[Top] - Biblical Materials TOC

Cataloging Biblical Materials

Personal Names

Very few names in the Bible fit, or come close to our familiar pattern of forename-middle name-surname. Most names are what AACR2 calls given names. Often a name is accompanied by an epithet of some sort, but often names have no qualifier. Therefore, since many Biblical names have been adopted by many people throughout the centuries, many of them need a qualifier in order to distinguish them from other individuals in the Name Authorities File.

The last section of RI22.19 states:

"When the heading for a mortal mentioned in the Bible conflicts, and the conflict cannot be resolved by the addition of another qualifier (e.g. 22.8A1, 22.13A), add in parentheses the term "Biblical" plus the designation of the major Biblical category that fits the person (e.g., "(Biblical prophet)," "(Biblical patriarch)." If the person does not fit one of the major Biblical categories, use "(Biblical figure)."
100 00 Abraham‡c(Biblical patriarch)
100 00 Sarah‡c(Biblical matriarch)
100 00 Lot‡c(Biblical figure)
100 00 Isaiah‡c(Biblical prophet)
100 00 Nicodemus‡c(Biblical character)
100 00 Samuel‡c(Biblical judge)
100 00 Moses‡c(Biblical leader)
Regarding the form of the heading, note the absence of a comma following the given name. The qualifier, in parentheses, immediately follows the name.

Obviously, it can be somewhat tricky to predict which category is the most appropriate. One suggestion to follow while searching the RLIN Names Authority File, is to search a name as a heading phrase: fin hp [name] biblical #.

Many names of Biblical figures use a qualifier that is either a title or an epithet that has commonly come to be associated with the individual.

100 00 Mary,‡cBlessed Virgin, Saint
100 00 Judith‡c(Jewish heroine)
100 00 Joseph‡c(Son of Jacob)
100 00 David,‡cKing of Israel
100 00 Peter,‡cthe Apostle, Saint
100 00 John,‡cthe Baptist, Saint
100 00 Judas,‡cMaccabeus,‡dd. 161 B.C.
100 00 Melchizedek,‡cKing of Salem
100 00 Mary Magdalene,‡cSaint
100 00 Jesus Christ

The last two examples show how unpredictable some of these names can be. In the case of "Mary Magdalene" "Magdalene" is an epithet denoting her place of origin: Mary of Magdala. In the next example, "Christ" is, strictly speaking, a title. In both cases the name and the epithet have become so closely associated in popular usage that they are treated as phrases, and that is the way they are treated in the Names Authority File.

[Top] - Biblical Materials TOC