Sunday, February 11, 2018

Named persons in the better-known non-Biblical gospels

Note: With Lent beginning this week, this will be the last post on technical analysis of various interesting non-Biblical documents until after the celebration of the Resurrection. 

Another way we can gain an objective insight into the different documents is to analyze how often they mention personal names, whether that of Jesus or anyone else. Documents that relate conversations or narrate events tend to contain the names of the people involved. We can count how often we find personal names to get a rough estimate of how much the various documents focus on interpersonal events or conversations:

While I'm still developing my skills with various charting tools -- and may evaluate some better ones -- it also helps with perspective on these documents to see how often the name Jesus is used compared to other names. These documents run the full spectrum from "Jesus" being the only personal name used to "Jesus" never being named. They also cover a wide spectrum of documents that scarcely name any people at all (whether Jesus or anyone else), to ones that focus heavily on people and actions, though not necessarily on Jesus.

As a point of interest, the most commonly-used name in each of these documents is:

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