Monday, March 21, 2011

Obscure Biblical Names: Fortunatus

b. 1742
Chilmark, Marthas Vineyard, MA

One of the nice things about Christians is that they really, really want you to know about the Bible. In service of that goal, they have created bajillions of websites that cover the minutia Bible in exhaustive detail. The Christian website I use for names is good for my purposes because it has lots of useful glossaries and tends to quote the King James Version (KJV), which would have been familiar to the residents of colonial New England (they also used the Geneva Bible, but that one isn't really so popular on the internet and it's similar to the KJV). Wikipedia also has an impressive list of Biblical names, but the spellings are not always taken from the KJV, so they seem less likely to show up in colonial New England.

The detail-oriented people at assure me that there are only 3 names beginning with F in the whole Bible: Felix, Festus, and Fortunatus. The first two were certainly Romans and the third probably was — in any event, they are all in the New Testament. Colonial New Englanders liked to use Old Testament names — you won't find many Pauls or Lukes in this crowd — and none of these three names seemed particularly outlandish to me. I picked Fortunatus because he seems to be a relatively obscure character (1 Cor. 16:17).

Obscure Bible Names Alphabet


Robert J. said...

I'd be very interested to know of cases where a name of quotation on a stone was clearly taken from the Geneva Bible rather than the KJV. I know of one such name: there was an Enosh Lawrence in early Groton, and according to Green, this is not an error for Enos or Enoch, as some have said, but is rather the Geneva spelling of Enos:


Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I'll certainly keep my eye out for these!

As far as I can tell, Enosh is the Geneva Bible's spelling of the name that appears in Gen 5:7, rendered as Enos in the KJV. The Geneva Bible spells the name of Kain(Cain)'s son as Henoch in Genesis 4:17 — the 1611 KJV went with Enoch.

For comparing the Geneva and KJV, I like this site — you can switch back and forth between versions without losing your place, it is searchable, and it has both the 1611 and 1769 versions of the KJV.

Robert J. said...

> The Geneva Bible spells the name of Kain(Cain)'s son as Henoch in Genesis 4:17 — the 1611 KJV went with Enoch

The Geneva spelling is the correct one in this case, and the KJV a corruption, because we know the name Henoch originated millions of years before among Sargon's people.