Department/School of the Primary Author

English, Literature, and Modern Languages


speech acts, naming, Old Testament, illocutionary act, names




This research sought to study the act of naming in the context of the Old Testament using speech act theory. To analyze naming as presented in the Old Testament, I first studied the Hebrew words qārāʾ and šēm, creating from my findings the following extended definition: (naming is) the act of giving a name within particular specified circumstances by one with authority over the name-receiver, whose authority is respected by others such that the name spoken is hence used to identify and represent the receiver. This, along with an understanding of Alston (2000) and the example of Arcadi (2013), shaped a schema of illocutionary rules and conditions that I then tested in nine case studies of naming throughout the Old Testament. Key components include particular circumstances, necessary conditions and authority, and the occurrence within a community. Ultimately, I conclude naming as presented in the Old Testament is in fact a speech act that is subject to particular rules and carries great importance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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© 2018 Lauren Yost. All rights reserved



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