Thursday, September 22, 2005

Can you think of 1200 names?

Came across an interesting article by Jeffrey Tigay in Bible Review (Feb. 2004) called "What's In A Name?".

The article discusses the instances of theophoric names* among the ancient Benei Yisrael. The purpose of the article was to draw conclusions about the instances of idolatry among the Israelites in the Biblical period by studying the names. For example, inferences are made about personal names that include "baal", although Tigay acknowledges that these are not necessarily intended to invoke the Canaanite deity of that name.

What I find interesting is a bit of trivia; the sheer volume of available names he studied. There are, he says, 521 individual theophoric names in Tanakh. He also studied more than 700 names found in ancient inscriptions, but not in Tanakh. I had no idea there were so many names from inscriptions. In short, over 1200 names, which I'd love to have a list of. Anyway, more than half of these 1200 names, 671 contained a theophoric element.

*personal names that include the name of a god, e.g., Shmuel or Eliyahu or Yechezkel etc.

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