For the last couple days I've been working on writing a comedic parody of the life of the character Jesus. I won't tell you my storyline yet, but rest assured it's a laugh to write and hopefully it will be to read when done. An interesting consequence though of this project is that it's giving me the closest look I've had at the gospels since I was a kid and I'm noticing things I never did before.
The first observation--I'll put more later--is the frequent recurrence of names. I noticed this first when I was figuring out my through-line for John and then became confused over how he was at the last supper when he had been beheaded earlier. I also thought it was strange that he was writing the book after he had been decapitated. All of these things I'd previously assumed were just continuity errors and the improbability of John having actually written the gospel (if indeed he ever existed). Needing to settle this though, I learned via Yahoo Answers that there were, in fact, two Johns. Okay, cool.
Turns out the King Herod that troubled Jesus as an infant was not the same King Herod that sought Jesus' death as an adult. A multitude of Peters, Simons, and even Judases (or is the plural Judi?). There were two Salomes and Jesus was also hooking up with a woman who had the same name as his mother (Shall I invoke Oedipus?).
In all likelihood there were limited names in this society, certainly Korea is that way to this day, but it reminds me of confusing old Norse Sagas. As a kid I think I merged these characters. Now, I'm taking care not to in my (hopefully) beautifully written work of blasphemy.