Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Do we have such expressions as "the holiest" in the New Testament Greek? Is there a superlative of "holy" in Old Greek at all?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Dan Jun 20 '14 at 15:39

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions without a specific Bible passage are off-topic as we cannot apply hermeneutical methods to text if there is no text." – Dan
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You form a superlatives by taking the adjective ἅγιος (holy) and adding ατοτος. I have not yet found any occurrences of this word in the Greek New Testament.


I believe that τῇ ἁγιωτάτῃ ... πίστει is the predicative position which would lead to an intensification of the adjective. "Most holy faith" is an interpretation of the emphasis, but not a strict superlative (Jude 20). It's more along the lines of bolding something that you read with emphasis in your head, "... building yourselves up in your holy faith ..."

Hebrews 9:3 is Ἅγια Ἁγίων which is just "Holy of Holy [ones/things/ideas/places]" which is usually reduced to "Holy of Holies." This is conceptually parallel to the English idea of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." They're substantive adjectives - adjectives that take on the function of a noun. Given the OT imagery that runs through Hebrews, this would have been a natural connection to make to the inner room of the tabernacle.

share|improve this answer
"You form a superlatives by taking the adjective ἅγιος (holy) and adding ατοτος. I have not yet found any occurrences of this word in the Greek New Testament" - What about prepending πᾶς ('all') to an adjective? I mean such cases like παντοκράτωρ ('almighty') or παναγιότης ('all-holiness'). Do we have anything like that in the New Testament? – brilliant Aug 5 '12 at 22:30

These are the closest phrases I could find:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit -Jude 1:20

Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies -Hebrews 9:3

In the Greek text, Jude uses ἁγιωτάτῃ and Hebrews uses Ἅγια Ἁγίων.

share|improve this answer
If anyone would care to explain how to insert the Greek language into my post next time, that would be greatly appreciated!! – Jas 3.1 Jul 2 '12 at 17:42
Now that I got over my confusion, I added a bit of Greek into the post. I basically copy-and-paste from the Blue Letter Bible webpage. You need to press the little C icon next to a verse in order to see the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic original. – Jon Ericson Jul 2 '12 at 18:05

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.