Just one Iota of the Yod in יהוד

An early Greek poet with an interesting non-Greek name is Ananios or Ananias from the 6th century BC, of whose work a few definite fragments are preserved by Athenaeus. Some of the poems attributed to Hipponax may also in fact be his. If parsed as Greek, the name Ananias would mean "pain-free" or something of the sort. But, apparently, it does not occur elsewhere as a Greek name.

Elsewhere when men are called Ananias in Greek, such as in the Septuagint, in Strabo, in the New Testament and in Josephus, it is is as a rendering of the Semitic names Ḥananyāh "Yahweh is Gracious" and ˁAnanyāh (variously interpretable as "Protected by Yahweh", "Yahweh's Cloud" or "Slave of Yahweh".)

Semitic names were commonplace throughout the ancient Mediterranean, and the names of slaves and artisans attest to much ethnic mixing in the Greek-speaking world as elsewhere. But Semitic names with "Yah(weh)" as a theophoric element would by this time have been prominent only among one group.

It seems to me that this Ananias may well have been a Jew. It would make him by far the earliest Jew recorded in Greece, and one of the earliest whose existence is recorded in non-Jewish sources.

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