“Saying Jesus’s Name Wrong”: A Fallacy of “Hebrew Roots”

Andrea Mantegna, Ecce Homo (1502)

Andrea Mantegna, Ecce Homo (1502) (WikiArt).

One of the most common and insistent tropes of the “Hebrew Roots” movement is the claim that the majority of Christians in the world are “saying Jesus’s name wrong” — that the name “Jesus” itself is improper, a Westernization and a corruption of the Messiah’s true name. The true name of our Lord, the proper way to address Him, these people argue, is by His original Hebrew name, ישוע (yēšūʿa) — most often rendered in English as Yeshua.

Make no mistake: It’s quite true that the original, Hebrew and Aramaic name of Jesus was probably ישוע, a variant of the name of the Hebrew leader and hero יהושע (yəhôšūʿa), meaning “The Lord is salvation.” And if you’d like to call the Lord that, then more power to you. But before you go around condemning traditional Christians who hail our Lord Jesus, here are a few things you should consider:

  1. There is nothing “traditional” about calling the Lord Yeshua (or Y’shua, or Yah’shua, or any variant).
  2. There is nothing “improper,” no form of syncretism or invention or corruption, in the traditional name Jesus.
  3. To insist that Yeshua is the only proper name by which to address our Lord is, in fact, to reject the entire received Christian tradition, to disown the Apostles and Evangelists, even to deny Scripture itself — and to contradict the very message of the Gospel.

An Invented Tradition

Hebrew Roots

Proponents of “Hebrew Roots” often support their arguments with claims that they are returning to the “authentic traditions” of the first Jewish Christians. But is this really true?

Tradition means what has been handed down. And the truth is that there is no tradition — no writings, no hymns, no inscriptions, no traditional teaching or custom — of our Lord being addressed as Yeshua, passed down by the earliest Christians or by anyone else at all, until the beginnings of the “Messianic” movement in the nineteenth century.

Proponents argue that the name Yeshua is what the Apostles themselves would have called the Lord; and that might very well be true. But they left us no record, no tradition of it. Historians believe that Jesus and the Apostles probably spoke Aramaic as their primary language — not Hebrew. Yeshua is a modern reconstruction, based not on Aramaic but on Hebrew pronunciation.*

* Jews wrote Aramaic with the Hebrew script, but pronounced it differently than the biblical Hebrew language. Our transliteration of Hebrew is based on the rabbinical pronunciation of the biblical texts. The original Hebrew texts had no vowels; the system of vowels and pronunciations we have of ancient Hebrew today was passed down (and in some cases made up, or at least formalized) by rabbis. So a rabbi reading ישוע in a biblical text would pronounce it completely differently than a first-century Jew on the street speaking Aramaic, reading the same characters. Syriac Christians (see below), whose liturgical language is essentially Aramaic as it would have been spoken in the first century, pronounce these same characters, ישוע, not as “Yeshua” but as “Isho.”

On top of this, there is the matter that Hebrew and other Semitic languages can only be transliterated incompletely into English, which lacks both the phonemes and the graphemes to fully express those languages’ sounds and meanings. Even presuming the rabbinic tradition of pronunciation — Yeshua, like any other rendering, is at best an approximation. Rather than adhering to the “true” name of the Lord, proponents of this are just as guilty of “translating” His name into their own language as the early Greek Christians were in calling Him Jesus.

There are in fact Christians who have been speaking Aramaic for the past two thousand years, since the time of the Apostles, who have passed down the Christian faith in what can be called its native language: the Syriac Christians, whose liturgical language is essentially Aramaic as Jesus would have spoken it — but they pronounce the Lord’s name not “Yeshua,” but “Isho.” Yeshua was passed down by nobody at all, but invented from imagined traditions in modern times.

What the Apostles did pass down to us, the earliest written records preserved of the Christian Church, are the New Testament Scriptures — written not in Hebrew, not in Aramaic, but in Greek.

The Name of Jesus

Jesus Christ icon

Contrary to arguments I am hearing increasingly from “Hebrew Roots” proponents, the name Jesus is not a late, syncretistic introduction by “Rome,” nor a “corruption” of the true Hebrew teaching, nor any other attempt to pull true Christians away from the “Hebrew Roots” of Christianity. When the Apostles and their associates wrote the New Testament Scriptures in Greek — under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit — they wrote His name as Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous). Every manuscript of every book of the New Testament attests to this.

And this was not a novelty, even for the first Christians. The name Ἰησοῦς had already been extant in Greek for several centuries, as the standard transliteration of the Hebrew name (commonly transliterated in English) Joshua. In the Septuagint, the classic translation of the Old Testament Scriptures into Greek, which can be dated as early as the second century B.C., Ἰησοῦς was used as the name of Joshua, both the man and the book. In applying that name to the Christ, Greek-speaking Christians were following conventions established long before His coming.

