Themis Θέμις
(522 words)

I. Name

Themis is the Greek goddess of what is just and lawful (θέμις = ‘law’, ‘justice’, ‘custom’, probably deriving from the stem θε-, ‘to lay down, set, establish’; but see Hirzel 1907: 53–56; Ehrenberg 1921: 41–43); she is the embodiment of the ‘social imperative’, the ‘social conscience’ (Harrison 1927, 485–6). In the Bible themis does not occur as a goddess, but only twice in 2 Maccabees in the expression οὐ θέμις, ‘it is not lawful’.

II. Identity

Themis is one of the many personified and de…

Cite this page
P. W. van der Horst, “Themis Θέμις”, in: Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online, Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. van der Horst. Consulted online on 20 January 2019 <>

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