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Patriarchal Names:  Judah.
From History of Christian Names, by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.

In her exultation at having borne so many promising sons, Leah called her fourth Jehudah (he will be praised); meaning brought forward by her husband Jacob when, in his death-bed blessing of his sons, he exclaimed, "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise."

Thus, too, it has been with the individual name of Judah.  Unused before the captivity, it was revived again after it, and carried to the highest fame and popularity by the brave Maccabee, who newly founded Judea and restored it, for a time, to freedom and honour.  His surname is by some derived from a word meaning the Hammerer, by others from Makkabi, formed by initial letters of the motto on his standard, "Who among the gods is like unto Thee, O Lord?"  Judas Maccabeus, early as was his death, and imperfect as was the deliverance of his country when he was slain, was one of the chief heroes of the world, and occupied a far larger space in the imagination of our mediæval ancestors than he does in ours.  Not only were the books of Maccabees considered as of equal authority with the canonical Scriptures, but, before 1240, a French metrical romance had recoutned his exploits, and by Chaucer's time Judas Maccabeus was ranked among the nine worthies—the subject of many a ballad and chap-book.

But his name has never occurred!  Frequent, indeed, it was among his own countrymen after his time, but of them was that man who rendered it for ever accursed.

Another apostle bore the same name, but this did not suffice to redeem it, though altered into Jude to mark the distinction.  The Saint had, however, two Aramean names, Lebbæus, supposed to mean hearty, or else from the town of Lebba, and Thaddæus, which is satisfactorily explained as an Aramean form of the same word Praise, Græcized and Latinized of course before it came to us.

It is not, however, popular.  Italy has indeed used it a good deal as Taddeo, and Spain knows it as Tadeo; but though Ireland swarms with Thadys, who write themselves Thaddeus, this is only as a supposed English version of their ancient Erse, Tadhg (a poet).  The Slavonic nations use it more than the West; it is a favourite Polish name, and the Russians call it Phaddéi; and the Illyrians, Tadia.  No name has been so altered as Judah; it is Hodaiah after the captivity, and Abiud, or rather Ab-jud, in St. Luke's genealogy.

The feminine form of the name, Jehudith, or Judith, belonged primarily to the Hittite wife of Esau, who was a grief of heart to Rebekah, but its fame is owing to the heroine of Bethulia, whose name is, however, said rather to mean a Jewess than to be exactly the feminine of Judah.  Indeed some commentators, bewildered by the difficulties of chronology, have supposed the history to be a mere allegory in which she represents the Jewish nation.  However, on the uncritical mind of the eighth or ninth century, her story made a deep impression, and a poem was in circulation in Europe recording her adventurous deed, and mentioning among the treasures of Holofernes' tent a mosquito net, whence the learned argue that the narrative must have been derived from some eastern source independent of the Apocryphal book.

At any rate, hers was the first name not belonging to their own language that was borne by Teutonic ladies, and long preceded that of any saint.  Perhaps it was supposed to be the equivalent of the German Juthe from Ganthe, war; at any rate Juditha, Jutha, or Jutta was in high favour at the court of the Karling Kaisers, and came to England with the step-mother, who gave the first impulse to our great Alfred's love of learning.  Her subsequent marriage took it to Flanders, and we had it back again with the niece of William the Conqueror, the wicked wife of Waltheof, and afterwards of Simon de St. Lis.  Her uncle cites her as a witness to a charter by the familiar abbreviation of Jugge, which was long used as the regular contraction, though Judy has since become more usual, and is exceedingly common in Ireland.

On the authority of Eusebius we venture to add a third to those who bore the name of Judah in the apostolic college, namely, him whom we know by the Aramaic and Greek epithets Thomas and Didymus, both meaning a twin.  Tradition declares that his fellow-twin was a sister called Lysia.  India is believed to have been the region of his labours and of his death; the Christians there were called after him; and when, in the sixteenth century, the Portuguese attained their object of reaching India by sea, they thought they discovered his tomb at Meliapore, transported the relics to Goa, and created San Tomàs or Tomè into their patron saint.  Long ere this, however, in every part of Europe had Thomas been revived with other apostolic names, but its great prominence was derived from the murdered Archbishop Becket, or St. Thomas of Canterbury.  His shrine at Canterbury was the English Compostella, visited by foreign as well as native pilgrims, and the greater proportion of churches so termed were under the invocation of the archbishop instead of the apostle, although it is only by charter or by wake-day that the dedication can be traced, since Henry VIII. did his utmost to de-canonize and destroy all memorials of the bold prelate whom he would most certainly have beheaded instead of assassinating.  In Italy a martyr for ecclesiastical prerogatives was certain to be in high repute; carvings, glass, paintings, and even needlework still bear his history and figure, always denoted by the clean cutting off of his scalp above the tonsure, and Tomasso flourishes greatly as a Christian name, the Italians, as usual, abbreviating by the omission of the first syllable instead of the last, so that where we say Tom, they say Maso, and thence Masuccio, as we call one of their earliest great painters.  Tomasso Agnello was the true name which, contracted into Masaniello, was the wonder of the day at Naples, and made the Spanish power there totter on its throne.

The feminine Thomassine, Tamzine, and Tammie, are comparatively recent inventions.  They were frequent in the 17th century, and then went out of fashion.

Lower Lusatian.

Thomas is the accepted equivalent for the Irish Tomalhaid, Tomaltach, and Toirdelvach, tall as a tower.


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