“Hi. I’m Jesus. This is my Apostle, Simon, and this is my other Apostle, Simon.”

St. Luke’s Gospel tells us,

“Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas,
James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”

Ever notice how many of the Apostles have the same names? With two Simons, two Johns, and two Judases, half of the Apostles share a first name. Something like this naturally occurring is actually not that unusual; for instance, nearly 48% of U.S. Presidents share a first name with at least one other President, and about 68% of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had the same first name as one or more of the other signers.

But how often have you come across a novel, movie, or TV show with two characters bearing the same first name? (The only example that comes to my mind is from the 1980’s sitcom Newhart: “Hi. I’m Larry, this is my brother, Darryl, and this is my other brother, Darryl,” but this was just for laughs—the two Darryls didn’t even have any spoken lines.) Duplicate naming is avoided by the authors of fictional works because this complicates the story, potentially confusing the reader. The fact that we see duplicate names among the Apostles (not to mention the many, many Marys) is just more evidence that the Gospels are not made up texts but a record of history as it happened.

Larry (right) with Darryl and Darryl on Newhart

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