When the Apostle Paul, the first great missionary, carried the Gospel of Christ beyond Judea and Palestine, he carried His name not as Yeshua but as Ἰησοῦς. The name Iesus is a natural transliteration of the Greek name into Latin, and thence, with the translation of the Bible into English, Jesus. Is Scripture itself, then — the divine foundation that even “Messianic” Christians claim — compromised, or corrupt, or flawed? Were the Apostles agents of syncretization or dilution, of leading the people of Christ away from His “Hebrew Roots”? This is in effect what these arguments entail. Clearly, if there were any problem, any heresy or corruption or dilution, in translating the name of the Lord into the native tongues of each of His peoples, then the Apostles themselves would not have done it.

Every Tongue Shall Confess

Nesterov, Resurrection (c. 1892)

Resurrection (c. 1892), by Mikhail Nesterov.

St. Paul himself tells us, in fact:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11)

Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” — declared in Greek, what was then the lingua franca of the civilized world. The word tongue in Greek, γλώσσα or glōssa, could also refer to language, as with the Latin lingua, and as we continue to use tongue in English. Was “every tongue” to confess the Lord, but only as Yeshua? Plainly not: in that very sentence, Paul hails Him as Jesus in Greek.

Arguing that only “Yeshua,” or any other rendition of the name, is the correct and proper address for our Lord, denies the entire received Christian tradition, the handing down of the faith to every people as the Apostles and their spiritual descendants have done. Just as the Greek people received the name of the Lord as Ἰησοῦς, the English people received Him as Jesus, the Spanish as Jesús, and so forth:

Names of the Lord in Various Languages
Language Name Transliteration
Albanian Jezusi
Amharic ኢየሱስ Iyesus
Aramaic ܝܫܘܥ Isho
Arabic يسوع ʿĪsā
Aragonese Chésus
Bengali যিশু Jishu
Chinese 耶稣
Greek (Koine) Ἰησοῦς Iēsous
Greek (Modern) Ιησούς Iēsous
Hebrew (Modern) ישו Yeshu
Hindi ईसा Jesu
Hungarian Jézus
Irish Gaelic Íosa
Italian Gesù
Korean 예수
Latin Iesus Jesus
Romanian Isus
Russian Иису́с Iisús
Church Slavonic Їисъ
Slovak Ježiš
Tagalog Hesus
Tamil இயேசு
Turkish İsa
Vietnamese Giê-su
Yiddish יעזוס Yezus

… I think you get the idea; and I’m having far too much fun with this. This is only a random smattering of just a few languages, pulled from Jesus’s Wikipedia article.

The point is this: Are any of these languages “wrong”? Were the apostles, missionaries, evangelists, and translators who carried the faith of Christ “to the ends of the earth,” to each one of these peoples, “wrong”? To argue that there is only one name by which Jesus can properly be addressed is to deny the universality, the catholicity, of Christ’s message of salvation; to cast aside the very message of the Gospel, of forgiveness and acceptance and inclusion into Christ for all peoples. Is Jesus a Savior for the Jews only? Or did He come for the lost sheep of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue? The greatest danger of the “Hebrew Roots” movement, I fear, is that it in effect recycles the heresy of the Judaizers, in arguing that the only true way to be a Christian is to be a Jew — an argument that Scripture rejects again and again.

73 thoughts on ““Saying Jesus’s Name Wrong”: A Fallacy of “Hebrew Roots”

  1. You didn’t even get to the crazy part this time: that some people believe the word “Jesus” to actually have come from the name “Zeus” (because that’s how we pronounce it in English), and therefore “Jesus” is a pagan attempt to destroying the Christian faith.

  2. Good post Joseph,

    The Hebrew Roots movement has caused me some mental turmoil since coming in contact with them. This is probably due to me being fairly young in my faith and being more vulnerable to be swayed by “every whim of doctrine.”

    I really think they are doing some damage to the Body of Christ due to these scary accusations. I remember I was afraid for a little while that I was sinning by saying “Jesus” because they claimed it was Pagan.

    They are putting stumbling blocks in people’s walks of faith.

    While I think the Sacred Name Movement and “only Yeshua” folks are in error, I still have been confused on the topic of whether God wants all of us to observe the Torah (as much as is possible). Specifically these things would the the Sabbath, food laws, wearing tzit tzit, not wearing clothes of mixed fibers, festivals, etc.

    I see it as, whatever God wants us to do, we should do.

    BUT, I still do not know what our relation to the Law of Moses is because most Christians observe all of its moral precepts.

    Anyways, trying to figure this all out and I look forward to more of your posts.

    In Christ,

    Neil H

    • Neil, thanks. I am glad the post was helpful. I agree that these “Hebrew Roots” arguments are very divisive and harmful. I hope to write on these issues more soon.

      I admit I have a very hard time understanding how anyone can read from the New Testament any sense that God wants Christians to continue observing the ceremonial precepts of the Torah. A good portion of Paul’s writings are written specifically to reject that notion — the whole of the letters to the Galatians and Romans, and comments in nearly every one of his epistles. Given this — and given that nowhere in the New Testament are such ideas as Hebrew festivals, restrictions on diet and dress, or even Sabbath observance, addressed at all — I don’t see that the arguments stand on anything but their own bluster. I would be very glad if you would share some of why you find them persuasive.

