Q-D-Š is a triconsonantal
Semitic root meaning "sacred, holy",
derived from a concept central to ancient Semitic religion. From a
basic verbal meaning "to consecrate, to purify", it could be used as
an adjective meaning "holy", or as a substantive referring to a
"sanctuary, sacred object, sacred personnel."
The root is reflected as qdš (Hebrew קדש) in Northwest Semitic
and as qds (Arabic قدس) in Central and South Semitic. In Akkadian
texts, the verb conjugated from this root meant to "clean,
1 Canaanite religion
4 See also
It was used this way in Ugaritic, as for example, in the words qidšu
(meaning "holy place" or "chapel") and qad(i)šu (meaning "consecrated
gift" or "cultic personnel"). In some Ugaritic texts, qdš is used
as a divine epithet. For example, the gods are referred to as "the
sons of holiness" or "the holy ones" (bn qdš), and in the Ugaritic
Legend of Keret, the hero is described as "the son of El and the
offspring of the Benevolent One and qdš".
William Foxwell Albright
William Foxwell Albright believed that Qudšu (meaning "holiness") was
a common Canaanite appellation for the goddess Asherah, and Albright's
Frank Moore Cross
Frank Moore Cross claimed qdš was used as a divine epithet for
Asherah and the Ugaritic goddess, Athirat. Johanna
Stucky claims she may have been a deity in her own right.
Depictions of a goddess in inscriptions from Dynastic Egypt, thought
to Canaanite since she is referred to as Qdš (often transliterated in
English as Qedesha, Qudshu or Qetesh), show a woman in the nude, with
curly hair and raised arms carrying lilies and serpents. Qdš is
also depicted in the pantheon of gods at
Memphis, Egypt possibly
indicating worship of her as independent deity there. The word qdš
also appears in the Pyrgi Tablets, a Phoenician text found in Italy
that dates back to 500 BCE.
Qudšu was later used in Jewish Aramaic to refer to God, and qudš
is the proto-form of the Hebrew word qadōš, meaning "holy".
Words derived from the root qdš appear some 830 times in the Hebrew
Bible. Its use in the
Hebrew Bible evokes ideas of separation
from the profane, and proximity to the Otherness of God, while in
nonbiblical Semitic texts, recent interpretations of its meaning link
it to ideas of consecration, belonging, and
Hebrew language is called "The Holy Tongue" (Hebrew: לשון
הקודש "Lashon HaKodesh") in Judaism. In addition, the Hebrew
term for the Holy
Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem is Beit Hamikdash (Hebrew:
בית המקדש, "the holy house"), and
Ir Ha-Kodesh (Hebrew:
עיר הקודש, "City of the Holy"), the latter being one of the
tens of Hebrew names for Jerusalem.
Three theological terms that come from this root are Kiddush, which is
sanctification of the Sabbath or a festival with a blessing over wine
before the evening and noon meals, Kaddish, which is the
sanctification prayer, and mourner's prayer, and
Kedushah which is the
responsive section of the reader's repetition of the Amidah.
Kedeshah (קדשה) is a word derived from the
Q-D-Š root, which is
used in the
Hebrew Bible to describe a particular sort of woman. There
is debate in modern scholarship over whether a kedeshah was a sacred
prostitute, or whether she was some other sort of cultic
functionary. While the word zonah (זנה) simply meant an
ordinary prostitute or loose woman, the word kedeshah literally means
There are two different words describing places that use this root in
the Hebrew Bible. One is Kedesh, which refers to a Canaanite village
first documented in Joshua 20:7 and later in 2 Kings 15:29. The other
is Kadesh, a place in the south of Ancient Israel, mentioned in
Numbers 13:26 and Deuteronomy 2:14.
Q-D-Š (קדש): meaning "holy" or "set apart"
to sanctify; to make kiddush
(Talmudic) to be betrothed, to be married
holy, sacred, sanctified
(Jewish ritual) Kiddush
(Jewish ritual) Kaddish
sanctity, purity, holiness ; (Jewish ritual) Kedushah
(pagan ritual) male prostitute
meaning disputed, describes either cult prostitute or other cultic
(Canaanite village) Kedesh
(Place in the south of Ancient Israel) Kadesh
The verb form of Q-D-S in Arabic (qadus) means "to be holy" or "to be
pure, immaculate". Quds can be used as a noun to denote
"paradise" or as an adjective meaning "purity" or "holiness". The
definite noun form, al-Quds (Arabic: القدس, "the holy one"),
is the most common of seventeen Arabic
Names of Jerusalem
Names of Jerusalem and derives
from the Aramaean word for "temple" (qōdšā). The Turkish
word for Jerusalem, Kudüs, derives from the Arabic name. Two
other names for
Jerusalem also derive from the Q-D-S root: Bayt
al-Muqqadas ("the holy house") and Bayt al-Maqdis. The
wider area around Jerusalem, or the Holy Land, is referred to in
Arabic and in Islamic sources as al ard al-muqaddasa (also Bilād
al-Muqaddasa), as it is full of shrines and connections to prophets
and saints. The Christian Bible is known in Arabic as
al-Kitāb al-Muqaddas. Muqaddas in Arabic means not only "holy"
and "sacred", but also "hallowed, sanctified, dedicated,
Al-Quds also appears in Arabic as part of a phrase to refer to the
Holy Spirit, Rúḥu 'l-Quds (or Rūḥu 'l'Qudus), with
"spirit". This phrase appears in the
Qur'an a number of times,
where it is thought to refer in some cases to the angel Gabriel.
The concept of Rúḥu 'l-Quds is also discussed at length by the Sufi
mystic, ʻAbd al-Karim al-Jili, who further distinguishes between two
other concepts derived from the Q-D-S root in Arabic: qudsi ("holy
one") and aqdasi ("most holy one"). The qudsi is one who
"unceasingly contemplates the Divine consciousness sirr ['secret'],
which is his origin" and is "illuminated" by it, whereas the aqdasi
("most holy one") is one who is actually united with this Essence.
