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Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity, Part III
The Western Diaspora 330 BCE - 650 CE

Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, No. 126

By Tal Ilan
December 2008
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161496738
796 pages
$122.50 Hardcover

In this lexicon, Tal Ilan collects all the information on names of Jews in lands west of Palestine, in which Greek and Latin was spoken, and on the people who bore them between 330 BCE, a date which marks the Hellenistic conquest of East, and 650 CE, approximately the date when the Muslim conquest of East and the southern Mediterranean basin was completed.

The corpus includes names from literary sources, but those mentioned in epigraphic and papyrological documents form the vast majority of the database. This lexicon is an onomasticon in as far as it is a collection of all the recorded names used by the Jews of the western Diaspora in the above-mentioned period. Tal Ilan discusses the provenance of the names and explains them etymologically, given the many possible sources of influence for the names at that time.

In addition she shows the division between the use of biblical names and the use of Greek, Latin and other foreign names, and points out the most popular names. This book is also a prosopography since Ilan analyzes the identity of the persons mentioned therein. The lexicon is accompanied by a lengthy and comprehensive introduction that scrutinizes the main trends in name giving current at the time. A large part of it is devoted to the question of how one can identify a Jew in a mostly non-Jewish society.