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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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There are two, if not three, persons of this name mentioned in the NT-a fact which is not surprising, considering how very common the name was in the Greek world.

1. Demetrius, the silversmith of Ephesus (Acts 19). A business man, profoundly interested in the success of his business, Demetrius was a manufacturer of various objects in silver, of which the most profitable were small silver models of the shrine of the Ephesian goddess Artemis (see Diana). These models were purchased by the rich, dedicated to the goddess, and hung up within her temple. The preaching of St. Paul was so powerful that devotion to the goddess became less prevalent, the demand for such offerings was reduced, and Demetrius felt his livelihood in danger. He called a meeting of the gild of his handicraft to decide on a means for coping with the new situation. The meeting ended in a public disturbance. Nothing is known of the later life of Demetrius.

2. Demetrius, an important member of the church referred to in the Second and Third Epistles of St. John. It is impossible to identify the church with certainty, but there can be little doubt that it was in the province of Asia. The presbyter-overseer of the church is absent, and in his absence Gaius and Demetrius act in the truest interest of the members. Demetrius’ good conduct (3 John 1:12) is attested by all.

3. The full name of Demas (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:10, Philemon 1:24) may very well have been Demetrius (possibly Demodorus, Demodotus); see Demas.

Literature.-See W. M. Ramsay’s lifelike picture of the scene at Ephesus in his St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, London, 1895, p. 277ff. The best list of pet-names is found in A. N. Jannaris, An Historical Greek Grammar, do. 1897, § 287.

A. Souter.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Demetrius'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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