Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Venue: Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia.

A Problem Like Maria: Women's Names in Papyri

Mary (in its various forms) is by far the commonest Biblical women's name in the Greek papyri from Egypt to the early fourth century AD. As well as being a Biblical Jewish or Christian name, it can also be Roman (as the feminine of the family name Marius).

This paper will examine the occurrences of Mary and other Biblical names for women in the papyrus letters and documents to the fourth century. As well as discussing some examples of cases where the provenance might be Jewish or Christian, the paper will consider some of the reasons why 'Mary' seems to have been so much more popular than other women’s names in the Jewish/Christian milieu of the time.