By Study and Also by Faith  >  Names in Antiquity: Old, New, and Hidden

Names in Antiquity:
Old, New, and Hidden

Bruce H. Porter and Stephen D. Ricks
LDS Institute of Religion, San Marcos, California, and Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

In the cultures of the ancient Near East, existence was thought to be dependent upon an identifying word, that word being a "name." The name of someone (or something) was perceived not as a mere abstraction, but as a real entity, "the audible and spoken image of the person, which was taken to be his spiritual essence."1 According to Philo of Alexandria, the name "is like a shadow which accompanies the body."2 Similarly, Origen viewed the name as the designation of the individual's essence.3 The phenomenon and religious significance of naming, as well as the practices of renaming and of giving secret or hidden names, are richly attested in the extant sources among the peoples of the ancient Near East, particularly in Israel and Egypt; but they are also found in chronologically and geographically contiguous societies in the ancient world.

Naming and Existence

The intimate connection between naming and existence can be inferred from its role in many ancient Near Eastern creation texts, where the creation of each element of the cosmos was dependent upon the gods naming those things which were to be created. The Enuma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, describes the precreation period as a time when "the heaven had not been named, Firm ground below had not been called by name, . . . when no gods whatever had been brought into being, Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined."4 According to Alexandre Piankoff, "The god Re creates the heavens and its host merely by pronouncing some words whose sound alone evokes the names of things — and these things then appear at his bidding. . . . As its name is pronounced, so the thing comes into being. For the name is a reality, the thing itself."5 The primeval condition is described in the Amon Ritual of Berlin Papyrus 3055 as the time when "the name of anything was not yet named."6 In the text of the Shabako Stone, an early Egyptian religious document, the notion of creation is expressed by the phrase r mt rn n iht nbt, "it is the mouth which pronouced the name of everything."7 If naming creates something, it also distinguishes that thing, since the name is that feature which reflects individuality.8

When a man received his name, he was considered complete, since he was deemed to be "constituted of body and soul and name."9 The name of a child or adult (or of an animal or thing) could be given to him either by man or by God. The Hebrew scriptures provide numerous examples of naming by God and man. Naming by man is first recorded in Genesis 2:19: "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." This act, according to Alan Jenkins, "demonstrates [man's] preeminence in the created order by virtue of the power entrusted to him by his creator."10 It is interesting to note that in the Old Testament the responsibility for naming a child frequently seems to have devolved upon women as well as men. Thus, Leah and Rachel gave names to Jacob's sons (Genesis 29:32-35; 30:6, 8, 11, 13, 18, 20, 24; 35:18).11 Similarly, the judges Samson and Samuel were named by their mothers (Judges 13:24; 1 Samuel 1:20), and Ruth and Boaz's son was named by Naomi's neighbor women (Ruth 4:17).

Names given by God or angels from God are often mentioned in the Bible and in noncanonical Jewish writings. In 1 Enoch, it is reported of Noah that he received his name in a blessing from God given through Enoch.12 Abraham's concubine Hagar was told by an angel that the name of her son would be Ishmael (Genesis 16:11). Perhaps the most memorable angelic namings are those of John the Baptist and Jesus, where the angel Gabriel announced both their forthcoming births as well as their names (Luke 1:11-13, 19, 26-31).

In Egypt, too, there are reports of naming by divine beings. The Coffin Texts report that Shu, the son of the Egyptian creator god, is given authority and intellectual capacity to "go around the circle of total being, giving everything its name."13 Further, when King Amenhotep III was being conceived, the god Amon appeared to the queen, who said: "How gracious (hotep) is thy heart towards me." To this Amon replied, "Amon is gracious (Amonhotep) is the name of the child, for these are the words which came forth from thy mouth." A similar event occurred at the birth of Queen Hatshepsut. Her mother addressed Amon: "How magnificent (shepses) it is to see thy front (hat): Thou hast embraced my majesty with thy light." The god then named the child in the following fashion: "Hatshepsut-whom-Amon-embraced (Henemet-Amon) is the name of this daughter of thine, which I put into thy womb, [according to thy words] which came out of thy mouth." The Berlin Westcar Papyrus tells of Re sending three goddesses to the birth of the first three kings of the fifth dynasty in order to assist in the birth and naming of the children.14

