Thursday, April 04, 2013

Some interesting statistics

In terms of numbers of unique names, the largest group consists of the birth names, with 192 names, or 28.4% of all distinct names. This demonstrates the importance of the often dramatic experience of birth in name giving. The group of thanksgiving names is slightly smaller, containing 164 names, or 24.3% of the total. However, in terms of the number of instances, these names of thanksgiving constitute the largest group, which includes no less than 993 instances, or 34.0% of all inscribed names. Many names in this group appear frequently, such as those derived from the roots עמשׁ šāmaʿ ‘to hear’ (133 occurrences), עשׁי yāšaʿ Hiphil ‘to save’ (103 occurrences), and רזע ʿāzar ‘to help’ (87 occurrences). Thus, the core personal names are the thanksgiving names.—Family and Household Religion in Ancient Israel and the Levant, page 254

<idle musing>
I know, the Hebrew is backwards! Not sure why, but it appears correctly in the book...

Anyway, I find it interesting that the core of names are names of thanksgiving. I wonder if that reflects their outlook on life in general, or just thankfulness that the child survived? Remember, infant and children under 5 mortality was around 60% (that figure is from this book).
</idle musing>

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