakim
3080 3114 Y?howyariyb Yowyariyb riyb [# 7378] Jehojarib Jojarib
3082 3122 ? Y?hownadab Yownadab nadab [# 5068] Jehonadab Jonadab
3083 3129 ? Y?hownathan Yownathan nathan [# 5414] Jehonathan Jonathan
3085 -- יְהוֹעַדָּה Y?how'addah -- -- 'adah [# 5710] Jehoaddah --
3087 3136 ? Y?howtsadaq Yowtsadaq tsadaq [# 6663] Jehotsadak Jotsadak
3088 3141 Y?howram Yowram ruwm [# 7311] Jehoram Joram
3092 3146 ? Y?howshaphat Yowshaphat shaphat [# 8199] Jehoshaphat Joshaphat
3470a 3470 Y?sha'yahuw ? Y?sha'yah yasha [# 3467] Jeshajahu Jeshajah
5418a 5418 N?thanyahuw N?thanyah nathan [# 5414] Nethanjahu Nethanjah
138a 138 'Adoniyahuw ? 'Adoniyah 'adown [# 113] Adonijahu Adonijah
452a 452 ? 'Eliyahu 'Eliyah 'el [# 410] Elijahu Elijah
3414a 3414 Yirm?yahuw Yirm?yah ruwm [# 7311] Jirmejahu Jirmejah
-- 5166 -- -- N?chemyah nacham [# 5162] -- Nechemjah

Referring to other gods

Theophoric names containing "Baal" were sometimes "censored" as -bosheth = "shameful one", whence Ishbosheth etc.

Some names might be controversial theological statements: Bealiah could mean Baal is Yahweh and Elijah could mean Yahweh is El (and vice versa, respectively).[] On the other hand, as traditionally understood, these names simply mean "YHWH is Master" and "YHWH is God."[]

References

  1. ^ "theophoric". Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
  2. ^ . Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek-English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  3. ^ Shendge, Malati J. The Language of the Harappans: From Akkadian to Sanskrit, 1997. p 24. "It may also be interpreted as theophorous names, i.e. the name of the god forming part of the name of an individual. The usage is theophorous because besides the eponymous Asura, each individual of high or low status has a personal name."
  4. ^ Zadok, R. The Pre-hellenistic Israelite Anthroponymy and Prosopography, 1988. p 16. "The Period of the Judges (J) The theophorous names constitute a sizable minority (almost 40%). Many of the hypocoristica possibly originate from compound theophorous names (e.g., Abdon, Gerd, J21 1 1 1 1, 2141 12)."
  5. ^ Benz, Frank L. Personal Names in the Phoenician and Punic Inscriptions. p 233. "Any one of the three major types of elements, divine name or theophorous, nominal, or verbal can make up a Phoenician-Punic hypocoristic name. The divine name hypocoristic is the least attested. The simplest formation is that of a single ..."
  6. ^ Drijvers, H. J. W. Cults and Behafs at Edessa, 1980. p 21. "The proper names, which are mainly theophorous ones, may increase our knowledge of the religious feeling of the people of Edessa and of the cults practiced by them, insofar as their theophorous elements reflect existing beliefs."
  7. ^ Mark Haughwout, "Personal Names Before Exodus 6:2-3" [1]
  8. ^ Anson F. Rainey, How Yahweh Was Pronounced Archived December 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., QUERIES & COMMENTS.
  9. ^ Christian Ginsburg, Introduction To the Massoretico-Critical Edition Of The Hebrew Bible, p 369
  10. ^ Scott Jones, Jehovah Archived December 15, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.

External links


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Theophory
 



 



 
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