The Info List - Theophory

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A theophoric name (from Greek: θεόφορος, 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").


1 Classical theophoric names 2 Christian theophoric names 3 Germanic theophoric names 4 Hinduism 5 Islam 6 Judaism and biblical

6.1 El 6.2 Yahweh 6.3 Referring to other gods

7 References 8 External links

Classical theophoric names[edit]

and its derivatives mean "follower of Demeter." Dennis, in Latin Dionysius, and its relatives mean "of Dionysus." Martin and its relatives mean "of Mars." Zeno and Diodoros or Diodorus from Zeus
(genitive of Zeus
is 'dios'); Poseidonios from Poseidon; Athenodoros/Athenodora from Athena
and Minervina from Minerva; Apollodoros/Apollodora and Apollonios from Apollon; Artemisia and Artemidoros/Artemidora from Artemis; Aphrodesia from Aphrodite; Hephaistion from Hephaistos; Aria from Ares; Hermione from Hermes; Heliodoros/a from Helios; Fortunatus from Fortuna; Serapion from Serapis
and Isidoros or Isidora from Isis. Certain names of classical gods are sometimes given as personal names. The most common is Diana and its variants, such as Diane; others include Minerva, Aphrodite, Venus, Isis, or Juno. The first pope to take a regnal name, Pope
John II, had the given name Mercurius and changed his name as he considered it inappropriate for the Pope
to have the name of a pagan deity.

Christian theophoric names[edit]

Amadeus: (Latin) "lover of God" Bogdan: (Slavic) "God's gift" Bogomil: (Slavic) "dear to God" Bozhidar: (Slavic) "gift of God" Christian: (Greek) "believer in Christ" Christopher: (Greek) "Christ-bearer". Deodatus/Deusdedit: (Latin) "God-given" Dorotheus/Dorothea: (Greek) "gift to God" Fürchtgott: (Germanic) "God-fearing" Gottfried: (Germanic) "God's protection" Gottlieb: (Germanic) "God's love" Shenouda: (Coptic) "son of God" Theodore/Theodora: (Greek) "gift of God" Theodosius/Theodosia, Theodotos/Theodotē and Dositheus/Dosithea: (Greek) "God-given" Theodotus: (Greek): "given by God" Theophilus: (Greek) "one who loves God" Theognis: (Greek) "God-knowing" Theophanes: (Greek) "manifestation of God" Theophrastus: (Greek) "godly speech" Theaetetus: (Greek) "one who pleads to God" Timothy/Timotheus: (Greek) "one who honors God"

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[edit]

Os, meaning "god"

Oslac Oswald Oswin

Thor, the god of thunder

Thorstein means "Thor's stone" Thorkel means "Thor's craft" Thorulf means "Thor's wolf" Thordis Thora

Ing, an old name for Freyr
(an epithet meaning "lord")

Ingrid Ingeborg Inger Ingunn

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[edit] 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[edit] Further information: List of Arabic theophoric names See also: Allah

Abdullah/Abdullahi: "servant of God"

Judaism and biblical[edit] Main article: Theophory in the Bible

This article contains Hebrew text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Hebrew letters.

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[edit] See also: El (deity)

Ariel: "lion of God" Daniel: "God is my judge" or "justice from God" Elias/Elijah: "my God is Yahweh" Elisha: "my God is salvation" Elizabeth: Hebrew Elisheba = "my God is an oath" or "my God is abundance" Emmanuel/Immanuel: "God is with us" Ezekiel: "God will strengthen" Gabriel: "God is my strength" Ishmael: "God has heard" Israel: "who prevails with God" Joel: " Yahweh
is God" Lemuel: "Dedicated/Devoted to God" Michael: "Who is like God?" Nathaniel: "God-given" or "gift of God" Raphael: "God heal" Samuel: "name of God" Uriel: "God is my light"

Yahweh[edit] See also: Yahweh
and YHWH 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). "Yahū" or "Yah" is the abbreviation of YHWH
when used as a suffix in Hebrew names; as a prefix it appears as "Yehō-", 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 yiŝtahaweh (imperfective), yiŝtáhû (preterit or jussive short form) = "do obeisance".

Elijah/Elias: "my God is YHWH" Hezekiah: " YHWH
strengthens" Isaiah: " YHWH
is salvation" Jedediah: "friend of YHWH" Jeremy/Jeremiah: " YHWH
will raise" Joel: " YHWH
is God" John: "graced by YHWH" Jonathan: " YHWH
has given" Joseph: " YHWH
shall increase" Josiah: "healed by YHWH" Matthew: "gift of YHWH" Micah: "who is like YHWH?" Nehemiah: " YHWH
comforts" Obadiah: "servant of YHWH" Tobias: "the goodness of YHWH" Uriah: "flame of YHWH" Uzziah: " YHWH
is my strength" Zachary/Zechariah: " YHWH
has remembered" Zephaniah: "hidden by YHWH"

However, the name Judah (Yehūdah) 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
Christian Ginsburg
that this is due to Hebrew scribes omitting the "h", changing Jeho (יְהוֹ‬) into Jo (יוֹ‬), 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 יְהוֹאָחָז‬ Yᵉhow'achaz יוֹאָחָז‬ Yow'achaz achaz [# 270] Jehoachaz Joachaz

