Tuesday, March 6, 2007

2000 Year Old Jewish Names

Writing about Jews in the 1st centure CE has it's problems. Oh, sure, there's the usual -- what historical sources do you believe in about a period that is so theologically significant that it distorts every text written about it in ways both large and small, how does one write in the tone the author wishes to convey without sounding either hopelessly anachronistic or writing forsoothly, not to mention the historical scarcity of real information about some of the most significant members of Western society (such as, well, all the disciples and Jesus, himself). While those problems do exist for me writing Simon Peter, I'll tell you what, as an author, gets to me the most:


They're all named the same names! You've got Judases, Johns, Jameses, Simons and especially Marys all over the place! Like many writers, I like giving characters distinct names so that the readers can more readily keep track of the suckers in the story, but how does one consistently distinguish between the Apostle John and John the Baptist? Or between Mary Magdalene and Mary Salome? And, lastly, why on EARTH would Jews in that period continue to do this? There are roughly a billion good Jewish names, why latch onto Mary for one in four women? You'd think that more people would go, "Well, I like the name Mary and all, but if I name my daughter Judith when I call out my child's name I won't get half the village looking at me."


divabeq said...

Congrats on the new blog!

March 6, 2007 11:32 PM  
Yona said...

Same reason why one in four Muslim boys in Denmark is named "Muhammed" or one of 72 official spelling variations on the theme.

March 13, 2007 6:08 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home