Introduction to Theophory

We feel one of the greatly neglected areas of Onomastics (the formal study of proper names and their origin) is the niche topic of Telephory – the practice of embedding the name of a god or deity in a proper name. In particular, those with a faith-based orientation to naming children may be very interested in the area.

It’s a topic we shall return to in greater detail in our forthcoming e-book on Theory of Names (and plan to run a series of short blog posts on Telephory in the New Year) but for the moment, here are some of the better known examples of Theophoric names in the Christian-Hebrew domain-

Amadeus – lover of God

Christopher – Christ-bearer

Dorothea – gift to God

Elizabeth – my God is abundance

Emmanuel/Immanuel – God is with us

Grace – gift from God

Samuel – name of God

Raphael – Divine healer or God heals

Suriel – Moon of God

Tamiel – Perfection of God

Tarfiel – God Nourishes

Theodora – Gift from God

Uriel – Sun of God or Fire of God.

What examples of Theophoric names do you like?

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