NEW TESTAMENT CHARACTERS


Anonymous

(Investigator 168, 2016 May)



INTRODUCTION

A count of 1st century people named in the New Testament, excluding Jesus' genealogy but including his parents, comes to 217.

About 30 have archaeological or historical support.



LIST OF 217

Possible inadvertent omissions and several uncertainties when multiple people have the same name mean that 217 may not be exact.

Achaicus: A Christian of Corinth
Aeneas: Man cured of palsy
Agabus: Prophet in Jerusalem
Alexander 1: A son of Simon of Cyrene
Alexander 2: Prominent man in Jerusalem
Alexander 3: Companion of Paul
Alexander 4: Metal-worker who opposed Paul
Alphaeus: Father of Apostle Matthew
Amplias: Christian in Rome
Ananias 1: Christian in Jerusalem
Ananias 2: Christian in Damascus
*Ananias 3: High priest in Jerusalem
Andrew: Apostle and brother of Simon Peter
Andronicus: Christian in Rome
Anna: Prophetess in Jerusalem
*Annas: A chief priest in Jerusalem
Antipas: Christian martyr of Pergamos
Apelles: Christian in Rome
Apollos: Native of Egypt and disciple of John the Baptist
Apphia: A Christian woman
Aquilla: Christian Jew in Rome who moved to Greece with his wife (Acts 18:1-2)
Archippus: Christian at Colossae
*Aretas: King of Arabia
Aristarchus: Missionary companion of Paul
Aristobulus: Christian in Rome
Artemas: Companion of Paul
Asyncritus: Christian in Rome
*Augustus: Roman Emperor

Barabbas: Murderer in whose place Christ was crucified
Barnabas [Joses]: Missionary companion of Paul
Barsabas, Judas: Disciple in Jerusalem
Bartholomew: One of the twelve apostles
Bartimaeus: Blind beggar of Jericho
*Bernice: Eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I
Blastus: Chamberlain of Herod Agrippa

*Caesar [Nero]: Roman Emperor
*Caiaphas: High priest in Jerusalem
*Candace: Queen of Ethiopia
Carpus: Friend of Paul
Chloe: Christian woman in Corinth
*Christ, Jesus: Son of Mary
Chuza: Steward of Herod Antipas
Claudia: Christian woman in Rome
*Claudius: Fourth Roman emperor
Claudius Lysius: Roman officer in Jerusalem
Clement: Christian, possibly in Philippi
Cleopas: Disciple of Jesus
Clopas/Cleophas [Alphaeus]: Husband of one of the Mary's who witnessed the Crucifixion; father of James the Less and Joses
Cornelius: First Gentile Christian
Crescens: Companion of Paul
Crispus: Leader of synagogue in Corinth

Damaris: Convert to Christianity in Athens
Demas: Disciple who deserted Paul
Demetrius 1: Silversmith at Ephesus
Demetrius 2: A Christian commended by John
Dionysius: Court member of the Areopagus
Diotrephes: Christian who opposed John's authority
Dorcas (Tabitha): Christian woman of Joppa
*Drusilla: Wife of Felix

Elizabeth: Mother of John the Baptist
Elymas [Bar-Jesus]: Jew on Cyprus
Epaenetus: Convert to Christianity in Achaia
Epaphras: Christian in Colossae
*Epaphroditus: Christian man of Philippi
*Erastus: City treasurer in Corinth
Eubulus: Christian in Rome
Eunice: Timothy's mother
Euodias: Christian woman in Philippi
Eutychus: Man of Troas

*Felix: Roman official (procurator) of Judea
*Festus, Porcius: Successor as procurator to Felix
Fortunatus: Christian in Corinth

Gaius 1: Companion of Paul
Gaius 2: Christian of Derbe
Gaius 3: Christian in Corinth
Gaius 4: Christian to whom III John was addressed
*Gallio: Proconsul of Achaia
Gamaliel: Member of the Sanhedrin

Hermas: Christian in Rome
Hermes: Christian in Rome
Hermogenes: Disciple who deserted Paul
*Herod the Great
*Herod, Antipas
*Herod, Philip: Son of Herod the Great; Father of Salome
*Philip: Tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis
*Herod Archelaus: Ethnarch of Judea during Jesus' infancy
*Herod Agrippa 1
*Herod Agrippa II
*Herodias: Queen who demanded John the Baptist's death.
Herodion: Christian in Rome
Hymenaeus: Christian man in Ephesus who lost his faith