3060 3101 יְהוֹאָש‬ Yᵉhow'ash יוֹאָש‬ Yow'ash 'esh [# 784] Jehoash Joash

3075 3107 יְהוֹזָבָד‬ Yᵉhowzabad יוֹזָבָד‬ Yowzabad zabad [# 2064] Jehozabad Jozabad

3076 3110 יְהוֹחָנָן‬ Yᵉhowchanan יוֹחָנָן‬ Yowchanan chanan [# 2603] Jehochanan Jochanan

3077 3111 יְהוֹיָדָע‬ Yᵉhowyada יוֹיָדָע‬ Yowyada yada [# 3045] Jehojada Jojada

3078 3112 יְהוֹיָכִין‬ Yᵉhowyakiyn יוֹיָכִין‬ Yowyakiyn kuwn [# 3559] Jehojakin Jojakin

3079 3113 יְהוֹיָקִים‬ Yᵉhowyaqiym יוֹיָקִים‬ Yowyaqiym quwm [# 3965] Jehojakim Jojakim

3080 3114 יְהוֹיָרִיב‬ Yᵉhowyariyb יוֹיָרִיב‬ Yowyariyb riyb [# 7378] Jehojarib Jojarib

3082 3122 יְהוֹנָדָב‬ Yᵉhownadab יוֹנָדָב‬ Yownadab nadab [# 5068] Jehonadab Jonadab

3083 3129 יְהוֹנָתָן‬ Yᵉhownathan יוֹנָתָן‬ Yownathan nathan [# 5414] Jehonathan Jonathan

3085 — יְהוֹעַדָּה‬ Yᵉhow'addah — — 'adah [# 5710] Jehoaddah —

3087 3136 יְהוֹצָדָק‬ Yᵉhowtsadaq יוֹצָדָק‬ Yowtsadaq tsadaq [# 6663] Jehotsadak Jotsadak

3088 3141 יְהוֹרָם‬ Yᵉhowram יוֹרָם‬ Yowram ruwm [# 7311] Jehoram Joram

3092 3146 יְהוֹשָפָט‬ Yᵉhowshaphat יוֹשָפָט‬ Yowshaphat shaphat [# 8199] Jehoshaphat Joshaphat

3470a 3470 יְשַׁעְיָהוּ‬ Yᵉsha'yahuw יְשַׁעְיָה‬ Yᵉsha'yah yasha [# 3467] Jeshajahu Jeshajah

5418a 5418 נְתַנְיָהוּ‬ Nᵉthanyahuw נְתַנְיָה‬ Nᵉthanyah nathan [# 5414] Nethanjahu Nethanjah

138a 138 אֲדֹנִיָּהוּ‬ 'Adoniyahuw אֲדֹנִיָּה‬ 'Adoniyah 'adown [# 113] Adonijahu Adonijah

452a 452 אֵלִיָּהוּ‬ 'Eliyahu אֵלִיָּה‬ 'Eliyah 'el [# 410] Elijahu Elijah

3414a 3414 יִרְמְיָהוּ‬ Yirmᵉyahuw יִרְמְיָה‬ Yirmᵉyah ruwm [# 7311] Jirmejahu Jirmejah

— 5166 — — נְחֶמְיָה‬ Nᵉchemyah nacham [# 5162] — Nechemjah

Referring to other gods[edit]

Abijam: "my father is Yam" Nebuchadnezzar
(in Babylonian, Nabu-kudurri-usur) Ishbaal: "man of Baal". Mark: "dedicated to Mars". Jezebel: "glory to Baal".

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).[citation needed] On the other hand, as traditionally understood, these names simply mean " YHWH
is Master" and " YHWH
is God."[citation needed] References[edit]

^ "theophoric". Merriam-Webster
online dictionary.  ^ θεόφορος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project. ^ 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." ^ 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)." ^ 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 ..." ^ 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." ^ Mark Haughwout, "Personal Names Before Exodus 6:2-3" [1] ^ Anson F. Rainey, How Yahweh
Was Pronounced Archived December 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., QUERIES & COMMENTS. ^ Christian Ginsburg, Introduction To the Massoretico-Critical Edition Of The Hebrew Bible, p 369 ^ Scott Jones, Jehovah Archived December 15, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Heriberto Haber, Theophoric names in the BIble Beate Pongratz-Leisten, Reconsidering the Concept of Revolutionary Monotheism Eisenbrauns 2011 Lexicon of Greek Personal Names Ogden Goelet, "Moses' Egyptian Name" Jewish onomastics When Can Muslims Use the Name Mohammed?: Plus, why don't English speakers name their children Jesus? by Michelle Tsai

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Personal names and anthroponymy

Family name First name Forename Given name

Unisex name Saint's name Theophoric name

Honorific Last name Legal name

Name change

Maiden and married names Matronymic Middle name Nickname

Lists of nicknames

Patrial name Patronymic Personal name

Ancient Greek


Stage name List of pseudonyms List of stage names List of one-word stage names Ring name Pen name

Regnal name Religious name Skin name Slave name Suffix Surname

Matrilineal Patrilineal Patronymic by country extincti