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Hebrew names are "names that have a "Hebrew language origin, classically from the "Hebrew Bible.[1] They are mostly used by Jews and Christians, but many are also adapted to the "Islamic world, particularly if a Hebrew name is mentioned in the "Qur'an (example: Ibrahim is a common Arabic name from the Hebrew Avraham). A typical Hebrew name can have many different forms, having been adapted to the "phonologies of many different "languages. A common Jewish practice worldwide is to give a Hebrew name to a child that is used religiously throughout his or her lifetime.

Not all Hebrew names are strictly Hebrew in origin; some names may have been borrowed from other ancient languages, including from "Egyptian, "Aramaic, "Phoenician, or "Canaanite.


Names of Hebrew origin[edit]

Hebrew names used by "Jews (along with many Hebrew names used in "Christendom) often come from the "Tanakh, also known as the "Hebrew Bible or "Old Testament.

Many of these names are thought to have been adapted from Hebrew phrases and expressions, bestowing special meaning or the unique circumstances of birth to the one who receives that name.

"Theophoric names are those which include a form of a divine name, such by adding the suffix אל -el, meaning "God," forming names such as מיכאל "Michael ("who is like God?") and גבריאל "Gabriel ("man of God"). Another common form of theophory is the use of the "Tetragrammaton as the basis for a suffix; the most common abbreviations used by Jews are יה -yāh/-iyyāh and יהו -yāhû/-iyyāhû/-ayhû, forming names such as ישׁעיהו "Yəšaʻªyāhû (Isaiah), צדקיהו "Ṣiḏqiyyāhû (Zedekiah) and שׂריה "Śərāyāh (Seraiah). Most Christian usage is of the shorter suffix preferred in "translations of the "Bible to European languages: Greek -ιας -ias and English "-iah, producing names such as Τωβιας "Tōbias (Tobias, Toby) instead of Tobiyyahu and Ιερεμίας "Ieremias (Jeremiah, Jeremy) instead of Yirmeyahu.

In addition to devotion to Elohim and YHWH, names could also be sentences of praise in their own right. The name טוביהו "Ṭôḇiyyāhû means "Good of/is the LORD."

Names of Aramaic origin[edit]

Judæo-Aramaic was the vernacular language at the time of "Jesus, and was also the language used to write parts of the "Book of Daniel, the "Book of Ezra, and the entire Jewish Babylonian "Talmud. Aramaic remained the "lingua franca of the Middle East until the time of Islam.

Judæo-Aramaic names include עבד־נגו "ʻĂḇēḏ-nəḡô, בר־תלמי "Bar-Talmay and תום "Tôm, as well as "Bar Kochba.

Hebrew-Greek names[edit]

Due to the "Hellenisation of the Eastern Mediterranean and the movement of Jews around the area, many Hebrew names were adapted to Greek, reinforced by the translation of the Tanakh in the "Septuagint with many Hellenized names.

Many of the names in the "New Testament are of Hebrew and Aramaic origin, but were adapted to the Greek by Hellenistic Christian writers such as "Paul of Tarsus.

Such Hebræo-Greek names include Ἰησοῦς "Iēsous (originally from ישׁוע Yēšûªʻ), Νῶε "Nōē (originally from נח Nōªḥ), Ἰσαΐας "Isaias (originally from ישׁעיהו Yəšaʻªyāhû), Ἰσραήλ "Israēl (originally from ישראל Yiśrā’ēl).

Also, some Jews of the time had Greek "Gentile names themselves, such as the Christian "Luke (Greek Λουκᾶς Loukas). Though used by some Jews at the time, these names are generally not associated with Jews today, and are considered characteristically Greek and largely confined to use by Christians. Hebrew forms of the names exist, but they are extremely rare.

Hebræo-Latin names[edit]

Many Hebrew names were adapted into Latin, some via Greek. Such names include Jesus (from Greek Ιησους Iēsous) and "Maria (from Greek Μαριαμ Mariam, originally from Hebrew מרים "Miryām).

Also, some Jews during "Roman times also had Latin names for themselves, such as the Christian apostle "Mark (Latin "Marcus). As was the case with contemporary Jewish names of Greek origin, most of these Latin names are generally not associated with Jews today, and today retain a Roman and Christian character.

Hebræo-Arabic names[edit]

With the rise of Islam and the establishment of an Arab "Caliphate, the "Arabic language became the lingua franca of the Middle East and some parts of "Berber "North Africa. Islamic scripture such as the Qurʼan, however, contains many names of Hebrew origin (often via Aramaic), and there were Jewish and Christian "minorities living under Arab Islamic rule. As such, many Hebrew names had been adapted to Arabic, and could be found in the Arab world. Jews and Christians generally used the Arabic adaptions of these names, just as in the present English-speaking Jews (and sometimes Muslims) often use Anglicized versions (Joshua rather than Yəhôšúªʼ, for instance.)

While most such names are common to traditional Arabic translations of the Bible, a few differ; for instance, Arabic-speaking Christians use Yasūʻ instead of "ʻĪsā for ""Jesus".

Such Hebræo-Arabic names include:

The influence of Aramaic is observable in several names, notably ʼIsḥāq (Isaac), where the "Syriac form is simply Îsḥāq, contrasting with more Hebraic forms such as Yaʻqūb (Jacob).

Some of these Arabic names preserve original Hebrew pronunciations that were later changed by regular sound shifts; thus Maryam corresponds to the form recorded by classical authors, whereas the second i in Miriam is the result of a later sound change (also observable in words such as migdal, recorded in the New Testament as Magdalene and in Palestinian Arabic as Majdala) which turned a in unstressed closed syllables into i.

Typically, Hebrew אל -ʼēl was adapted as ـايل -īl, and Hebrew יה -yāh as ـيا -yāʼ.

Hebræo-English names[edit]

"James I of England commissioned a "translation of the Christian Bible from the original languages, including a translation of the Tanakh or Old Testament from Hebrew into English. This became known as the "King James Version of the Bible, often referred to today by the abbreviation "KJV."

Even so, many KJV Old Testament names were not entirely without New Testament Greek influence. This influence mostly reflected the vowels of names, leaving most of the consonants largely intact, only modestly filtered to consonants of contemporary English phonology. However, all KJV names followed the Greek convention of not distinguishing between soft and dāḡeš forms of ב bêṯ. These habits resulted in multilingually fused Hebræo-Helleno-English names, such as "Judah, "Isaiah and "Jeremiah. Additionally, a handful of names were adapted directly from Greek without even partial translations from Hebrew, including names such as "Isaac, "Moses and "Jesse.

Along with names from the KJV edition of the New Testament, these names constitute the large part of Hebrew names as they exist in the English-speaking world.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mordecai Schreiber; Alvin I. Schiff; Leon Klenicki (2003). The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia. Schreiber Pub. p. 190. "ISBN "978-1-887563-77-2. . Archived here

External links[edit]

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