That the existence and essence of an individual is dependent upon his name15 is a theme particularly evident in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts, reflected in the Egyptians' almost obsessive concern with the perpetual existence of the name. For example, Osiris the king is referred to as one who "will not die, nor will his name perish."16 It is further recorded in the Pyramid Texts, "O King, succeed to your throne at the head of living, for it is the dread of you which is on their hearts. May your name live upon earth, may your name endure upon earth, for you shall not perish, nor shall you be destroyed for ever and ever."17 On the other hand, to blot out a man's name was in effect to destroy the man himself (cf. Mosiah 5:11-12). Historical evidence for this belief can be seen in the acts of Thutmosis III against the name and memory of his mother and coregent, Hatshepsut. Following her death, Thutmosis defaced her monuments, removed her name from royal inscriptions, effaced her portraits, and otherwise did all in his power to destroy her name and to remove her memory from the historical recollection of the Egyptians.18 The grave religious implications of Thutmosis' actions can be fully appreciated only when it is borne in mind that "a nameless being could not be introduced to the gods, and as no created thing exists without a name, the man who had no name was in a worse position before the divine powers than the feeblest inanimate object."19


In many parts of the ancient world there are accounts of men receiving new names in place of their former designations. This act of renaming often occurred at a time of transition in the life of the one renamed and frequently carried with it special privileges and honors for the one receiving the new name. The person who gave the new name was usually in a position of authority and could exercise power and dominion over the individual named.20 Dependence was sometimes, but not invariably, implied in renaming, since, as Otto Eissfeldt has noted, "Renaming can also indicate a kind of adoption into the household which is equivalent to conferring on them a high honor."21 This "adoption" would carry with it the idea of responsibility as well as inheritance.

Abram and his name change is usually the first to come to mind in the Old Testament. The act of changing Abram's name to Abraham begins with the introduction of God: "I am the Almighty God. . . . Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee" (Genesis 17:1, 5). The new name given to Abraham was intimately connected with the covenant he received from God.22 On the other hand, the name change of Sarai differs from that of Abraham. It is recorded that "God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be" (Genesis 17:15). God changed the name of Sarah, but Abraham was given the responsibility to initiate that change. The new Sarah was thus ready to receive God's blessing: "I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her" (Genesis 17:16).

Joseph of Egypt was renamed Zaphnath-paaneah by the Pharaoh (Genesis 41:45), who placed him in a position of authority and gave him special privileges as well as freedoms. Eliakim and Mattaniah were respectively renamed Jehoiakim by Pharaoh Neco and Zedekiah by the king of Babylon (2 Kings 23:34, 24:17). Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar, and the three heroes of the fiery furnace — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — were first known by their Hebrew names Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 1:6-7). There are numerous instances in Greek mythology of youths being renamed, often by their tutors: Achilles' son Pyrrhos was renamed Neoptolemus by his tutor Phoenix; Jason received his name from his tutor Cheiron; Achilles himself was named Ligyron before he was renamed Achilles by Cheiron; Paris's name was Alexandros when he was a neaniskos ("young man"); and Heracles was orginally called Alcaeus, Alcides, or Neilos.23

The renaming of Jacob is unique because of the series of questions and answers that accompanied it:

And he [the angel] said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he [Jacob] said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed (Genesis 32:26-28).

Jacob then asked the name of the man with whom he had wrestled (or embraced, as this may also be understood), to which the man replied, "Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there" (Genesis 32:29). Jacob then named the place where these things occurred "Peniel" (face of God) for he had entered into the presence of God and lived (Genesis 32:30). A similar account in the Hebrew 3 Enoch involves the question/answer motif, as well as the names given to Enoch "by God."24 In this work, Rabbi Ishmael begins by questioning Enoch about his name: "What is your name?" Enoch responds by listing the seventy names he had received from God. Enoch is then asked why he had these names, to which he responds that he has received these names because "he [the Holy One] assigned me to be a prince and ruler among the angels."25

In Genesis 35:9-15, God appears to Jacob in order to reaffirm what had already taken place: "And God appeared unto Jacob again, . . . and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty" (Genesis 35:9-11). As was also the case with Abraham, God is introduced as the one who has the authority to change the name and to bestow the blessing: "Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land" (Genesis 35:11-12). Jacob then sets up a stone, anoints it, and names the place of this sacred event Bethel (the House of God).26

The name change or the receipt of a new name marks a turning point in the life of the initiate: he is "re-created," so to speak, and becomes a new man. S. G. F. Brandon, in describing the rite of baptism, notes that "emergence from the waters of death, the re-clothing, and the reception of a new name . . . represented the resurrection of Christ . . . so that the baptised person should also be raised to a new and glorious life."27 This name change was the "determination to cut one's self off from one's wordly identification and one's former way of life."28

