Names, Titles, and Other Possibilities

Matthew V. Novenson

in Christ among the Messiahs

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844579
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933075 | DOI:
Names, Titles, and Other Possibilities

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This chapter addresses the question whether the word “Christ” in Paul is used as a title or as a proper name. It is argued, against current majority opinion, that it is not the case that titles have sense while names have only reference, and that in Paul’s linguistic context, anyway, there were many more onomastic categories than just those two. A survey of ancient Jewish, Greek, and Roman onomastics reveals that “Christ” in Paul functions syntactically neither as a name nor as a title but rather as an honorific, an adopted epithet that can either stand with or stand in for the bearer’s personal name (e.g., Antiochus Epiphanes, Caesar Augustus, Shimon bar Kokhba, Jesus Christ).

Keywords: honorific; onomastics; proper name; reference; sense; title

Chapter.  16865 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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