Re: Common/proper noun functions of theos

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun May 28 2000 - 10:08:34 EDT

At 8:04 AM -0700 5/27/00, John Wilking wrote:
>The noun theos appears to function both as a common noun (a title), and as a
>proper noun. As a proper noun it appears to be used only as the Father's
>name in the NT. Other nouns seem to have the same dual role: pharaoh, dad,
>father, pastor, messiah. Anybody have any observations?

I'm not quite sure what you're looking for here. You're talking about
English nouns rather than Greek ones--with reference to nouns used both as
terms for categories or roles--agent nouns--and as proper names. The only
one of these that I think is really interesting in the Greek is QEOS, where
we seem to have a distinct development in Jewish Greek (it may be found in
other non-Jewish Hellenistic texts--I just don't know): far more frequently
in both LXX and GNT (13x) we find hO QEOS used as a vocative proper name;
and that is what generally appears in LXX also (19x), but in later LXX
books we find QEE as a vocative (11x). This shows considerable resistance
to the transformation of QEOS, which is really a generic word in Greek,
into a proper name, "God," in Hellenistic Greek usage. I don't have the
tools where I am now to check on whether that normal Greek vocative of
O-stem nouns in -E is used outside of Jewish Greek-language literature.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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