New names were frequently conferred upon individuals at the time of their enthronement. The king of Egypt assumed at the time of his accession a titulary that consisted of five "great names" (rn wr).29 Similarly, Sumerian, Hittite, and Iranian kings were all given new names at the time of their coronation or accession.30 In the Book of Mormon, all kings were to be called "Nephi," giving honor both to the original Nephi as well as to the new king (Jacob 1:11). One of the best known public examples of a name change in the modern Western world is that which occurs at the time the Roman Catholic pontiff takes office. The pope not only receives a new name but also, as part of the enthronement ceremony, dons the new robes of his office and calling.31 The receipt of a throne name is, of course, a regular feature of modern as well as ancient and medieval, royal accession rites.32

New and Hidden Names

The giving or possessing of a second name, to be kept hidden from others, is widely attested in antiquity among both mortals and divinities (and, occasionally, among objects, too). One Egyptian designation for a god was Amn-rn-f, "He whose name is hidden."33

The myth of Re and Isis, attested from a twentieth-dynasty papyrus, shows the importance of the "hidden name of the god" as well as the ignorance, even among the other gods, of the "true" name of Re. According to this myth, Isis, desired to learn the hidden name of Re so that she might gain some of the power which he possessed. Since Re had become old, he frequently drooled. Isis took some of Re's saliva which had fallen to the ground, kneaded it with earth, and formed a serpent in the shape of a pear. Subsequently, the serpent bit him, causing him to cry out in pain as the "flame of life" began to depart from him. Isis offered to alleviate Re's suffering through magic (an art at which she was particularly adept) if he would agree to reveal to her his secret name. At first he attempted to satisfy her by a repetition of names which were already well known to her. Isis refused to provide him any relief until Re, tormented and in the depths of despair, revealed his secret name to her.34

In Vedic India, besides the name for general use (vyavaharikam nama) that was given on the tenth day, a secret name (guhyam nama) known only to the parents and, occasionally, to a trusted tutor, was given the child immediately after his birth.35 In Greek magical texts, spirits and demons are often described as having "hidden names" (krupta onomata, onomata aphthengkta).36

Intertestamental literature and other writings of ancient Judaism and early Christianity refer to the hidden name. In 1 Enoch, the fallen angel Kasb'el (Beqa) requests that Michael "disclose to him his secret name so that he would memorize this secret name of his so that he would call it up in an oath in order that they shall tremble before it and the oath. He (then) revealed these to the children of the people (and) all the hidden things and this power of this oath, for it is power and strength itself."37 In rabbinic literature, the four-letter, twelve-letter, forty-two-letter, and seventy-two-letter "Hidden Name[s] of God" (sem hamporas) is frequently mentioned, although the tetragrammaton (YHWH) was not spoken, not because it was unknown, but for pious reasons.38 The motif of the hidden name of God is also evident in Christian scripture, particularly in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 2:17, those who overcome are promised that they will be given "the hidden manna" as well as a "white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (cf. Revelation 19:12; Isaiah 62:2; 65:15).39 This is of particular interest since, as Hugh Nibley has pointed out, according to the Book of Breathings, the "Osirian dead" receive the name "stone of Righteousness," and since "the use of such a tangible seal as a means of identification and certification in the course of the mysteries is infrequently met with."40 The faithful are further promised: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Revelation 3:12).41 Christ himself has a new name, as can be seen from this description: "His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself" (Revelation 19:12). The notion of the secret name was also found among the Gnostics. The Marcosians, a Gnostic sect attacked by Irenaeus, taught that Christ was clothed in a "hidden name" (to onoma to apokekrummenon).42

The hidden name of the gods was often known only to the gods and was frequently given by them. In the view of the ancient Egyptian, when the deceased was allowed to enter into the presence of the gods, he then became like them. Once he was there, he was given his "True Name," which "no man knoweth." This is made clear in the Pyramid Texts: "The king is a master of wisdom, Whose mother knows not his name."43 In the first book of the Iliad, reference is made to Aegaeon, "whom the gods call Briareus, but whom men call Aegaeon."44 According to the prayer of Joseph, Jacob is the earthly name of the patriarch, while his heavenly name is Israel.45 The Gnostic Pistis Sophia contains both the heavenly names and the earthly names of the five archons: Orimuth is Kronos, Munichunaphor is Ares, Tarpetanuph is Hermes, Chosi is Aphrodite, and Chonbal is Zeus.46 Similarly, in the Mandaean texts, Bhaq-Ziwa, who wishes a world to be created, sends down Ptahil-Uthra to nonexistence, and at the same time "he put names on him, which are hidden and preserved on their place. He called him 'Gabriel the Apostle.' "47

