Thursday, February 08, 2007

Names In The Gospels And Acts

"Thus the names of Palestinian Jews in the Gospels and Acts coincide very closely with the names of the general population of Jewish Palestine in this period, but not to the names of Jews in the Diaspora. In this light it becomes very unlikely that the names in the Gospels are late accretions to the traditions. Outside Palestine the appropriate names simply could not have been chosen. Even within Palestine, it would be very surprising if random accretions of names to this or that tradition would fit the actual pattern of names in the general population....Onomastics (the study of names) is a significant resource for assessing the origins of Gospel traditions. The evidence in this chapter shows that the relative frequency of the various personal names in the Gospels corresponds well to the relative frequency in the full database of three thousand individual instances of names in the Palestinian Jewish sources of the period. This correspondence is very unlikely to have resulted from addition of names to the traditions, even within Palestinian Jewish Christianity, and could not possibly have resulted from the addition of names to the traditions outside Jewish Palestine, since the pattern of Jewish name usage in the Diaspora was very different. The usages of the Gospels also correspond closely to the variety of ways in which persons bearing the same very popular names could be distinguished in Palestinian Jewish usage. Again these features of the New Testament data would be difficult to explain as the result of random invention of names within Palestinian Jewish Christianity and impossible to explain as the result of such invention outside Jewish Palestine. All the evidence indicates the general authenticity of the personal names in the Gospels." (Richard Bauckham, Jesus And The Eyewitnesses [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2006], pp. 73-74, 84)

1 comment:

  1. This is a bit off topic please forgive, I have posted here a couple of times under annonymous, I do wish to ask for forgiveness as some of my posts may have been negative. That is not an excuse but I was not correct airing private frustrations with christian communities on public blogs. I ask for forgiveness thank you