[b-hebrew] Dating the Book of Ruth

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 10:25:42 EDT 2010


On Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 1:52 AM, James Christian
<jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>wrote:

> But other people seem to have fitting names as well. It's not limited to
> people whose name is expicitly recorded to have changed. Adam, Eve, Esau
> (Edom), Isaac, Benjamin all seem to have names fitting some aspect of the
> story. Then we get Moses. Then we get Joshua. Pretty much most key role
> characters have fitting names. Then after David we get Solomon the king of
> peaceable times. It's only really after Solomon that key figures like Kings
> seem to have names plucked randomly from a pool of Hebrew names. If we were
> to go by this pattern for dating purposes then this makes Ruth an early
> work. In any case, I'm not sure if I see this as a good guideline for dating
> purposes.
> James Christian

I don’t think it is a good guideline for dating purposes.

Modern people forget that almost all names have meaning. My given name means
‘guy’ or ‘fellow’, similar to the Yiddish ‘mensch’, while my last name means
‘shield wolf’ i.e. fierce to protect. My oldest son was born in difficult
conditions where many infants die, but he turned out strong and healthy, a
gift from God, hence Theodore, and don’t think I wasn’t aware of the
meaning. But did your parents realize that your name meant ‘crooked’ when
they named you? Would they have given you that name had they known?

Of the names you list above, Joshua seems to be one merely pulled from a hat
as far as meaning is concerned, it had nothing to do with his life. Isaac
had nothing to do with what he did in life. Esau (Edom) merely from the fact
that he was born covered in red hair, not from his actions in life. In fact,
most of the names in Genesis, and the rest of the Bible for that matter, had
to do with the parents’ attitudes, not with what the person did in life.

This is in contrast to a lot of myth, where the names refer to what the
person does in the myth. The reason for my first response in this thread is
that George suggested that the names had relation to the actions taken in
this history, indicating that this may be a myth, which I questioned. As far
as I can tell, the meanings of the names have no relationship to the actions
taken by the people in the history, hence this is not a myth.

Nor do I think it is an indicator of the age of the book.

Karl W. Randolph.

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