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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/742

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NAMES


070


NAMES


pious and soci.il conditions of these peoples. We shall here discus.s only Hebrew names: I. Divine Names;

II. PKH.-iONAL NaMKs; III. Pl.ACK NaMES.

I. DiviNK Namks. — l'(7/ii((7i. — .lehovah (q. v.), the tnulilional form of lliis name in Western !anpuaj;es, is based on a misnnderstandint; iif llie Massoretie vocali- zation. The name Vahwcli, nf which an abbreviated form, Yah, and a spellin;;, Ynhir, .seen) to have been popular, is derived doul>lle.-isly from the verb haynh, "to be", and is best translated bv "he is" (Lagrange in" Revue Biblique", 1!««, pp.;i70 -Sti; 1<K)S, pp.383- 81)). 'El, which is found aincmg all .Semitic peoples (Pho:-n., Arab.: 'FA: .V.-syr. : //, Ilu; .\ram.: M/o/i), is, in the Bible, appellative in most cases, but was cer- tainly in the beginning a i)roper name (so, e. g., in Gen., xx.xi, 13; xxxiii, 20; xlvi, 3). Its etymology is to the present day a much mooted question : some derive the word from a root '\d, "to be strong"; othersfrora y'l, which might connote the idea of "being the first"; otliers finally from 'Ih, by which, at an early stage of the ilevelopment of the Semitic languages the idea of mere relation (esse ad) was conveyed. According to the first two opinions, the name is intended primarily to express the superiority of the Divine nature, whereas, according to the third, God is 'El because He is the term of the aspirations (Jinis) of mankind (Lagrange, "Etudes sur les religions s^mitiques", 70 sqq., especially 78-80; "Revue biblique", 1903, pp. 362-370). Closely related to 'El are the names 'Eloh and 'Elohim, sometimes used as appellatives, but more frequentlj' as proper names. The plural form of the latter to some extent still puzzles grammarians and students of the religious belief of the Hebrews (see Gcsenius-Kautzsch, "Hcbr. Gramm.", § 124, g-i; Prat, "Le nom di\nn est-il intensif en Hebreu?" in "Revue bibl.", 1901, p. 497 sqq.; Smith "The Reli- gion of the Semites", London, 1907, 445; Lagrange, "Etudes sur les religions s6mitiques", 77). We need not dwell upon the many cases where 'El and 'Elohim are used iis appellatives, either by themselves, or as parts of compound names such as 'El Roy (the God of the apparition), 'El 'Olam (the Eternal God), 'El 'Elyori (the Most High God), 'Elohe Sebaolh (the God of Hosts), etc. (see Lagrange in "Revue biblique", 1903, pp. 364-67). Shaddatj. — As to the name Shad- day, which is found sometimes alone, and at other times in connexion with 'El ('El Shndday), it was orig- inally an adjective conveying possibly the idea of fecundity (Gen., xv\i, 1; xlix, 2.5) or of highness (Ps., xci, 1); at a later period the Prophets, in order to emphiisize their threats of divine punishment, spoke a^ if the word were related to shadad, to "devastate"; but the people at large, unmindful of these etymolog- ical niceties, used Shadday merely as a substitute for 'El, perhaps with the special connotation of "Al- mighty".

IL Personal Names. — Personal names are either

Eurely Hebrew or hebraicized. To the latter category elongnot only (passing over foreign names asTeglath- phala.sar, Assuerus, etc.) Babylonian (Daniel-Balt- hassar) and Persian (Hadas.sa-Esther) names assumed by some persons of Hebrew origin living in far-away countries, and the Greek and Latin names in use among Jews of later times conjointly with their Hebrew or .\ramaic names (John-Mark; Saul-Paul, etc.), but also certain very old names which were handed down by tradition, such as Cain, Abel, Noe, .\braham, etc., and treated by the sacred writers as Hebrew words. There is scarcely any doubt but that in passing from one language to the other these names were altered to some extent; and as the etymological explanation [iretends to interpret the Hebrew form, the meaning arrived at can hardly be more than fanci- ful. It is from the original language of these names that their meaning should be sought (so Abram .and Abraham may be explained from the Assyr. Ahi-rdmu, or AIn-rdme, "my father loveth " ; Sarai and Sara from


