I got an interesting question asked a few days ago, about the term 'Theoi'. It was a simply worded question: 'why do you use 'Theoi' instead of 'Gods'. Well, I use both, but I prefer 'Theoi'. If I am talking about both Hellenic and non-Hellenic Gods, I will always use 'Theoi' for the Hellenic Gods.

Needless to say, 'Theoi' (Θεοί) means 'Gods' in Greek. But where does it come from? Well, Plato has an explanation that I quite enjoy. From his 'Cratylus':

"I think the earliest men in Greece believed only in those gods in whom many foreigners believe today—sun, moon, earth, stars, and sky. They saw that all these were always moving in their courses and running, and so they called them gods (θεούς) from this running (θεῖν) nature; then afterwards, when they gained knowledge of the other gods, they called them all by the same name."

[For those interested, the Greek: φαίνονταί μοι οἱ πρῶτοι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῶν περὶ τὴν ῾Ελλάδα τούτους μόνους [τοὺς θεοὺς] ἡγεῖσθαι οὕσπερ νῦν πολλοὶ τῶν βαρβάρων, ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην καὶ γῆν καὶ ἄστρα καὶ οὐρανόν• ἅτε οὖν αὐτὰ ὁρῶντες πάντα ἀεὶ ἰόντα δρόμῳ καὶ θέοντα, ἀπὸ ταύτης τῆς φύσεως τῆς τοῦ θεῖν “θεοὺς” αὐτοὺς ἐπονομάσαι• ὕστε-ρον δὲ κατανοοῦντες τοὺς ἄλλους πάντας ἤδη τούτῳ τῷ ὀνό-ματι προσαγορεύειν.]

This kind of old entymology, especially once addressed by someone like Plato, gives the term something extra for me. Using it makes me feel connected to these ancient Hellenes mentioned by Plato and to Plato himself. That is something I always--always--strive for.

I also get asked a ot how to pronounce 'Theoi'. It’s supposed to sound 'th' as in 'think' (at least in a more late Greek, although it was supposed to have sound like 't' in more archaic times), 'e' like in 'bet' (it’s supposed to be a very short 'e', so make it shorter than when you pronounce 'read' as in 'I have read') and 'oi' as a diphthong, more or less like in 'oyster'. In θεοί, the accent, and thus, the stressed letter, is the final 'i', so it has to be something like 'the-o-EE'.