Iscariot, Judas: Apostle who betrayed Jesus
Iscariot, Simon: Father of Judas

Jairus: Synagogue ruler whose daughter Jesus raised from the dead
James 1: Son of Zebedee; one of the 12 Apostles
James 2: Son of Alphaeus; one of the 12 Apostles
James 3: Father of Judas (not Iscariot)
James 4: Brother of Jesus
James the Less: Son of a Mary (not Jesus' mother)
Jason: A kinsman of Paul
Jesus [Justus]: Christian in Rome
Jezebel: Prophetess of Thyatira
Joanna: Wife of Chuza, Herod's steward
John 1: One of the 12 Apostles
John 2: John Mark who wrote the second gospel
John 3: Jewish official
*John: The Baptist
Joseph: Husband of Mary
Joseph of Arimathea: Member of the Sanhedrin
Joses [Jose]: One of four brothers of Jesus
Judas 1: A brother of Jesus
Judas 2: One of the 12 Apostles
Judas 3: House-owner in Damascus
Jude: Author of the epistle of Jude
Julia: Christian woman in Rome
Julius: Centurion
Junias [Junia]: Christian Jew in Rome
Justus, Barsabas [Joseph]: One of two nominees to replace Judas Iscariot
Justus 2: Believer in Corinth

Lazarus: Brother of Martha and Mary of Bethany
Linus: Christian in Rome
Luke: Greek physician, author of Acts and Luke
Lydia: Christian woman
*Lysanias: Tetrarch of Abilene

Magdalene, Mary: Disciple of Jesus
Malchus: Servant of the high priest
Manaen: Christian in Antioch
Mark: Associate of Paul
Martha: Sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany
Matthew [Levi]: Tax Collector and Apostle
Matthias: Apostle who replaced Judas
Mary 1: Mother of Jesus
Mary 2: Sister of Martha and Lazarus
Mary 3: Wife of Alphaeus/ Clopas, mother of James the Less and Joses
Mary 4: Mother of John Mark
Mary 5: Christian in Rome

Narcissus: Christian in Rome
Nathanael: One of the 12 Apostles
Nereus: Christian in Rome
Nicanor: Deacon in Jerusalem
Nicodemus: Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin
Nicolas: Deacon in Jerusalem
Nicolaus: Leader of Nicolaitan sect
Niger, Simeon: Christian in Antioch of Syria
Nymphas: Christian in Laodicea

Olympas: Christian in Rome
Onesimus: Christian slave
Onesiphorus: Roman Christian

Parmenas: Deacon in Jerusalem
Patrobas: Christian in Rome
Paul [Saul]: Apostle; missionary; writer of 13 NT letters
Persis: Christian woman in Rome
Peter, Simon: One of the 12 Apostles
Phanuel: Father of prophetess Anna
Philemon: Christian in Colossae
Philetus: Christian condemned for false teaching
Philip 1: One of the 12 Apostles
Philip 2: An evangelist
Philologus: Christian in Rome
Phlegon: Christian in Rome
Phoebe: Deaconess in Corinth
Phygellus: Christian who deserted Paul
*Pilate, Pontius: Roman prefect in Judea
Priscilla: Wife of Aquilla
Prochorus: Christian Deacon
Publius: Official on Malta
Pudens: Christian in Rome
Pyrrhus: Father of Sopater

Quartus: A Christian, possibly of Corinth
*Quirinius: Governor of Syria

Rhoda: Servant of Mark's mother
Rufus 1: Christian in Rome
Rufus 2: Son of Simon of Cyrene

