Damaris (Acts 17:34) and an Aristocratic Family from Sparta: Neglected Epigraphic Evidence on the Name of a Female Disciple

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Abstract

This article surveys epigraphic evidence for Damaris, Damares and Damari(o)n to
show that these are distinctively Spartan or Laconian names. It rejects the hypothesis that Damaris is a Lukan construction from Homeric δάμαρ (wife) or a typical name for a courtesan. Positively, it suggests that the woman named Damaris in Acts 17:34 could be imagined as a member of the Voluseni family, a prominent Spartan family connected with the Athenian elite. Finally, it examines the rhetorical force that a recognizably Spartan name could have in the narrative of Acts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-359
JournalNovum Testamentum
Volume63
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Damaris
  • Acts
  • epigraphy
  • Sparta
  • Athens

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