Yeshua of Nazareth,
a.k.a. Jesus Christ
Sources of his various names:
Yeshua, Yeshu, Jesus, Jesu, etc.
Controversy over Jesus' names:
- His formal name: As a newborn, Jesus was probably given the Hebrew name
"יהושע" (yod-he-waw-shin-ayin). This is variously transliterated as
Y'hoshua, Yahoshua, Yehoshua, Yahshua,. It means "Yahweh
is Salvation," "God Salvation,"
or "Yahweh delivers." 1
This name in Hebrew is normally translated as Joshua in English,
but not in Jesus' case; Jesus and Yeshua are the most common current usages.
- His name translated into Greek: The Septuagint (a.k.a. LXX) is a translation
of the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) from Hebrew into "koine dialektos" a popular
version of Greek. It was in very wide use in Palestine during the time of Jesus.
According to tradition, the conversion to Greek was performed by 72 translators
in 72 days during the 3rd century BCE. According to most theologians today, it was
completed in many stages between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE.
The book of Joshua describes the conquest of Canaan, in which God ordered the Hebrews to
engage in the genocide of the
Canaanite people. According to Dr. James D. Price, Professor of Hebrew and Old
Testament at Temple Baptist Seminary in Chattanooga, TN, the LXX
translators rendered Joshua's name (Yehoshua) as Iasous in Greek, which became Jesus in
English. The Catholic Encyclopedia states that: "The Greek name is connected
with verb 'iasthai,' to heal." 2
In the Christian Scriptures, Yehoshua is mentioned in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews
4:8. In both cases, the LXX spells the name as Iasous.
According to Wikipedia:
"Clement of Alexandria and St. Cyril of Jerusalem considered the Greek form
Iesous to be the original, even going so far as to interpret it as a
true Greek name and not simply a transliteration of Hebrew." 3
"Yeshua is also a shortened version of the
word Yehoshua much like Bill is for William. ... 'Yeshua' appears
there twenty-nine times, and is the name of at least five different
persons and one village in the southern part of Yehudah ('Judah')."
- Common usage in ancient times: Theologians
generally believe that Jesus would have been referred to by the shorter name Yeshua
at least in Jerusalem and the rest of Judea. His close friends, family and disciples would
have probably called him Yeshu.
A posting on FaithForum.org states:
"Being historically accurate, we need to call him Yeshua.
That is his name: not "Jesus". It is how his family would have referred to
him and his followers probably knew him. In actuality, his name was probably
pronounced in the rough regional dialect of Galilee as "Yeshu", but in
Jerusalem, it was more likely fully articulated. After his death some of his
followers moved into the "pagan" world and there they employed the
Hellenized form of his name. But, if the Gospels are accurate to any degree,
Yeshua never left Israel in his adult life. (This is actually a very
important point regarding the formation of Christianity. By changing
Yeshua's name to a Greek name, the writers of the Christian texts made the
Gentilization of the faith seem to be something that was part of the
inevitable flow of spiritual progress, and, most misleadingly, that this
process was intended by Yeshua. We have to keep in mind that Yeshua was not
a "Christian". He would never have heard of the term as it had not yet come
into existence. 6
Later names: "Yeshua" was translated by the early Christians as
"Iasous" or "Iesous" in
Greek, probably in order to make his name more acceptable to Greek Pagans of the time.
His name became Iesus in Latin, and was used, for example, in the title of a year 2000
declaration by the Roman Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith titled "Dominus Iesus"
The letter "J" was not
created until the 14th century in England and did not come into wide usage
until the 17th century. 7
Iesus subsequently became Jesu in German. The English name
Jesus came from the German spelling and pronunciation.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Yahshua," Wikipedia, at:
- "Origin of the Name of Jesus Christ," Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent, at:
- "Yeshua (name)," Wikipedia, 2007-OCT-01, at:
- Dr. James D. Price, "Yehoshua, Yeshua or Yeshu; Which one is the name
of Jesus in Hebrew?," at:
- "Yeshua or Jesus," The Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies," at:
- Cryptonomic, "God and Jesus' many names," at:
- Lee Warren, "How Did the Name Jesus Originate?," The Plim Report, Vol 10,
#5, (2001). Online at:
Copyright © 2007 & 2013 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2013-DEC-01
Author: B.A. Robinson