Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Role of Johanna in Protective Anonymity

Richard Fellows stated: “I don't see that Joanna has a position of particular prominence, since she appears second to Mary Madgalene in both places where she is mentioned. The name Joanna was held by 3.7% of all females in Palestine so it is not significant that the name appears on the same ossuary as a Theophilus.”

The 3.7% cited by Richard Fellows appears in an article published by Tal Ilan in the Journal of Jewish Studies. Thus Fellows acknowledges that the name is Jewish and that these sources are proper sources for determining the relative frequency of these two names. The name of Theophilus represent .54% of the total sample of 2040 culled from the same sources utilized for the study of the frequencies of Jewish women’s names conducted by Ilan. Theophilus is not a common name represented in the study.

More importantly, Tal Ilan stated in this same article, “Two Names. If a certain person is mentioned by both his own name and that of his father, or by his own name and a family, the chances that the identification is sound are greater, though in cases where both names are very common it is by no means certain, . . . .”

Finally, the phrase “position of prominence” is a technical term relating to the fact that the name Johanna appears in the vertex of the chiastic structure appearing in Lk. 24:8-11. The name Mary Madgalene appearing next to Johanna by definition is not in the vertex of the chiastic structure and thus does not occupy the “position of prominence.”

The strength of the ‘two name combination’ is shown by the fact that J.T. Milik used a two name ossuary inscribed with “Alexander son of Simon”, two admittedly common names in Palestine and the whole context of the inscriptions to propose “that the tomb in question belongs to the family of him who helped Jesus to carry the cross.”

Copyrighted 2007


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