medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

At 3:57 PM -0600 3/16/02, Theresa Gross-Diaz wrote:
>This is much later, but... by around 1500 in Germany it seems to
>have been the prerogative of the godparent, more or less in cahoots
>with the parents... see Jane Hutchison's biography of Albrecht Durer
>>>>  [log in to unmask] 03/16/02 09:56 AM >>>
>medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>Does any list member have suggestions about where to read about naming
>practices in the early Christian centuries and the Middle Ages?  I am
>particularly interested in finding out whether the choice of a child's name
>was regarded as the responsibility of either mothers or fathers.

In 16th-century England (also post-medieval) the parents made the
decision, but indirectly: according to Scott Smith-Bannister [1], in
about 75% of the cases where we have all the relevant names recorded,
children were named after one of their godparents. And since it was
the parents who chose the godparents (although there were social
conventions influencing who would be regarded as appropriate),
indirectly the parents were responsible.

After the 16th century and under Puritan influences, the trend was
more and more to name children after one of their parents, or if they
already had siblings with those names, then after aunts/uncles,
grandparents et cetera. Partly this trend was due to the Puritan
disapproval of the institution of godparents, since they felt that
parents, as the primary child rearers, should be the witnesses to a
child's baptism.

For earlier periods, the Medieval Names Archive at has mostly lists of names, but
may discuss naming practices in some of the articles as well.

(I've also asked a couple of onomastic specialists about earlier
eras, but their responses may take a few days.)

[1]  _Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538-1700_, by Scott
Smith-Bannister (Oxford Historical Monographs, Clarendon Press, 1997,
ISBN 0-19-820663-1).
O    Chris Laning
|     <[log in to unmask]>
+    Davis, California

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