He’s a minor Old Testament prophet and a major force in the kitchen.
Thanks to Christina for suggesting Hosea as Name of the Day.
If you followed the most recent season of Top Chef: New York, you know that Hosea Rosenberg beat out Stefan, Carla and Fabio for the title of Top Chef. (Besides bragging rights, Hosea nabbed cash and fabulous prizes.) He’d been executive chef at a seafood restaurant in Boulder, Colorado before achieving his newfound fame.
Since Noah, Elijah and Isaiah are all positively mainstream, will some parents searching for a Biblical boys’ name find themselves considering Hosea?
Chef Hosea favored the ho ZAY ah pronunciation. Ho ZEE uh is also valid, and leads to the cool nickname Zee.
While he sounds like he’s related to José, that’s not the case. Instead he’s Hebrew. The word hoshea translates to salvation. The ever-popular Joshua shares similar roots. He was born Hoshea, but changed his name to Yehoshua – “God is salvation” – on the recommendation of Moses.
In the Old Testament, Hosea was a prophet who suffered through an unhappy marriage. He penned The Book of Hosea, comparing his faithless wife to the people of Israel – and predicting that both would repent.
While Hosea has never been common, he’s not a complete rarity. In the nineteenth century, he frequently ranked in the 400s, peaking at #360 in 1885. He’s appeared in the Top 1000 as recently as 1963, when sixty newborn boys received the name.
A few notable Hoseas from over the years include:
- Hosea Hudson was born a Georgia sharecropper at the end of the nineteenth century. He went on to help register African Americans to vote in the earliest days of the civil rights movement;
- In the 1850s, Hosea Ballou II was the first president of Tufts University, a Universalist clergyman just like his same-named father;
- 19th century American writer James Russell Lowell named a character Hosea Biglow. Lowell was among the first to capture American dialects in writing – his Hosea was a Yankee who used slang like aint and feller;
- Harry Turtledove, a sci fi author known for his popular alternate histories, has also used the name for a character. His Hosea was elected Vice President of the United States as a Socialist party candidate in Turtledove’s version of 1920;
- Actor Hosea Chanchez plays Malik on The Game, The CW’s top ranked show about the lives of professional athletes for the (fictional) NFL team, the San Diego Sabers;
- Hosea Hunt Rockwell was a US Congressman from New York in the 1890s.
It’s tough to pigeonhole Hosea. He legitimately sounds like a Jewish heritage choice, a successor to popular Biblical boys’ names like Noah, an African American appellation or an antique found hanging on the family tree. Throw in the culinary reality star and literary characters, and Hosea is surprisingly versatile.
While he’s still far from the mainstream, Hosea could very well experience a renaissance in the next few years.