Sharal, "the great princess"; Lot from Ldlu, or Ld'itu, "the consumer"; from the Egyptian might be explained likewise a few names, e. g., Mci.ses. "the child", etc.). Of the pure Hebrew names sotjie arc simple and others compound. Simple names appear to have been more frequent in early limes, bul .some are in reality hypocoristic, i. e., abbreviated forms of compound names, as Saul (sisked), David (beloved), Nathan (he gave), etc., which were probably com- bined with a Divine name. Yah or 'EL

Simple Names. — Of the simple names a few seem to have been suggested by particular circumstances, es- pecially circumstances attending the child's birth: e. g., Jacob (thesupplanter), Joseph (possibly an hypo- coristic name: "Whom God added " — Eliasaph was at one time a favourite name for the youngest son in a family). A large class of proper names for men and women is made up of adjectives denoting personal characteristics. Here are a few instances: Acan (afflicting), Achaz (possessor), Agar (wanderer), 'Amos (strong), Amri (eloquent), Aod (praising), Asaph (gatherer), Aser (happy), .4sir (captive), Ather (bound), .\zbai (dwarf), Balac (vain), Baruch (blessed), Cetura (sweet-smelling), Dalila (yearning), Doeg (anxious), Edom (red), Esthon (woman-like), Gaddel, Geddel (tall), Gedeon (destroyer), Heled (fat). Job (ruthlessly treated), Laban (white), IVIanahem (con- soler), Nabal (fool), Nachor (panting or snoring), Nahum (comforter), Noemi (pretty), Omri (tiro, awk- ward), Oman (nimble), Ozni (long-eared), Phesse (lame), Ruth (friend), Sepho (bald-headed), etc.

Names of animals and of plants were at the same period not infrequently given to persons both by the Hebrews and by their neighbours, the Chanaanites and others. Among the names of animals assumed as proper names, we may mention: Achbor (mouse), Aia (vulture), Aran (wild goat), Caleb (dog), Debora (bee), Eglon (calf), Gaal (beetle), Hagaba, in N. T. Aga- bus (locust), Hulda (weasel), Jahel (chamois), Jonas (dove), Nahas (snake), Ozi (goo.se-like), Rachel (ewe), Saphan (coney), Sebia (gazelle), Sephora (little bird), Sual (jackal), Tabitha (.\ram., gazelle). Tola (worm), Zeb (wolf). — Of the names of plants, apparently less frequently used than those of animals, here are a few instances: Asena (bush). Cassia (a kind of balsam- tree), Cos (thorn), Elas (oak), Elon (terebinth), Ha- dassa (myrtle), Oren (pine), Susan (lily), etc. Some modern scholars explain the relatively frequent recur- rence of these two kinds of names among Palestinian populations as remnants of totemism which, these scholars maintain, prevailed in early times. This is hardly the place to discu.ss such a question. It is illogical to extend to all primitive peoples religious conceptions observed in some few; were we to yield to the fascination for totems which prevails among some writers, we might consider as traces of totemism such English names as Fox, Wolf, Hawthorne, and the like. Granting even that the names mentioned above are unmistakable signs of totemism among the early populations of Palestine, it would by no means necessarily follow that these names manifest the prev- alence of the same religious ideas among the Hebrews. Hebrew was not the primitive language of the descen- dants of Abraham, they having adopted it from the natives of the land of Chanaan; naturally along with the language they adopted certain of their modes of speech.

Sometimes names of things, also of natural phenom- ena, even (though rarely) abstractions, and words referring to trades or avocations were taken as proper names. Of the latter class we have for instance; Abdon, Obed (servant), Amon (architect), Berzellai (blacksmith), Charmi (vine-dresser), Somer (watch- man), Zamri (singer); of the former: Agag (fire), Ahod (union), 'Amos (burden), Anna (grace), IJarac ^light- ning), Bezec (thunderbolt), Cis (straw), Core (frost), Ephron (dust), Hon (strength), Mary (stubbornness,