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Does the popularity of Jewish names in 1st century Palestine match that of Jewish names in the New Testament?

“Yes, after all…
  • The commonest names are equally so in Gospels

    In AD 30 Palestine, 15.6% of men bore one of the 2 most popular male names (Simon or Joseph). Compare: In the Gospels and Acts, it is similar: 18.2%.

    1. As a quick note about the data on women…
      Richard Bauckham: “The percentages for men in the New Testament thus correlate remarkably closely with those for the population in general. It is not surprising that the percentages for women do not match those for the population in general nearly as closely. The statistical base for women’s names is considerably smaller than that for men, both in the New Testament and in the sources in general.” [Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Eerdmans, 2008), 72.]
      • 28.6% of women bore one of the two most popular female names. This is relevant because in the Gospels, it is similar: 38.9%
      • 49.7% of women bore one of the 9 most popular female names. This is relevant because in the Gospels, it is similar: 61.1%
      • 9.6% of women bore a name that is attested only once in our sources. This is relevant because in the Gospels, it is similar: 2.5%”
  • The nine commonest names are equally so in Gospels

    In AD 30 Palestine, 41.5% of men bore one of the 9 most popular male names. Compare: in the Gospels & Acts, it is similar: 40.3%

  • Palestine’s rarer names are equally rare in Gospels

    In AD 30 Palestine, 7.9% of men bore a name that is attested only once in our sources. Compare: in the Gospels & Acts, it is similar: 3.9%

  • Palestine’s Greek names equally frequent

    In AD 30 Palestine, 12.3% of names found in Palestine at this time are Greek. Compare: in the Gospels & Acts it is similar (among Palestinian Jews in the New Testaiment): 18.1%.