The idea that the name was used as a key to permit the initiate to enter into the true fold of God is also attested in the Egyptian sources. Entrance in the "Hall of the Two Truths" in order to see the face of "every God" was dependent on a knowledge of names and formulas. This is clearly evident from the 125th chapter of the Book of the Dead in which, after the deceased approaches the Hall of the Two Truths, he is told, "Let him come." Thereafter he is asked, "Who art thou?" The deceased replies with his name and then answers other questions the gatekeepers ask. Upon answering the questions correctly, the guards say, "Come, enter this gate of the Broad Hall of the Two Truths — thou knowest us." The initiate is then stopped by the jambs of the gate, and afterwards the beams, the rails, and the floor. All make the same demand, "We will not let thee enter past us . . . unless thou tellest our name." The doorkeeper of the Broad Hall of the Two Truths refuses to announce the name of the deceased unless he tells his name. After correctly giving the doorkeeper his name, the initiate petitions him to announce the initiate to the "Interpreter of the Two Lands." Again, questions are posed: "And who is the Interpreter of the Two Lands?" "It is Thoth." "Why didst thou come?" inquires the doorkeeper. "I have come to report." "What is thy condition?" To this query the deceased replies, "I am pure from sin, from quarrels in their day. I am not involved in them." "To whom shall I announce thee?" asks the doorkeeper. "To him whose Hall is of fire." "Who is he?" asks the guard. "It is Osiris," replies the initiate. "Proceed then, thou art announced."48

The proper announcement of names in order to enter the halls of the gods is a motif much older than the Book of the Dead. A similar situation is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts: "The kings speaks: Hail to you, doorkeeper of Horus at the gate of Osiris! Tell my name here to Horus, for I have come."49 The dead king must prove his divine origin and authority. The gatekeepers are to act as mediators between the deceased and the gods. Further, one finds in the Pyramid Texts: "They summon me. And they bring to me these four who pass by, wearers of the side-lock, Who stand by their staffs on the eastern side of the sky, That they may tell my name, that of the good one, to Re, And that they may announce my name, that of the good one to Nhbw-kw, I am vindicated."50

The Ethiopian Bandlet of Justification has been described as an "Ethiopian Book of the Dead."51 This "tractacte," purportedly the "prayer of our Lady Mary,"52 contains information that will enable the deceased to enter the kingdom of heaven. Chief among the topics discussed in this work is an account of Mary who, believing that Christ "possessed a secret name, by the use of which He created the world and governed it"53 — like Isis in the story of Re and Isis — asks Christ to reveal to her his hidden name. At first he demurs but, after Mary's continued importuning, he finally reveals his numerous hidden names, as well as other information necessary for the deceased's successful ascent to heaven.

In the so-called "Liturgy of Mithras," the ascent from one degree to the next is effected only through a proper knowledge of the name of the objects and beings which are encountered:

After saying this, you will see the doors thrown
open, and seven virgins coming from deep within
dressed in Linen garments, and with the faces of
asps. They are called the Fates of heaven, and
wield golden wands. When you see them, greet them
in this manner:
"Hail, O seven Fates of heaven, O noble and good
virgins, O sacred ones and companions of MINIMIK-
RROPHOR, O most holy guardians of the four pillars:
Hail to you, the first, CHREPSENTHAES!
Hail to you, the second, MENESCHEES!
Hail to you, the third, MECHRAN!
Hail to you, the fourth, ARARMACHES!
Hail to you, the fifth, ECHOMMIE!
Hail to you, the sixth, TICHNONDAES!
Hail to you, the seventh, EROYROMBRIES!54

The danger inherent in revealing the hidden name lay in the potential power over the individual which knowledge of the name might give. "The deceased king," writes Erich Hornung, "shares with no one the knowledge of his name," thereby eluding the terrifying supernatural powers of evil that can only operate if the name and nature of the object is known.55 As we have noted above, Isis is at pains to learn the secret name of Re, since she believes thereby to be able to "usurp the power of Ra."56 The first-century Rabbi Hillel said, "He . . . who spreads his name loses his name . . . and who makes use of the . . . secret name of God vanishes, and who knows [something new] will be asked for [it] in the world to come."57

In Greek magical papyri, the invocation and supplication of divinities and demons are frequently coupled with threats of exposing their true name: "O mightiest Typhon, hear me, N[ame]; and do x for me: for I tell your true names."58 Rome (i.e., the city's patron deity) was possessed of two names, one of which (given by Joannes Lydus as Flora) was preserved by the priests but was never spoken aloud, not even during the most solemn rites.59 For instance, when Valerius Soranus, a plebian tribune and distinguished grammarian of the first century B.C., betrayed the secret name, he was immediately put to death.60 According to Pliny, before the Romans besieged a town, their priests would address the tutelary deity of the town, promising it that it would be shown greater honor there than it had been in its own town. Fearful that priests of hostile cities would attempt to do the same thing at Rome, it was given a secret name.61


When contrasted with their general devaluation in the modern West, the significance of naming and the wide attestation of renaming and the giving of hidden names in the ancient world is astonishing. Not merely identification, but existence itself, was widely thought to be contingent upon the name. If naming constituted the giving of an identity, the giving of a new name gave a new identity to the recipient, and was frequently associated with an important transition in the recipient's life. As has been shown, in many of the cultures of antiquity the knowledge of certain secrets, including secret names, was requisite to entering into everlasting bliss and to learning his own "True Name," a notion succinctly reflected in the Wisdom of Sirach: "He will find gladness and a crown of rejoicing and will acquire an everlasting name" (Wisdom of Sirach 15:6).


