Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies and Early Christianity
Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter W. van der Horst

The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online contains academic articles on the named gods, angels, and demons in the books of the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint and Apocrypha, as well as the New Testament and patristic literature. This online version contains the second extensively revised edition.

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Face פנים

(2,243 words)

Author(s): C. L. Seow
I. Name In quite a number of biblical texts the pānîm of YHWH is YHWH’s hypostatic Presence. Thus it serves the same function as Šēm‘Name’ in Deuteronomistic theology, Kābôd‘Glory’ in the Priestly tradition, and Shekinah in later Jewish writings. By recourse to such concepts, the ancient Israelites were able to speak of the deity’s simultaneous transcendence and immanence. II. Identity Elsewhere in the ancient Near East, pan ‘face’ or ‘presence’ is also used in the sense of the persona or some representation of deity. So the goddess Tannit is frequently …

Falsehood שׁקר

(1,089 words)

Author(s): H.-P. Müller
I. Name The basic meaning of the verbal root šqr, attested inter alia in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Jewish Aramaic, and Syriac is: ‘to deceive, act perfidiously’, with corresponding nominal derivations (cf. HALAT s.v. šeqer), not ‘to lie’, as has been established by Klopfenstein (1964; cf. Klopfenstein 1976:1010). In combination with the word rûaḥ, ‘spirit’, šeqer can personify the notion of falsehood in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew qitl-nominal-formation šeqer ‘falsehood, deceit, perfidy’ is often used in regard to false prophecy: t…

Familiar Spirit

(10 words)

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Father אב

(1,052 words)

Author(s): H. B. Huffmon
I. Name Heb. ʾāb, ‘father’ (a primitive Semitic noun, with idiosyncratic plurals), is of unknown etymology but is widely taken to represent a child’s early stammer. ʾĀb and its congeners refer to the biological or social father—ancestral figure, protector—and are used as an honorary title for men of importance, such as elders or the king, and for deities. In the Bible, ‘father’ occurs frequently as a divine epithet and as a theophoric element in personal names. II. Identity In religious conceptions worldwide, various divine powers, especially creator gods, are described…

Father of the Lights πατὴρ τῶν φώτων

(487 words)

Author(s): P. W. van der Horst
I. Name James. 1.17 is the only biblical text where God is called the “Father of the Lights” (πατὴρ τῶν φώτων). Most scholars agree that the expression means “the creator of the celestial bodies”, i.e. of the heavenly beings. In early Judaism there was a widespread belief that stars were angels (Schrenk 1954:1015 n. 410; Dibelius-Greeven 1964:130–131). That God created the heavenly bodies is a commonly accepted belief in the OT and in ancient Judaism (e.g. Gen. 1.14–18; Ps. 136.7; Sir. 43.1–12; see τὰ φῶτα αὐτοῦ in LXX Jer. 4.23; Philo, De Abrahamo 156–159), but the expression of this idea by means of the term “Father of the lights” is very rare (although the idea that God himself is Light is current; cf. Philo, De somniis I 75 ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν, with Spicq 1982: 681–2). The only instance is in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve. 36:3, where the sun and the moon are said to look like two black Ethiopians (35:4) who “are not able to shine because of the light of the univer…

Fear of Isaac פחד יצחק

(1,712 words)

Author(s): M. Köckert
I. Name No definite interpretation can be given for the expression paḥad yiṣḥāq. It only occurs in Gen. 31.42, Gen. 53 (in the latter verse as paḥad ʾābîw yiṣḥāq). Paḥad yiṣḥāq was interpreted as a divine name by Alt (1929) because of its archaic impression (cf. ʾăbîr yaʿăqŏb) and because of its apparent resemblance to divine names of the “God of X” type. This designation was used for the god of Isaac, which Alt thought belonged to the category of the God of the Fathers. II. Identity The interpretation of the expression as a divine name, as well as the definition of the role an…