Something else in Bachmann’s favor

Bruce B. writes:

Here’s a reason to support Michelle Bachmann (at least over Palin). Her children have good, old fashioned names instead of goofy, trendy names. Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline, and Sophia. A couple of them are even Christian names.

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Alissa writes:

“Here’s a reason to support Michelle Bachmann (at least over Palin).”

Maybe supporting her in a helping position but certainly not in a leading position (e.g. President). Her presence in the sense of what she is seeking (e.g. leading positions like President) is only accelerating the liberalization of mainstream “conservatism” even further and why I’m still in doubt about her. She does make quite a fetching Tea Party libertarian though. She would be wise to open a “Freedom Works” type organization perhaps (or a capitalist group). She’ll be a welcoming addition to fusionism.

JC writes:

Actually more than a couple; perhaps even all.

Lucas is a variant of Luke, the name of the evangelist.

Elise is a variant of Elizabeth, a traditional Hebrew name. [LA replies: I didn’t know Elizabeth was derived from a Hebrew name. Certainly Elizabeth is not a common Jewish name.]

Caroline is the feminine equivalent of Charles, a traditional Christian name, at least among Catholics.

And Sophia rather goes without saying, yes? But let us anyway: Divine Wisdom.

So that leaves Harrison. It is derived from Heimrich, the German name from which we get Henry, a traditional, western European, Christian name, e.g. the medieval King, St. Henry.

So it really looks like all her children have Christian/Biblical names.

Eric E. writes:

Elizabeth (Elisava) was the mother of John the Baptist. Jewish. And Elizabeth Taylor was Jewish.

LA replies:

But wasn’t the name Elizabeth in the Gospel of Luke a Christianized version of the Hebrew name, which you identify as Elisava, the same way Mary is a Christianized version of the Hebrew name Miriam?

No one would think of Mary as a Hebrew/Jewish name. In the same way, Elizabeth is not thought of as a Hebrew/Jewish name. And in the same way, Jesus is not thought of as a Hebrew/Jewish name, though it is based on the Hebrew name Jeshua.

As for Elizabeth Taylor, she converted to Judaism at age 27, I think after her marriage to Eddie Fisher.

Here’s something that surprises me, from the same Wikipedia article. Though Taylor was born in England, both her parents were Americans, originally from Arkansas City, Kansas.

Eric E. continues:

Betty, Bette, Bethany, Bess are all variants of Elizabeth and there are plenty of Jewish Betties. Bette Midler, Lauren Bacall actually Betty Bacall, Betty Friedan, Bethenny Frankel, Betty Boop (created by Max Fleischer), Bess Myerson (Elizabeth I was also known as “Good Queen Bess”).

Also, NY pol Elizabeth Holtzman.

LA writes:

The fact that various modern Jews are named variants of Elizabeth doesn’t make Elizabeth a Jewish name. For example, William Kristol is Jewish; but that doesn’t make William a Jewish name. I was born and raised Jewish; but that doesn’t make Lawrence a Jewish name. Many Jewish parents give their children Christian-style, or least non-Jewish, names.

Also, despite the fact that Betty was a fairly common name for Jewish women in the twentieth century, doesn’t change the fact that very few Jewish women were or are named Elizabeth. The name has Christian/Gentile, not Jewish, associations, like William.

Eric writes:

“I was born and raised Jewish; but that doesn’t make Lawrence a Jewish name.”

It certainly does! Want me to start enumerating all the Jewish Larry’s?

LA replies:

My point was that the name Lawrence is a Christian-origin name, entering and spreading through our culture from the name of a Christian saint. And that remains the case, no matter how many Jewish people have the name Lawrence or Larry.

Ron W. writes:

So let me get this straight. The Christians got you and the Jews got Elizabeth Taylor? Did the Christians get any future draft choices in this deal or was it a one for one trade?

JC writes:

The fact of the matter is that the English name, Elizabeth, is indisputably derived from Elisheva, which is indisputably a Hebrew name. Although people might not think of Elizabeth or Mary or even Jesus as Hebrew names, they are in fact. Many common English names are translations of Hebrew names or have Hebrew origins—often translated from the Hebrew via Greek, like Elizabeth. If the association is now admittedly Christian (or even simply a English name for girls) that has no effect on where it came from. It is Hebrew. Whether or not it is currently a Jewish name is, obviously, a matter of debate.

I’ll give the Bachmanns the benefit of the doubt that they knew after whom they were naming their children, or were at least aware that they were using Biblical/Christian names, many of which have Hebrew origins. This would be known, presumably, by anyone who reads the Bible or is literate in Jewish or Church history.

LA writes:

This exchange reminds me of a time I was having dinner with Jared Taylor (full name Samuel Jared Taylor) and Samuel Francis in the early ’90s. I remarked to them how funny it was, that they, born Christian, had Hebrew names, while I, Lawrence Matthew Auster, born Jewish, had Christian names, indeed the names of Christian saints.

Allan Wall writes:

The flippant way in which so many Americans name their children, with no regard for the history, etymology or cultural significance of the names, bothers me. It heartens me therefore to see on VFR that it bothers other people also.

Regarding Hebrew names, they have long since become part of the cultural heritage of Western Civilization. Regardless of how contemporary Diaspora Jews use them or don’t use them, traditional English names such as John and Matthew are of Hebrew origin, and must be understand as part of our civilization’s debt to the Hebrew culture.

My middle name is Ephraim, and it’s been in the Wall family since at least the 1700s.

My brother has eight children, and all eight of them have Hebrew names. (Some of the names are more common than others.)

My wife and I have two sons: David Albert and Raphael Alfred. Interestingly, each boy has a Hebrew name and a Germanic-origin name. I think Hebrew and Germanic make a good combination!

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Bruce B. writes:

I think that it’s interesting that you mentioned Jews commonly using Christian names (e.g. Lawrence and Matthew) for their children. I’ve also noticed that old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon names, e.g. Harold, Henry, Harvey, Arthur, are very common among Jews, particularly older Jews. Doesn’t this refute the whole “Culture of Critique” thesis? It’s obvious to me that most Jews (a few intellectual elites aside) didn’t develop a “Culture of Critique” with respect to WASP America. If they did, they wouldn’t have named their children that way.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 20, 2011 04:03 PM | Send

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