Trying to improve my understanding of biblical greek and ran across something odd.

Theos - Θεός is nominative.
Theon - Θεόν is accusative.
TheO - Θεῷ is dative.
Theou - Θεοῦ genitive.
Theoi - θεοί seems to be plural.

What would he vocative case version of Theos be? From what I've read singular masculine words would generally replace the ός with an ε, leaving us with Θεε, which doesn't seem right. ... if theos were to be used in the vocative case, would it just be written in the nominative form?


1 Answer 1


Classical Greek doesn't use very much the name θεός in vocative case; in case, the vocative form is θεός, like the nominative. But the vocative form θεέ is commonly used in later Greek (together with θεός): recall Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες; (Mt 27:46).

Note that also in Latin the vocative of deus is the same as the nominative: the same verse from Matthew, in the Latin version, has Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me?

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    Welcome to the site! I'm glad to see another mathematician with classical interests.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 12:48
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    Excellent answer! Though I wouldn't say that that's a vocative of deus in the Latin: the vocative of meus would be . Instead I see that passage as showing that deus just plain doesn't have a vocative, so it uses the nominative, and everything agreeing with it goes nominative too.
    – Draconis
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 23:32
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    Thank you. Sure, the vocative in classical Latin is mi. And I agree that a direct question or exclamation doesn't necessarily imply a vocative. But at least here, isn't X in "X, why did you leave me?", logically, a vocative? Besides "Mi Deus!" and "Deus mi!" are used in biblical Latin (but, yes, maybe later?), which shows, by your reasoning, that at least sometimes "Deus" can be a vocative. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 22:44
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    I used to think that here "meus" is a vocative form of biblical Latin, maybe somehow attracted by "Deus". In fact I am a bit confused. I'd say (in semi-serious way) that here "Deus meus" is "formally nominative and logically vocative". Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 22:45
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    @PietroMajer Actually, this is worth asking about separately, because now I'm curious.
    – Draconis
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 17:30

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