the Fourth Week of Lent
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
‘Mercury’ (Acts 14:12 Revised Version ; Authorized Version ‘Mercurius,’ Revised Version margin ‘Gr. Hermes’), like ‘Jupiter’ (q.v. [Note: .v. quod vide, which see.] ), is used as the Greek equivalent of some local Lycaonian god. Hermes ‘is the name of a Greek god (corresponding to the Roman Mercury) whose origin and real character are perhaps more difficult to define than is the case with any other Greek deity’ (Ramsay, Encyclopaedia Britannica 9 xi.  749). He was the accredited messenger between gods and men. Besides this he was the god of social intercourse, and hence came to be regarded as the personification of cleverness; that he should then be regarded as the patron of thieves was but a step. He is also spoken of as conducting the souls of the departed to their last home-an idea inherited from the Vedic mythology. Because of his connexion with the wind he is generally represented as wearing winged shoes. St. Paul, however, was dubbed ‘Hermes,’ ‘because he was the chief speaker,’ which reminds us that this deity was thought of as the god of eloquence. The statue of the god by Praxiteles in the Heraion at Olympia conceived him as possessing peculiar beauty and grace, which accords ill with the traditional portrait of the Apostle. The fact is that the Lycaonians were so wrought upon by the miracle that had been performed, and so delighted at the eloquence of St. Paul, that they did not stop to consider such details.
F. W. Worsley.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Mercury'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdn/​m/mercury.html. 1906-1918.