Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The ethnology of epigraphic Hebrew names

THE ASOR BLOG: What names teach us about Iron II society in the Land of Israel (Mitka Golub).
Names send messages about identity. Today, many African-Americans have first names that are totally different from those of white Americans. But until the early 1970s there was a great similarity between the two communities. Scholars who studied this phenomenon, Roland Fryer and Stephen Levitt, attribute this change to the Black Power movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. When black parents give their children distinctively black names, they declare and affirm their cultural identity.

Hebrew personal names from the Iron Age II bear witness to the important historical and ethnic changes of that period in much the same way: the interplay between polytheism and monotheism, the rise of Yahwism, and the evolution of ethnic identities. Hebrew personal names also shed light on the relationship between archaeology and the Bible.

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