What’s Your Name?

With Amy A. Kass, First Things, November 1995.


The authors of this essay on names have just identified themselves. Well, not quite. For the sake of full disclosure, they are willing to have it known that they have the same last name not by coincidence or consanguinity but because they are married to each other (and have been for over thirty-four years). Some will suspect that this biographical fact is responsible for the authors’ attitudes toward names and naming. The authors respectfully submit that the reverse is closer to the truth, that their attitude toward names and naming-and the many things that they have slowly come to understand about what names imply-is responsible for this paramount biographical fact. This essay is a first attempt to articulate, not least for themselves, what they have tacitly understood.

First Things