Salome: Mother of James and John
Sapphira: Wife of Ananias
Sceva: Jewish chief priest in Ephesus
Secundus: Christian of Thessalonica
*Sergius Paulus: Proconsul (Governor) of Cyprus
Silvanus [Silas]: Church member in Jerusalem
Simeon: Devout Jew who blessed infant Jesus
Simon 1: Brother of Jesus
Simon 2: A Pharisee
Simon 3: Former leper
Simon 4: Magician
Simon 5: Tanner in Joppa
Simon of Cyrene: Man who carried the cross of Jesus
Simon the Cananaean: One of the 12 Apostles
Sopater: Christian of Beroea
Sosipater: Christian
Sosthenes: Synagogue official in Corinth
Stachys: Christian in Rome
Stephanas: Christian in Corinth
Stephen: Deacon and first Christian martyr
Susanna: A woman who ministered to Jesus
Syntyche: Christian woman in Philippi

Tertius: Scribe to whom Paul dictated Romans
Tertullus: A lawyer
Thaddaeus: One of the 12 apostles
*Theophilus: Man to whom Luke dedicated his Gospel
Theudas: Leader of a Jewish revolt
Thomas [Didymus]: One of the 12 apostles
*Tiberias: Roman Emperor
Timaeus: Father of Bartimaeus
Timon: A deacon in Jerusalem
Timothy: Paul's associate and fellow apostle
Titius Justus: Corinthian with whom Paul stayed
Titus: Fellow worker with Paul
Trophimus: Gentile Christian in Ephesus
Tryphena: Christian woman in Rome
Tryphosa: Christian woman in Rome
Tychicus: Associate of Paul
Tyrannus: Lecture-hall owner in Ephesus

Urbanus: Christian in Rome

Zacchaeus: Chief tax collector of Jericho
Zacharias: Father of John the Baptist
Zebedee: Father of James and John
Zenas: Christian lawyer



ARCHAEOLOGICAL/HISTORICAL SUPPORT


HEROD THE GREAT (74BC – 4BC or 1BC)
 King of Palestine (who had the boy babies of Bethlehem slaughtered after Jesus’ birth). Herod authorized huge construction works of which ruins still remain, and even his tomb has been discovered.
 
The Australian reported a discovery 10km east of Bethlehem:

JERUSALEM: Israeli archaeologists have discovered the oldest indoor swimming pool in the Holy Land, dating back to 10BC and situated at what was Herod the Great’s once spectacular summer palace at Herodion, now in the occupied West Bank… (July 10, 1997, p. 8)

HEROD ARCHELAUS (23BC – AD18) (Matthew 2:22)
A son of Herod the Great who succeeded him as ruler of Judea and undertook public building works. (Hizmi 2008)

HEROD ANTIPAS (22BC – AD40)
Tetrarch (ruler) of Galilee and Perea; a son of Herod the Great; the Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded and interrogated Jesus on the morning of the crucifixion. For archaeology associated with Antipas see Jensen (2012).

HEROD PHILIP (Matthew 14:3; Luke 3:1)
Son of Herod the Great, half brother of Herod Antipas

PHILIP THE TETRARCH (22BC – AD34) (Luke 3:1)
Son of Herod the Great, tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis (north and north-east of Lake Galilee); rebuilt the city of Caesarea Philippi.

HEROD AGRIPPA I (11BC – AD44) (Acts 12)
Grandson of Herod the Great and tetrarch after Herod Antipas; confirmed by coins he minted and by Josephus.

HEROD AGRIPPA II (28 – c.AD100)
Great grandson of Herod the Great; brother of Bernice and Drusilla.

HERODIAS (Granddaughter of Herod the Great)
Wife of Herod Philip; afterwards wife of Antipas; instigator of John the Baptist's execution; her daughter (Salome) is depicted on coins minted in 56-57AD.

ANANIAS (Acts 23:2; 24:1)
 High priest in Jerusalem; mentioned by Josephus. (Antiquities XX, 5, 2)

ANNAS 23BC – c.AD40) (Luke 3:2)
Chief priest; father in law of Caiaphas; mentioned by Josephus as "Ananus". (Antiquities XX, 9, 1)

ARETAS (9BC – AD40) (II Corinthians 11:32-33)
Nabataean (Arabian) king confirmed by coins he minted.

BERNICE (Acts 25:23; 26:30)
Eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I; confirmed on coins and by Josephus, Tacitus and Seutonias.

CAIAPHAS
Son in law of chief-priest Annas; historicity confirmed by an inscription of the name "Caiaphas” on a limestone ossuary (stone burial box for bones) 37 cm high, 75 cm long, discovered in 1990 near Jerusalem.

