🔼The name Hermas: Summary
- (New) Declaration, Border Crosser
- From the verb ερμηνευω (hermeneuo), to interpret, explain or translate.
🔼The name Hermas in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Hermas
It's not clear whether the Hermas (Ερμας) mentioned by Paul is a known variant of the name Hermes (Ερμης) or whether it's a whole other name, perhaps from another language. It's conceivable that Hermes and Hermas originally had the same name and were told apart this way (something comparable appears to be going on with the names Tryphosa and Tryphaena).
The Greek word ερμα (herma) denotes the ballast which keeps a ship steady when it's docked, and is used metaphorically for whatever keeps the economy of a city stable. The verb ερμαζω (hermazo) means to steady or support, and the adjective ερμασις (hermasis) means supporting. Our sources don't explicitly mention it, but it wouldn't be surprising if these words are related to the following:
The verb ερμηνευω (hermeneuo) means to interpret, explain or translate, and emphasizes the crossing of borders (i.e. between language areas or schools of thought). It's obviously related to hermeneutics, or the branch of knowledge that deals with theories of interpretation.
The name Hermas probably means the same as the name Hermes, which, we propose, is (New) Declaration or (Supporting) Message or Border Crosser.