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I have come across some occurrences of 'Dr. Th.' followed by a name. I first thought it means Doctor theologiae, but I am seeing it in contexts that have nothing to do with theology.

Example:

Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler, Gablers Wirtschafts-Lexikon, Band 3, 1984, Sp. 2161

Is 'Th.' by any chance the short form of Theodor?

3 Answers 3

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Th as an abbreviation name can stand for many first names and is not explicitly intended for ONE first name. It can be for "Theodor", but it can also be "Thomas", "Thaddäus" or another first name that starts with "Th".

But in your example, however, it is "Theodor":

Dr. Theodor Gabler als Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler

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  • 6
    Is it common to abbreviate a personal name to two letters, rather than a single initial? Does it depend upon the name in question?
    – gidds
    May 2, 2020 at 23:07
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    Usually you just write the first letter of the first name, e.g. J.Doe for John Doe. By Christian it is common to write Chr. as an abbreviation and by Stefan St. But there is no regulation. May 3, 2020 at 9:35
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    This occasionally happens in dutch. I suspect it has to do with the 'th' being a single letter (Þ, the thorn) in various old germanic languages and scripts. This is also the source of "Ye olde shoppe", a mistransliteration of "Þe olde shoppe".
    – AI0867
    May 3, 2020 at 12:57
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    @AI0867 Though I find that old germanic roots are interesting, it is more obvious that are Greek transliterations. Since the Greek alphabet has distinct letters for t and th, same as the German ch is a Greek x (because they sound alike), it is common to those letters. Also, ph was used to transliterate the Greek's phi into Latin (and later into German) - for no reason, because there is no collision with another Greek letter sounding like f. May 4, 2020 at 9:50
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    "The" was not spelled with thorn, it was spelled "ðe". ð is the voiced consonant, as in "this", while Þ denotes the voiceless sound, as in "thin". May 4, 2020 at 14:02
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In your example it's indeed short for Theodor Gabler.

Doctor theologiae is in short Dr. theol..

As @guidot pointed out in a comment: Any specification following Dr. is lower-case, as

  • rer. nat.
  • h.c.
  • rer. pol.
  • med.
  • phil.

... etc.

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  • Thanks @guidot - I added it into the answer.
    – Olafant
    May 3, 2020 at 13:24
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    "Any specification following Dr. is lower-case" That's not entirely true. There is the special unicorn of the "Dr.-Ing.".
    – Maeher
    May 4, 2020 at 6:55
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    @Maeher That's because unicorns don't speak Latin. ;)
    – Olafant
    May 4, 2020 at 8:46
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In Germany, the degree Doctor theologiae is abbreviated as Dr. theol. Here, Th. abbreviates the given name of Dr. Gabler, which could be, for example

  • Theodor
  • Theodora
  • Thomas
  • Theolen
  • Theobald
  • Thaddeus / Thaddäus
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