CANDACE (Acts 8:27)
Ethiopian queen; mentioned by Pliny the Elder in Natural History VI.

DRUSILLA (AD38 – 79) (Acts 24)
Daughter of Agrippa I and wife of Felix; mentioned by Josephus.

EPAPHRODITUS (Philippians 2:25-30)
Assistant to Paul and sometimes considered the same Epaphroditus who encouraged Josephus to continue his writings. (Life of Flavius Josephus Paragraph 76; Antiquities Preface)

ERASTUS (Romans 16:23)
City treasurer (Greek: oikonomos) in Corinth. The New International Version has "director of public works". Erastus in II Timothy 4:20 and Acts 19:22 may be the same person.

Ancient Corinth in Greece had two theatres. Near the larger theatre is a plaza paved with limestone. On one paving block is a 1st-century Latin inscription, rediscovered in 1929, which reads:  “Erastus, procurator and aedile, laid this pavement at his own expense.”

"Erastus" was a common name and the Greek word Paul uses to denote "treasurer" is not the equivalent of the Latin "aedile" which refers to a higher office. Possibly Paul used "Oikonomos" as an approximate equivalent to "aedile" or perhaps Erastus was later promoted.

FELIX (Acts 23-24)
Procurator of Judea AD52; depicted on coins and mentioned by Josephus and Tacitus.

FESTUS, PORCIUS (Acts 24-25)
Procurator of Judea AD59-62; confirmed by coinage he minted.

GALLIO
Proconsul in Greece (Acts 18:12-17) in AD52; confirmed by an inscription at Delphi which records a proclamation of Emperor Claudius.

JAMES and JOSEPH
Jesus had a brother named James and their father was named Joseph. (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; Galatians 1:19; 2:9)

In 2002 Biblical Archaeology Review reported the existence of an ossuary engraved "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus". Of 168 known inscribed ossuaries only one has this combination of names. The Israel Antiquities Authority found the ossuary genuine but part of the inscription ("brother of Jesus") recent. The owner of the ossuary was brought to trial and cleared of being a forger in 2013, but debate over the genuineness of the inscription continues. However, Josephus mentions a James who was stoned to death in 62CE who may have been Jesus' brother. (Antiquities 20:9)

JESUS
Corpus Inscriptionum Judaeae/Palestinae is a 4-volume compendium of inscriptions in Palestine. The Jerusalem items include an inscription originally attached to a cross around 30CE in three languages, Aramaic, Latin and Greek, as on the cross of Jesus. (John 19:19-20) The explanation states: "Therefore there is no reason to doubt the tradition that a titulus with a reason for his condemnation by Pilatus was affixed on Jesus' cross."

Many scholarly books that cover 1st century Palestine accept that Jesus was real and list events in his life considered well-established including:

•    Davies, W.D., Horbury, W. and Sturdy, J. (editors) 1999 Cambridge History of Judaism Volume 3, Cambridge University Press

•    Champlin. E. and Bowman, A. 1970-2005 The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 10 The Augustan Empire, 43 B.C.—A.D 69, Cambridge University Press

•    Hornblower, S., Spawforth, A. and Eidinow, E.  (editors) 2012, The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Fourth edition, Oxford University Press

The debate is over the "No-frills Jesus". Secular scholars reject the miracle stories and attempt to sort the Gospel details into true and false with different scholars coming up with different lists.

MacCulloch (2010) accepts there was a Jesus and writes: "Scholars from a Western or Enlightenment background have now spent more than two centuries trying to reach through the filters of the four Gospels and the letters of Paul to find a 'real' Jesus and an 'authentic' version…"

 In 1968 came the discovery of the bones of a crucified man in a 1st-century tomb near Jerusalem with a nail still through the right heel bone. The legs were also broken. (John 19:21) The Dead Sea Scrolls mention the hanging of men on a tree to die, and the NT similarly says of Jesus "whom you killed by hanging on a tree." (Acts 5:30; 10:39) The NT, therefore, uses the correct 1st century expression.

