The Name Game: Biblical Boys
For baby name purists the search for the perfect moniker often begins and ends with the Bible. Featuring countless names that have endured for thousands of years, it is the epitome of traditional — offering time-honored appeal to both celebrities and non-celebrities alike.
Nameberry.com co-founder Linda Rosenkrantz notes that biblical names claim the top five spots on the Most Popular list for boys. What’s more, she points out, “there’s been an Old Testament name at #1 for the past 55 years, when New Testament classics like John and James started to lose their lead.”
Following the lead of the general population, celebrities have been choosing biblical names in droves. In order of popularity, Linda cites Jacob (as chosen by Jon Bon Jovi, Courtney Thorne-Smith, James Caan and Albert Brooks), Michael (as chosen by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos), Ethan (as chosen by Edward Furlong), Joseph (as chosen by Traci Lords, Cathy Moriarty and Kristin Scott Thomas), David (as chosen by Mo’Nique and Jennifer Hudson), Noah (as chosen by Scott Weiland, Jason Alexander and Leeza Gibbons), Nathan (as chosen by Jon Stewart), Elijah (as chosen by Bono and Donnie Wahlberg), Gabriel (as chosen by Dougray Scott and Daniel Day-Lewis), Benjamin (as chosen by Alison Sweeney and Annette Bening), Jonathan (as chosen by Mo’Nique) and Samuel (as chosen by Jack Black, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber, and Elizabeth Vargas).
Other popular biblical boy names just outside the Top 30 include Aaron (as chosen by Robert de Niro), Caleb (as chosen by Julianne Moore and Bo Bice), Eli (as chosen by Campbell Brown and Jeffrey Tambor), Isaac (as chosen by Joel McHale), Isaiah (as chosen by Allen Iverson and Elisabeth Hasselbeck), Jared (as chosen by Paula Zahn), Jesse (as chosen by Jenna Jameson and Wendy Wilson) and Levi (as chosen by Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey, as well as Sara Gilbert and Dave Evans).
For expectant parents who embrace the idea of a biblical name while also embracing the notion of a name beyond the mainstream, Linda recommends Abraham (as chosen by Lila McCann), Asher (as chosen by Campbell Brown and Embeth Davidtz), Ezekiel (as chosen by Tisha Campbell-Martin and Beau Bridges), Ezra (as chosen by Paul Reiser), Gideon (as chosen by Ziggy Marley), Judah (as chosen by Lucy Lawless), Moses (as chosen by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin), Raphael (as chosen by Juliette Binoche) and Simeon (as chosen by Wynton Marsalis).
Of course it’s still possible to push the envelope, even with a biblical name. Linda notes that two celebrities took traditional biblical boys names and gave them to their daughters: Billy Ray Cyrus, with daughter Noah, and Ziggy Marley, with daughter Judah.
Which biblical boy names are your favorites? Would you consider using a biblical name with your baby? Why or why not?