Unknown God
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2316. theos -- God, a god
... theos Phonetic Spelling: (theh'-os) Short Definition: God, a god Definition: (a)
God, (b) a god, generally. 2316 (of unknown origin) -- properly,, Creator and ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2316.htm - 7k

Marcion's Gnostic Pretensions Vain, for the True God is Neither ...
... as well as the natural gratification which is inherent in novelty, that I wanted
to refute, and thence further to challenge a proof of this unknown god. ...
/.../the five books against marcion/chapter ix marcions gnostic pretensions vain.htm

Not Enough, as the Marcionites Pretend, that the Supreme God ...
... Now in that section of our work which concerned the question of the unknown god,
two points were made clear enough"both that he had created nothing: and that ...
/.../tertullian/the five books against marcion/chapter xvii not enough as the.htm

That the Philosophers have Attained to Some Portion of Truth.
... religious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar
with the inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ...
/.../clement/the stromata or miscellanies/chapter xix that the philosophers have.htm

Titus i. 14-Dec
... For when Paul was discoursing to the Athenians, in the course of his harangue he
quoted these words, "To the Unknown God": and again, "For we also are His ...
/.../homily iii titus i 14-dec.htm

Of the Name of God
... This, Socrates, an heathen, professed to be all his knowledge, that he knew he did
know nothing, and therefore he preached an unknown God to the Athenians, to ...
/.../binning/the works of the rev hugh binning/lecture vii of the name.htm

Concerning the one God Only to be Worshipped, Who, Although his ...
... Book IV. Chapter 25."Concerning the One God Only to Be Worshipped, Who, Although
His Name is Unknown, is Yet Deemed to Be the Giver of Felicity. ...
/.../augustine/city of god/chapter 25 concerning the one god.htm

The Self-Communication of God
... Unknown which is God. There the Will lays hold of God in a mysterious manner,
and the Unknown God imparts His impress to the Will. ...
/.../eckhart/meister eckharts sermons/v the self-communication of god.htm

Circumcision Unknown Before Abraham.
... Chapter XIX."Circumcision unknown before Abraham. ... Wherefore also God has announced
that you have forsaken Him, the living fountain, and digged for yourselves ...
/.../chapter xix circumcision unknown before abraham.htm

God Cannot be Embraced in Words or by the Mind.
... [3096] For in walking about, and beholding the objects of your worship, I
found an altar on which was inscribed, To the Unknown God. ...
/.../clement/the stromata or miscellanies/chapter xii god cannot be embraced.htm

The Knowledge that God Is, Combined with the Knowledge that He is ...
... "That God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him diligently." Most
part of our service speaks an unknown God, and carries such an inscription upon ...
/.../binning/the works of the rev hugh binning/lecture xi the knowledge that.htm

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Unknown God


un-non', (agnostos theos): In Acts 17:23 (St. Paul's speech in Athens) the American Standard Revised Version reads: "I found also an altar with this inscription, To AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you." the King James Version and the English Revised Version margin translate "to the Unknown God," owing to the fact that in Greek certain words, of which theos is one, may drop the article when it is to be understood. In the present case the use of the article. is probably right (compare Acts 17:24). In addition, the King James Version reads "whom" and "him" in place of "what" and "this." The difference here is due to a variation in the Greek manuscripts, most of which support the King James Version. But internal probability is against the King James Version's reading, as it would have been very easy for a scribe to change neuters (referring to the divine power) into masculines after "God," but not vice versa. Hence, modern editors (except yon Soden's margin) have adopted the reading in the Revised Version (British and American).

Paul in Athens, "as he beheld the city full of idols," felt that God was truly unknown there. Hence the altar with the inscription struck him as particularly significant. Some Athenians, at any rate, felt the religious inadequacy of all known deities and were appealing to the God who they felt must exist, although they knew nothing definite about Him. No better starting-point for an address could be wished. What the inscription actually meant, however, is another question. Nothing is known about it. Altars dedicated "to unknown gods" (in the plural) seem to have been fairly common (Jerome on Titus 1:12; Pausanias, i.1, 4; Philaster, Vita Apoll., vi.3), and Blase (Commentary ad loc.) has even suggested that the words in Acts were originally in the plural. But this would spoil the whole point of the speech, and the absence of references to a single inscription among thousands that existed can cause no surprise. Those inscriptions in the plural seem to have been meant in the sense "to the other deities that may exist in addition to those already known," but an inscription in the sing. could not have this meaning. Perhaps a votive inscription is meant, where the worshipper did not know which god to thank for some benefit received. That a slur on all the other Athenian objects of worship was intended is, however, most improbable, but Paul could not of course be expected to know the technical meaning of such inscriptions.


Buston Scott Easton



Unknown God

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