1. W. Brede Kristensen, The Meaning of Religion, tr. John B. Carman (Hague: Nijhoff, 1971), 416.

2. Philo, De Decalogo 82.

3. Origen, Contra Celsum I, 24, in PG 11:701-3; cf. also Contra Celsum V, 45 in PG 11:1249-53.

4. "The Creation Epic (Enuma Elish)," Tablet 1:1-2, 7-8, Ephraim A. Speiser, tr., in James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), 60-61.

5. Alexandre Piankoff, The Litany of Re (New York: Pantheon Books, 1964), 4. In other myths it is Thoth who gives names to things that were previously nameless, cf. E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, 2 vols. (New York: Putnam, 1911), 1:10.

6. Berlin Papyrus 3055, col. 16:3-4, in Hermann Grapow, "Die Welt vor der Schöpfung," Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 67 (1931): 36.

7. Siegfried Morenz, Egyptian Religion, tr. Ann E. Keep (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978), 164; Grapow, "Die Welt," 36, notes that the creation language used in the Shabako Stone and in Berlin Papyrus 3055, col. 16:3-4 (cited above) is nearly identical.

In the Book of the Overthrowing of Apep, cited in Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, 2:174, in which Atum says he developed his desire to create the world "by making his mouth utter his own name as a word of power and straightway the world and all therein came into being."

8. Robert T. R. Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt (London: Thames and Hudson, 1977), 63.

9. Hans Bietenhard, "Onoma," in Gerhard F. Kittel, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, tr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967), 5:243.

10. Alan K. Jenkins, "A Great Name," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 10 (1978): 43. In the Clementine Homilies III, 21, in PG 2:124-25, the naming of the animals by Adam is itself interpreted as a creative act.

11. In Genesis 35:18, the child, first named Benoni ("son of my sorrow") by his mother, was renamed Benjamin ("son of the right hand") by his father.

12. 1 Enoch 106-7, in James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983), 1:86-88.

13. Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, 75.

14. Piankoff, The Litany of Re, 4-5.

15. Jan Zandee, Death as an Enemy (Leiden: Brill, 1960), 14; Albrecht Alt, "Menschen ohne Namen," Archiv Orientální 18/1 (1950): 9.

16. Raymond O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), par. 1812.

17. Faulkner, Pyramid Texts, par. 764; cf. ibid., par. 1660. These sections of the Pyramid Texts may be compared with the plaintive cry of Penelope to Medon about her son Telemachus, whom she imagines to have perished: "Was it that not even his name should be left among men?" Odyssey 4.710.

18. B. G. Trigger et al., Ancient Egypt: A Social History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 218-19.

19. E. A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977), 166.

20. Otto Eissfeldt, "Renaming in the Old Testament," Words and Their Meanings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), 70; Alan H. Gardiner, "A Lawsuit Arising from the Purchase of Two Slaves," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 21 (1935): 140-46.

21. Eissfeldt, "Renaming," 73.

22. According to Philo, cited in Erwin R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period, 13 vols. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1953), 1:25, Abraham reached his final state of mystical achievement by the receipt of his new name.

23. Jan Bremmer, "Heroes, Ritual, and the Trojan War," Studi Storico-Religiosi 2 (1978): 7-8, where the references to the classical sources are also given.

24. Hugo Odeberg, The Hebrew Book of Enoch (New York: KTAV, 1973), 169.

25. Ibid., 5-7.

26. The blessings that are recorded as having been bestowed on the patriarchs were also claimed by the Egyptian ruler in a slightly different form. Alan Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), 50, notes that the attributes cnh wd' snb ("may he live, be prosperous, [and] be healthy") were believed to be bestowed on the king and on persons honored by the gods. This tripartite petition was not to be used for this life only, but was a desired benediction for all eternity.

