🔼The name Demetrius: Summary
- Belonging To Demeter, Belonging To The Earth Mother
- From the ancient proto-Indo-European root for mother.
🔼The name Demetrius in the Bible
There are two men named Demetrius mentioned in the Bible:
- A silversmith in Ephesus, who manufactured silver shrines of Artemis and who rightly feared that Paul's message would have detrimental effects on his market share (Acts 19:24 and 19:38). He managed to convert his economic concerns into religious and nationalistic zeal and this led to a riot during which Paul's companions Gaius and Aristarchus were nearly lynched (19:29).
- Someone who apparently received a unanimously positive report (3 John 1:12). The details of this appraisal are unclear, but note that the third letter of John is addressed to Gaius. There were many people named Gaius and Demetrius in those days, but since Judaism and thus Christianity was pretty much illegal after the destruction of the Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem (in 70 AD), it may be expected that much of the early Christian writing contained code of some sort.
🔼Etymology of the name Demetrius
The name Demetrius means Belonging To Demeter, and the latter was a popular Greek goddess of harvest, who also presided over divine Law and the cycle of life and death. These themes are obviously also of great dominance in the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see our article on the name Pesah). John also mentions a "Chosen Lady" (2 John 1:1), which may very well refer to the same.
The name Demeter consists of two parts. Where the first bit comes from isn't clear but the final end corresponds to the proto-Indo-European root that also gave us the words "mater" and "mother".
Depending on how one interprets the first part of the name, the name Demetrius means something like Belonging To The Earth Mother or the Great Mother and so on.