We also have a letter by Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan in AD112 enquiring how to punish Christians who "recite a hymn to Christ as to a god" and Trajan's reply. (Bettenson 1967)

JOANNA (Luke 8:2 – 3; 24:8-10)
Wife of Herod's steward who visited Christ's empty tomb after the resurrection. The inscription "Johanna, granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest" on an ossuary, might refer to Joanna. (Barag & Flusser 1986)

JOHN THE BAPTIST (c.3BC - c.AD32)
Executed by Antipas in the palace-fortress of Machaerus east of the Dead Sea. Archaeologist Vörös (2012) supplies a ground-plan of Machaerus and a photo of the spot where Antipas’ throne stood; also mentioned by Josephus. (Antiquities XVIII, 5, 2)

LYSANIAS (Luke 3:1)
Tetrarch of Abilene; confirmed on a temple inscription naming "Lysanias the Tetrarch"; also mentioned by Josephus.

PILATE, PONTIUS (Matthew 27; John 18-19)
An inscription discovered at Caesarea on Judea's coast in 1961 mentions "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea".

QUIRINIUS, CYRENIUS (Luke 2:1-2)
Governor of Syria; confirmed by inscriptions at Antioch and by Josephus and Tacitus.

SERGIUS PAULUS (Acts 13)
Proconsul [Governor] of Cyprus whom Paul converted to Christianity. An inscription bearing Paulus' name and title was discovered in Cyprus in 1877. In 1887 a boundary/memorial stone of Emperor Claudius mentioning Sergius was discovered at Rome and records his appointment (AD 47) as a Curator of the banks and channel of the river Tiber.

THEOPHILUS (Luke 1:1-4)
Anderson (2002) argues that Theophilus was a high priest. Barag and Flusser (1986) refer to an ossuary inscribed "Yehohanah, granddaughter of the high priest Theophilus". According to Josephus, a man named Theophilus served as High Priest in the AD30s-40s. (Antiquities XVIII, 5, 3; XIX, 6, 2)

ROMAN EMPERORS
We have an idea of what Augustus Caesar (Luke 2:1), Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1), Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:28), and Nero Caesar (Acts 25:21) looked like since busts (sculptured heads) of these men still exist.



CONCLUSION

Most persons named in the NT were without political importance, therefore not mentioned in official documents or on coins or inscriptions.

Nevertheless 22 to 25 are archaeologically confirmed, and between five and nine have literary support by non-biblical writers.




REFERENCES:

A to Z: All the Names of the Bible 2014, Thomas Nelson

Anderson, R.H. Archaeology Records, December 2002-January 2003
https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://codexbezae.perso.sfr.fr/comm/theo.html&prev=search

Barag, D. and Flusser, D. The Ossuary of Yehohanah Granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus, Israel Exploration Journal, 1986, Volume 36, 39-44

Bettenson, H. 1967 Documents of the Christian Church, Second Edition, Oxford

Hannah, M. et al (editors) 2012 Corpus Inscriptionum Judaeae/ Palaestinae, Volume 1: Jerusalem, Part 1, De Gruyter, Berlin
www.degruyter.com/view/serial/42306
www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/42384

Hizmi , H. Archelaus Builds Archelais, BAR July/August, 2008

Kennedy, T. Sergius Paulus, Proconsul of Cyprus, Archaeological Diggings, January/February 2015, 33-35

Jenson, M.H. Antipas The Herod Jesus Knew, BAR, September/October 2012

MacCulloch, D. 2010 A History of Christianity, Penguin

Vörös, G. Machaerus Where Salome Danced and John the Baptist was Beheaded, BAR, September/October 2012

Whiston, W. (translator) 1960 Josephus Complete Works, Kregel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonius_Felix

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berenice_%28daughter_of_Herod_Agrippa%29

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiaphas_ossuary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_Inscription

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_II

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_Agrippa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_AgrippaII

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_wife_of_Chuza

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Junius_Gallio_Annaeanus.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysanias

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_the_Tetrarch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergius_Paulus

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/120618-john-the-baptist-bones-jesus-christ-bible-bulgaria-science-higham/

www.bible-history.com/archaeology/israel/ossuary-caiaphas.html

www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/paulus.htm

www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/judaea/berenice/i


Investigator Magazine's anonymous theologian attempts to prove the Bible on this website:

http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/