27. Samuel G. F. Brandon, "The Significance of Time on Some Ancient Initiatory Rituals," in C.J. Bleeker, ed., Initiation, Studies in the History of Religions 10 (Leiden: Brill, 1965), 47. An example of a baptismal rite in which the element mentioned by Brandon figures prominently may be found in "Homily XXII B (On Baptism)" of Narsai (fl. A.D. 450), in R. H. Connolly, ed. and tr., The Liturgical Homilies of Narsai in Texts and Studies, 10 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1909), 8:40, who wrote:

He [i.e., the initiate] waits for the priest to bring in his words before the judge; and he [the priest] restores to him the chart of Liberty with the oil and the water.
A sponsor also he brings with him into the court that he may come in and bear witness to his preparation and his sincerity. With sincerity he protests that he will abide in love of the truth; and his companion becomes a surety [saying]: "Yea, truth is the protestation of his soul." He becomes as a guide to his words and his actions; and he shews him the conduct of spiritual life. He calls [or reads] his name and presents him before the guards [i.e., the priests] that they may name him heir and son and citizen.
In the books the priest enters the name of the lost one and he brings it in and places it in the archives [archeîa] of the king's books. He makes him to stand as a sheep in the door of the sheep-fold; and he signs his body and lets him mix with the flock, the sign [rushma] of oil he holds in his hand before the beholders, and with manifest things he proclaimed the power of things hidden [cf. Mosiah 5:8-13].

28. F. X. Murphy, "Names, Christian," in New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967), 10:203.

29. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 71; cf. Alan H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961), 51; Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 46-47; John A. Wilson, The Culture of Ancient Egypt (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), 102; E. A. Wallis Budge, The Book of the Kings of Egypt (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1908), xii-xxiv.

30. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, 246; Ivan Engnell, Studies in Divine Kingship in the Ancient Near East, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1967), 59; Geo Widengren, "The Sacral Kingship of Iran," La regalitî sacra/The Sacral Kingship, Studies in the History of Religions 4 (Leiden: Brill, 1959), 253.

31. Edwin O. James, Christian Myth and Ritual (London: Murray, 1937), 90; Lord Raglan, Death and Rebirth (London: Watts, 1945), 62.

32. Arthur M. Hocart, "Initiation," Folk-Lore 35 (1924): 312. The receipt of a new name by the monarch at the time of enthronement is a nearly universal phenomenon. Tor Irstram found in his study of African kingship, The King of Ganda (Lund: Ohlsson, 1944), 58, numerous instances of new names given at the time of coronation; similarly, Robert Ellwood, The Feast of Kingship (Tokyo: Sophia University, 1973), 152, notes that the receipt of a new name was a characteristic feature of the Japanese enthronement ceremonies. The Japanese never refer to their emperor by his regnal name (e.g., Hirohito or Akihito) during his lifetime, though after his death his reign is known by this name.

33. Piankoff, The Litany of Re, 5; hidden names in Egypt from the Pharaonic to the Coptic eras are given in François Lexa, La magie dans l'Égypte antique, 2 vols. (Paris: Geuthner, 1925), 1:145; 2:155, 163-66, 168, 172, 183.

34. Willem Pleyte and Francesco Rossi, Papyrus de Turin, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1876), 2: pl. 131-38; E. Lefébure, "Un chapitre de la chronique solaire," Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 21 (1883): 27-33; Gunther Roeder, Urkunden zur Religion der alten Ägypten (Jena: Dederichs, 1915), 138-41; Lexa, La magie dans l'Égypte antique, 1:113-14; E. A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Tales and Romances (London: Thornton and Butterworth, 1935), 111-17: Hendrik Willem Obbink, De magische Beteekenis van den Naam inzonderheid in het Oude Egypte (Amsterdam: Paris, 1925), 4-8.

35. Alfons Hilka, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der indischen Namengebung: Die altindischen Personennamen (Breslau: Marcus, 1910), 12; Wilhelm Kroll, "Aberglaube," Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 52 (1897): 346; Wilhelm Schmidt, Die Bedeutung des Namens in Kult und Aberglauben: Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Volkskunde (Darmstadt: Otto, 1912), 45. Hilka also notes, Beiträge zur Kenntnis, 40, that the practice of bestowing secret names persists among the modern Hindus. According to Jan Gonda, Vedic Ritual: The Non-Solemn Rites (Leiden: Brill, 1980), 375, the name given a child immediately after birth was not revealed so as to protect the child from the attack of evil spirits. See also Moritz Zeller, Die Knabenweihen: Eine psychologisch-ethnologische Studie (Bern: Haupt, 1923), 3.

36. Carl Wessely, ed., Griechische Zauberpapyrus von Paris und London, in Königliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien. Philosophisch-historische Klasse. Denkschriften 36/2 (1888): v. 1609; Carl Wessely, ed., Neue griechische Zauberpapyri, in Königliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien. Philosophisch-historische Klasse. Denkschriften 42/2 (1893): v. 569; cf. Albrecht Dieterich, Abraxas: Studien zur Religions-geschichte des späten Altertums (Leipzig: Teubner, 1891), 195; Schmidt, Bedeutung des Namens, 43.

