A man came to my home and said that scriptures got the name bible from a prostitution city called Byblos near Tyre. He said that Byblos means "city of bastards" and it was deceptively put on the bible by some as mockery because Mary was with child without a human husband. Here is what I found from Wikipedia

The Phoenician city, known to the Greeks as Býblos (Βύβλος) and to the Romans as Byblus, was important for their import of papyrus from Egypt.[10] **The English word "Bible", ultimately deriving from the Greek words bíblos (βίβλος) and biblíon (βιβλίον), may have originated with the Greeks' mispronunciation of the city or its Egyptian export.

Is there any truth in this? Is there any sect of Christians who believe this? How did scripture get the name bible?

  • 1
    Byblos doesn't mean "city of bastards," the Wikipedia article gives the meaning of the city's name.
    – user32540
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 16:04
  • Some of your questions seem more appropriate on Skeptics. If you find a good source for that claim, this one would probably work well there. If the claim turns out to be strong enough that Christians might be interested in it, then it might possibly be appropriate here also. I'm sorry, but I'm going to downvote this because in its present form it is nothing but a rant.
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


See: What Does "Bible" Mean and How Did it Get That Name?

Origin of the word:

The word Bible itself is simply a transliteration of the Greek word bíblos (βίβλος), meaning "book." So the Bible is, quite simply, The Book. However, take a step further back and the same Greek word also means "scroll" or "parchment." Of course, the first words of Scripture would have been written on parchment, and then copied to scrolls, then those scrolls would be copied and distributed and so on.

It is thought the word Biblos itself is likely taken from an ancient seaport city named Byblos. Located in modern-day Lebanon, Byblos was a Phoenician port city known for its export and trade of papyrus. Because of this association, the Greeks likely took the name of this city and adapted it to create their word for book.

Application to the Scriptures, Old and New Testament:

The collection of these writings, including the New Testament, were first called the Bible somewhere around the fourth century in the writings of John Chrysostom. Chrysostom first refers to the Old and New Testament together as ta biblia (the books), the Latin form of biblos. It was also around this time that these collections of writings began to be put together in a certain order, and this collection of letters and writings started shaping into the one-volume book that we are familiar with today.

Interesting background info on the city of Byblos: Byblos

Byblos was the religious capital of the Phoenicians, whose greatest gift to mankind was the invention of an alphabet to replace hieroglyphics. That city also was a major producer of papyrus. Thus, the combination of material technology (papyrus), innovation in communications (22 letter alphabet) and being the center of the spread of religious ideas (their own and that of the Egyptians) makes Byblos the perfect city for which to name a book of great importance.


You ask, how did scripture get the name Bible?

Etymology: Middle English Bible "the Bible," from early French Bible (same meaning), from Latin biblia (same meaning), from Greek biblia (plural) "books," derived from Byblos, ancient city in Phoenicia from which the Greeks imported papyrus. - Bible (Student Dictionary)

Here is a brief extract from a Wikipedia article on the origins of the English word, Bible:

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, "the books") is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. The English word Bible is from the Latin biblia, from the same word in Medieval Latin and Late Latin and ultimately from Koinē Greek: τὰ βιβλία, translit. ta biblia "the books" (singular βιβλίον, biblion).

Medieval Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book", while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural (gen. bibliorum). It gradually came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun (biblia, gen. bibliae) in medieval Latin, and so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe. Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια tà biblía tà ágia, "the holy books".

The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book". It is the diminutive of βύβλος byblos, "Egyptian papyrus", possibly so called from the name of the Phoenician sea port Byblos (also known as Gebal) from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia (lit. "little papyrus books") was "an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books (the Septuagint). Christian use of the term can be traced to c. 223 CE. The biblical scholar F.F. Bruce notes that Chrysostom appears to be the first writer (in his Homilies on Matthew, delivered between 386 and 388) to use the Greek phrase ta biblia ("the books") to describe both the Old and New Testaments together.Bible (Wikipedia)

The phrase ‘biblia sacra’ (holy books) first appeared sometime in the Middle Ages. In English, one of the earliest—if not the earliest—uses of “The Holy Bible” appeared in 1611 on the cover of the Authorized Version, known in the U.S. as the King James Version.

I sincerely doubt there is any truth to the rumour that: “Byblos means "city of bastards" and it was deceptively put on the bible by some as mockery because Mary was with child without a human husband.” I do not know of any Christian denomination that would make such a claim.

  • 1
    The claim about city of bastards and its relationship to Mary and Jesus might not be made by any denomination, except perhaps on one day of the year. The First of April
    – davidlol
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 23:53

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