Abstract

The phenomenon of polyonymy—the use of multiple names, epithets, and descriptions for a deity—is defined and distinguished from closely related ideas. The Greco-Roman practice is illustrated via five deities: Zeus, Dionysus, Apollo, Selene, and Isis. Related practices of the earliest Christians are explored via selected NT texts in Acts and John. Although monotheism placed some restrictions on early Christian use of polyonymy in the strict sense of proper names, a profusion of titles was readily employed to describe Jesus. This distinction corresponds roughly to the difference between contact syncretism and internal syncretism.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.