Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 02 March |
Saint of the Day: St. Chad
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Names can vouch for Bible’s historicity

BIBLE HEBREW

Pascal Deloche / Godong | Ref:309

John Burger - published on 06/25/20

Hebrew University scholar compares names found in Jeremiah with archaeology from similar time period.

One of the worst and most embarrassing things a journalist can do is misspell a person’s name. Those who passed down and wrote down the oral traditions that became the Bible seem to have had a similar attentiveness to names.

That’s the theory of Mitka R. Golub of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the Summer 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Golub argues that biblical editors were less likely to alter personal names than events with theological importance.

And that makes personal names a good area to look at when determining the historical accuracy of the Bible. If the names found in a particular book of the Bible are similar to names discovered on archaeological artifacts from a similar time period in ancient Israel, that’s a pretty good measure of historicity.


BIBLE

Read more:
What is the best edition of the Bible for Catholics?

Golub focused on names in the Book of Jeremiah, which describes events from the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. She compared those names with names inscribed on archaeological material dated to the same time, which was the end of the Iron Age II. But not only does she consider names, she looks more specifically at naming characteristics.

“Rather than comparing only individual names, she analyzes elements of names, such as if a personal name contains part of a divine name and, if so, where that element appears within the name (e.g., at the beginning or end),” writes Megan Sauter of the Biblical Archaeology Society, summing up Golub’s approach.

If naming characteristics in the biblical text and archaeological record align, it supports the historicity of the Bible — meaning that the biblical book in question was likely written near the events it describes and reflects genuine names of the respective period,” Sauter writes at the blog Bible History Daily. “However, if the naming characteristics differ, it might suggest that the biblical book was written or edited at a later date.”

Golub concludes that the Book of Jeremiah was written close to the events it describes. Those interested can find out more at Bible History Daily.

Tags:
Bible
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SEARCHNG PURSE
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things every Catholic woman should have in her purse
2
Jacques Fesch
Brother Silas Henderson, SDS
Meet the Death Row prisoner who discovered a ...
3
MADONNA
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
4
CELEBRITY MARRIAGES
Cerith Gardiner
10 Celebrities whose marriages have stood the test of time
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
6
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
7
Frei Giuseppe Ungaro
Aleteia
The 100-year-old Franciscan who knew 6 saints in person
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.