37. 1 Enoch 69:14-15, in Charlesworth, ed., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 1:48.

38. Chaim Kaplan, "The Hidden Name," Journal of the Society of Oriental Research 13 (1929): 181-84. The pious suppression of a divine name is frequently attested in antiquity, cf. Rudolf Hirzel, "Der Name: Ein Beitrag zu seiner Geschichte im Altertum und besonders bei den Griechen," in Abhandlungen der Philologisch-historischen Klasse der Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften 36/2 (1918), 252-57, and the explanation given in Doctrine and Covenants 107:2-4 why the first priesthood, called before Melchizedek's time "the Holy Priesthood, after the order of the Son of God" was later called after the name of Melchizedek "out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name."

39. Cf. Attilio Gangemi, "La manna nascosta e il nome nuovo," Rivista Biblica Italiana 25 (1977): 348, where he reviews various suggestions concerning the meaning of the white stone in ancient and modern commentators, including those of Aretas, Andreas of Caesarea, Pseudo-Augustine, Strabo, Primasius, the Venerable Bede, Alcuin, Grotius, Zahn, and Swete, concluding that its most probable meaning is that of "una attestatazione di vittoria" ("a sign of victory").

40. Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975), 120.

Henry C. Trumbull, The Blood Covenant (New York: Scribner, 1885), 336, mentions a striking aspect in the manhood initiation rites practiced among the natives of New South Wales: "There, the initiate is given a white stone or quartz crystal, called a mundie, at the time that he receives his new name. This stone is thought to be a gift from deity and is viewed as being particularly sacred. In order to test the moral stamina of the initiate, the old men of the community try by all sorts of means to induce him to give it to them after he has received it."

41. That the children of Christ are known and called by name is implied by John 10:3: "The sheep heareth his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out."

42. Irenaeus, Contra Haereses I, 21, 3, in PG 7:661-64.

43. Faulkner, Pyramid Texts, par. 394.

44. Iliad I, 403-4; cf. XX, 74: "whom the gods call Xanthus, but men call Scamander."

45. Jonathan Z. Smith, "The Prayer of Joseph," in Jonathan Z. Smith, ed., Map Is Not Territory (Leiden: Brill, 1978), 31.

46. Pistis Sophia 137, in Carl Schmidt and Walter Till, eds. and trs., Koptisch-Gnostische Schriften, 2 vols. (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1962), 1:237

47. Mark Lidzbarski, Ginza (Göttingen: Hinrich, 1925), 98, cited in Geo Widengren, The Ascension of the Apostle and the Heavenly Book (King and Savior III) (Uppsala: Lundequist, 1950), 59; cf. also Lidzbarski, Ginza, 284, where Ptahil is identified as Gabriel, and see Kurt Rudolf, Theogonie, Kosmogonie und Anthropogonie in den mandäischen Schriften (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1965), 198, for further examples in Mandaean literature. This same dichotomy between heavenly names and earthly names is also implied in John Milton, Paradise Lost 1:79-83, where "the Infernal Serpent" begins to recognize the companions of his revolt by him, including, weltring by his side,

One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began.

48. Thomas G. Allen, ed. and tr., The Egyptian Book of the Dead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 200-202.

49. Faulkner, Pyramid Texts, par. 520-21.

50. Ibid.

51. Sebastian Euringer, "Die Binde der Rechtfertigung (Lefâfa sedek)," Orientalia 9 (1940): 76-99, 244-59.

According to E. A. Wallis Budge, The Bandlet of Righteousness: An Ethiopian Book of the Dead (London: Luzac, 1929), 1-2, the bandlet of justification (or, righteousness) was "a strip of linen or parchment which was exactly as long as the body of the person for whose benefit it was prepared was high, and on this were inscribed a series of eight magical compositions, and, presumably, drawings of crosses. The width of the strip is unknown; it may have been wide enough to cover the body, but it is more likely that it was only from 3 inches to 6 inches wide, like the linen strips inscribed in hieratic with texts from the Book of the Dead, which the Egyptians buried with their dead in the Saïte and Ptolemaïc periods. This Bandlet was wound round the body of the deceased on the day of burial and was believed to protect it from the attacks of devils, and enable him to pass through the earth without being stopped at any of the gates or doors, and ultimately to pass into heaven."

