Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Friday, October 03, 2008

What's in a name?

Jeremy's recent post about the Archangels was the impetus for renewed reflection about a phenomenon described by one of our professors of Sacred Scriptures. He often commented as he taught my class on the Prophets that it helps to know the meaning of Hebrew names. The names of the prophets often give clues as to what the point of a given book or part of a book might be. For instance, in the book of Hosea (which means "Salvation"), we are told that Hosea has three children: Jezreel ("God Sows", a blessing to Hosea, and Hosea's own child), Lo-ruhamah ("Not Pitied", and not Hosea's biological child) and Lo-ammi ("Not My People", and clearly not Hosea's biological child). Knowing the meanings of these names helps us to understand the extent of the sin of Hosea's wife, Gomer (she was an adulteress). Similarly, we learn something about the Archangels when we know the meaning of their names. Michael means "Who is like God?" Raphael is "God's Remedy." Gabriel means "The Strength of God."

One way of learning the meaning of these names is to enroll in a lengthy study of the Hebrew language. If, like me, you are disinclined to do this, one can usually discover the meaning of Scriptural names by doing an internet search. Besides deepening our appreciation of the Sacred Scriptures, it might also serve as an advantage in a close game of Trivial Pursuit.

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