Qudsi is also used in Arabic to refer to a Jerusalemite, or a
native/resident of Jerusalem. It and its derivatives, such as
Maqdisi and al-Muqaddasi are used in Arabic surnames or as
appellatives assigned to those who come from or live in Jerusalem.
The religious terms
Hadith Qudsi ("holy hadith") and Tafsir Qudsi
("sacred commentary") also incorporate qudsi, though in this case it
is used as an adjective, rather than a noun or pronoun. Tafsir Qudsi
is a form of Quranic commentary, while
Hadith Qudsi refers to the
"utterances of God through the Prophet", thus enjoying a status higher
than that the hadith writings in general, though lower than that of
Other derivatives of Q-D-S in Arabic include qudus, which means
"purity", "sanctity", "saint" or "holy", and qadas, which is used to
refer to a "small cup or plate", often used to put forth offerings at
holy sites. Taqdis means to "purify, sanctify, consecrate to God,"
taqqadus is to "be purified, sanctified, consecrated," and taqâdus
means to "play the saint". Istiqdas means "to deem holy."
Look up Appendix:List of Proto-Semitic stems in Wiktionary, the free
Battle of Kadesh
^ a b c d e van der Toorn et al., 1999, p. 415.
^ Botterweck, G. Johannes; Ringgren, Helmer; Fabry, Heinz-Josef
(1974), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing, p. 525, ISBN 0-8028-2336-X [better
^ Köhler, Ludwig; Baumgartner, Walter; Richardson, Mervyn Edwin John;
Stamm, Johann Jakob (1994), The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old
Testament, v. 3, E.J. Brill, p. 1076
^ a b c Albright, 1990, pp. 121–122.
^ Hadley, 2000, p. 49.
^ Johanna Stuckey (2007), The "Holy One", MatriFocus, retrieved
^ a b van der Toorn, et al., 1999, p. 416.
^ Azize, Joseph (2005), The Phoenician Solar Theology: An
Investigation Into the Phoenician Opinion of the Sun Found in Julian's
Hymn to King Helios, Gorgias Press LLC, p. 184,
^ Bales, Norman (1991), He Died to Make Men Holy, College Press,
p. 48, ISBN 0-89900-271-4 [better reference needed]
^ Joosten, 1996, p. 123.
^ Deiss, Lucien; Burton, Jane M.-A.; Molloy, Donald (1996), Visions of
Liturgy and Music for a New Century, Liturgical Press, p. 81,
^ Westenholz, Joan Goodnick. “Tamar, Qědēšā, Qadištu, and
Sacred Prostitution in Mesopotamia.” The Harvard Theological Review,
vol. 82, no. 3, 1989, pp. 245–265., www.jstor.org/stable/1510077.
^ Also transliterated qĕdeshah, qedeshah, qědēšā ,qedashah,
kadeshah, kadesha, qedesha, kdesha. A modern liturgical pronunciation
would be k'deysha.
^ Associated with the corresponding verb zanah.
^ a b c Hillenbrand, Carole (2000), The Crusades: Islamic
Perspectives, Routledge, p. 301, ISBN 0-415-92914-8
^ a b c d Steingass, Francis (1993), Arabic-English Dictionary, Asian
Educational Services, p. 823, ISBN 81-206-0855-0
^ Kaplony, Andreas (2002), The Ḥaram of Jerusalem, 324-1099: Temple,
Friday Mosque, Area of Spiritual Power, Franz Steiner Verlag,
p. 218, ISBN 3-515-07901-7
^ a b Binz, Stephen J. (2005), Jerusalem, the Holy City, Twenty-Third
Publications, p. 2, ISBN 1-58595-365-2
^ a b Room, Adrian (2003), Placenames of the World: Origins and
Meanings of the Names for Over 5000 Natural Features, Countries,
Capitals, Territories, Cities and Historic Sites, McFarland,
p. 171, ISBN 0-7864-1814-1
^ a b c Tallis, Raymond; Netton, Ian Richard (2006), Islam,
Christianity and Tradition: A Comparative Exploration, Edinburgh
University Press, pp. 100–101, ISBN 0-7486-2392-2
^ a b c Nicholson, Reynold Alleyne (1978), Studies in Islamic
Mysticism, Routledge, pp. 108–110,
^ Hughes, Thomas Patrick; Hughes, Patrick (1996), A Dictionary of
Islam: Being a Cyclopaedia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies, and
Customs, Together With the Technical and Theological Terms, of the
Muhammadan Religion, Asian Educational Services, p. 133,
^ Elihay, J. (2004), The Olive Tree Dictionary: A Transliterated
Dictionary of Conversational Eastern Arabic (Palestinian), Kidron
Publishing, p. 435, ISBN 0-9759726-0-X
^ Glassé and Smith, 2001, p. 383.
Albright, William Foxwell (1990), Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A
Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths, EISENBRAUNS,
Becking, Bob; Dijkstra, Meindert; Vriezen, Karel J. H. (2001), Only
One God?: Monotheism in
Ancient Israel and the Veneration of the
Goddess Asherah, Continuum International Publishing Group,
Glassé, Cyril; Smith, Huston (2001), The New Encyclopedia of Islam: A
Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, AltaMira Press,
Hadley, Judith M. (2000), The Cult of
Ancient Israel and
Judah: Evidence for a Hebrew Goddess, Cambridge University Press,
van der Toorn, K.; Becking, Bob; van der Horst, Pieter Willem (1999),
Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing, ISBN 0-8028-2491-9
Notable Semitic roots (cf. Wiktionary)