Thursday, April 04, 2013

It really does mean something

Some may object that, although Hebrew personal names are derived from the roots of words that express familial piety, their use was determined more by fashion than by the religious convictions of the parents. If this were the case, these names would reflect the religious environment only indirectly and would offer no access to the beliefs of Israelite families. There are, however, several indications that the bestowal of names in ancient Israelite societies reflected more than mere ephemeral fashion. Foremost among these is the fact that, many times in the Hebrew Bible, the naming of a child is followed by an explicit explanation for the choice of the name.—Family and Household Religion in Ancient Israel and the Levant, page 246

<idle musing>
I find that persuasive. We too easily project our current way of thinking back on the ancient world. Just because we choose names based on popularity doesn't mean they did. But, then again, we worship celebrities in this culture, so maybe the popularity of a name is a refection of our personal values...
</idle musing>

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