Both Euringer and Budge consistently refer to this work as "magical," without providing a shred of evidence for their use of this terminology. While the contents of the Bandlet of Justification may, in certain regards, reflect the post-Reformation European view of "magic," discussed by David Aune in "Magic; Magician," in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, rev. ed., 4 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 3:213-14, it has little to do with activities and writings that were anciently described as "magical." According to Jonathan Z. Smith, "Good News Is No News: Aretalogy and Gospel," in Smith, Map Is Not Territory, 163, and Jules Maurice, "La terreur de la magie au IV. siècle," Comptes rendus de l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1926): 188, in antiquity certain ritual activities were described as "magical" if they were illegal or societally marginal.

Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973), 163, avers that "magic" was primarily a term of abuse, a most interesting statement in light of the title of his book, Jesus the Magician, which came out in 1978, only a few years after the other statement was made. As Hans Penner has pointed out in a recent brilliant article, "Rationality, Ritual, and Science," in Jacob Neusner, Ernest S. Frerichs, and Paul V. M. Flesher, Religion, Science, and Magic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 11-24, no objective criteria can be established for distinguishing "magic" and ritual.

52. Euringer, "Binde," 244.

53. Budge, Bandlet of Righteousness, 50.

54. Marvin W. Meyer, The "Mithras Liturgy" (Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1976), 14, 16. According to Meyer, ibid., vii-viii, although the tractate may contain Mithraic elements, it was "apparently collected for use in the working library of an Egyptian magician."

55. Erich Hornung, Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt, tr. John Baines (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982), 88-89; cf. also Otto Böcher, Dämonenfurcht und Dämonenabwehr: Ein Beitrag zur Vorgeschichte der christlichen Taufe (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1970), 104-6; idem, Christus Exorcista: Dämonismus und Taufe im Neuen Testament (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1972), 88-89, for a similar view of the power inherent in the knowledge of names in New Testament exorcisms.

56. Budge, Egyptian Tales and Romances, 111.

57. Cited in Gershom G. Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1965), 80.

58. Arthur D. Nock, "Greek Magical Papyri," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 15 (1929): 227.

59. Joannes Lydus, De Mensibus (Peri Meonon) IV, 30; cf. IV, 73, 75, in Richard Wünsch, Ioannis Lydi Liber de Mensibus (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1967), 89.19, 125.7-8, 126.16. Joannes Lydus posits a relationship between Flora, Rome's secret name, and Anthousa, the secret name of the New Rome, Constantinople. According to Jacob Bernays, "Quellennachweise zu Politianus und Georgius Valla," Hermes 11 (1876): 129-34, and A. Riese, "Anthusa," Hermes 12 (1877): 143-44, several other Greek and Byzantine authors also mention Anthousa as the name of Constantinople, among them Julius Honorius, Eustathius, and Stephanus Byzantinus. Georg Wissowa, "Flora," in Georg Wissowa, ed., Paulys Realencyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (Stuttgart: Metler, 1909), 6:2749, coolly avers that there "ist nichts Rechtes anzufangen" with the name Flora. Macrobius, Saturnalia III, 9, 8, includes several suggestions about the secret name (tutelary deity) of Rome, including Jupiter, Luna (Lua), Angerona, and (his personal preference) Ops Consivia. But see Friedrich Pfister, "Zur Grabschrift des Aberkios," Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift 33 (1913): 29, who distinguishes in the writings of the classical authors between the onoma telestikon, which might under no circumstances be divulged, the onoma hieratikon, which might, without penalty, be revealed to another person, and the onoma politikon, the name commonly used. Rome's three names, corresponding to these three categories were, respectively, Eros, Flora, and Roma.

60. Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae 61; Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis III, 5, 65; Servius, Commentarius in Aeneidem I, 277, in Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen, eds., Servii Grammatici Commentarii, 3 vols. (Hildesheim: Olms, 1961), 1:103.

61. Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis XXVIII, 4, 18; cf. Macrobius, Saturnalia III, 9, 4.

The power of the knowledge of a name over a being can also be seen in the widely attested folk tales of the Rumpelstiltskin variety (Tom Tit Tot, Purzingele, Kruzimugeli, Gilitrutt, Ropiquet, and Wind and Weather), wherein elves, trolls, dwarves, and sprites are rendered impotent to work their (generally malevolent) will on their would-be victims because their names have been discovered; cf. Edward Clodd, Tom Tit Tot: An Essay on Savage Philosophy (London: Duckworth, 1898), 53-56; idem, "The Philosophy of Rumpelstiltskin," Folk-Lore Journal (1889): 135-62; Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 3 vols. (Basel: Schwabe, 1953), 1:418, n. 1, and 454; Schmidt, Bedeutung des Namens, 43-44; Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk Literature, 6 vols. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966), C 432.1 (vol. 1:518), G 303.16.19.9 (vol. 3:339); Jan de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, 2 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1957), 2:49-50, notes that the names Freyer and Freya were not the true names of these deities, but were used so that no harm might come to them.