One of the more remarkable pieces of data in Richard Bauckham’s 2006 book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, is the comparison of Palestinian Jewish names in the Gospel period to those recorded in the Gospels themselves. ¹
He draws on the work of the Israeli scholar Tal Ilan, who compiled totals of all the recorded name occurrences in Palestinian Jews from 330 BC to 200 AD. The frequency correspondence can only be described as amazing. Although the correspondence in female names is impressive in its own right, we will focus here on the male names, since there is a much larger sample from which to draw conclusions.
In Table 6, Bauckham lists the 99 Most Popular Jewish names in Palestine. ² [Read more…]