      Not only is discussion of any of these things absent from the New Testament, but there is no indication from any historical document that the Christian Church ever observed any of these things. We have direct testimony (see Ignatius of Antioch, “Barnabas,” and others) that the Church abandoned even the Jewish Sabbath by the beginning of the second century.

      Any argument otherwise is not only extrascriptural (if not outright contra-scriptural), but also unhistorical.

      • Hey there Joseph,

        Thanks very much for your reply. You know it’s been an interesting journey for me theologically these past four years of initially believing in Christ (though I have not been baptized so I don’t really know what I am technically).

        And it has led me into such things as Conservative Protestantism, exposure to Catholicism, Liberal Christianity (which I clearly see as wrong now (thank God)), Christian Universalism, and finally this exposure to the Hebrew Roots Movement.

        Currently though, I’ve been seriously considering the Catholic Church again and giving it a deeper look (and taking RCIA inquiry classes). And I agree very much so with your argument from the early Christian writings saying the opposite of the Hebrew Roots Movement.

        And I don’t think Sola Scriptura makes much sense anymore so I am inclined to give those early writers like Ignatius more weight in their theology (especially when they are said to have known some of the Apostles themselves!).

        So the authority of the Catholic Church has been getting clearer to me, but I’m still not all the way there yet.

        Nevertheless, considering the things that have made me take notice at the Law movement, would you like me to tell you through these comment sections or to your email? I can do either, but email might be better.


        In Christ,

        Neil H

      • Actually, the Sabbath and festivals ARE mentioned in the New Testament. Christ Himself observed them.
        I would be more inclined to do as He did, as opposed to what Christians did at the beginning of the second century.
        It’s a narrow walk. Dont look to the right or the left.

        • Hi, thanks for the comment. Yes, festivals are not mentioned, but the observance of Hebrew festivals is certainly not placed on Gentiles as a requirement. Far from it (Colossians 2:16-17). If observing Hebrew festivals is something you feel you are called to do, go for it. But don’t pass judgment on Gentile believers who don’t.

    • People always have excuses for why their religion is correct as it is. Early Christians had a decent amount of division. But then, the tradition was standardized.

      Of course, it’s not wrong to focus on the tradition as being valid, or you wouldn’t have much of a religion or common culture.

      Even so, if even the apostles didn’t care enough to teach the proper pronunciation of the Lord’s name so that following Christians would at least know it…

      • Clearly, the pronunciation and spelling of Jesus’s name were not nearly as important as his Person and his teachings. They translated his Name and his Word into every language of man.

        Thanks for the comment.

    • Hi Neil,

      I see that this thread was a long time ago now but feel led to reply.

      In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

      And in Matthew 22:34: Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      Moses was given the Ten Commandments by God, which the Jews knew well. These are found in Exodus 20:

      1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
      6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
      13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

      [All quotes are from the New International version.]

      So in Matthew 5:37-39, Jesus was summing up the ten commandments, as the first four are to do with loving God and the last six are to do with loving your neighbor.

      Jesus was a Jew. He even took the Lord’s prayer from Jewish writings.

      Copied-and-pasted this (below) from The Star and the article “The Radical Truth Behind the Lord’s Prayer.”

      [In his book Jesus and the Judaism of His Time, University of Toronto scholar Irving Zeitlin cites line-by-line parallels between the Lord’s Prayer and the Jewish mourner’s prayer, the Kaddish (“May (God) establish His kingdom during our lifetime and during the lifetime of Israel”), the Eighteen Benedictions (“Forgive us our Father, for we have sinned” is the sixth blessing), Talmudic prayer (“Lead me not into sin or iniquity or temptation or contempt,” goes one) and other Hebrew scriptures in which we find “Give us this day our daily bread.”

      That means Jesus “brilliantly” condensed and concentrated important Jewish ethical teachings in a unique manner, and the Lord’s Prayer sums up the essence of the Christian faith, says Darrell Johnson, a teacher at Vancouver’s evangelical Regent College and author of Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World: A Journey Through the Lord’s Prayer.]

    • For obeying The Torah Read Acts of The Apostles. It says : lets not put an extra burden on them (The gentile). Have them just abstain from blood The pollution of idols sexual immorality and All I Have commanded. About Moses laws jews respect The letter of those laws but break The spirit. We as Christians are called to follow The spirit of those laws not The letter. The sabbath is the day of rest because humans need rest. It matters not so much which is. Jews celebrate saturday because în that day they were released from egypt while US celebrate sunday because IT was then Christ ressurected. About mixed clothing is the current equivalent of buying brand clothes to show wealth. About festivals jews Have their, We Have ours

    • Hey jesusandthebible,

      Thanks for putting in a response. Of course, I do think those passages are pretty good considering this topic. But obviously, the Law people have ways of putting their view into those.

      I saw one man say that the burden or yoke spoken of in Acts 15 was circumcision, and not following all of the Law. When I first read this argument I was new to the whole topic so I thought it made sense. However, when I thought about it more, I realized that his interpretation didn’t make much sense:

      You notice how he says in Acts 15 ” a burden that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear”. If we was speaking of circumcision, then it would make no sense to mention himself because he would have been circumcised on the 8th day of his life (according to the Law). I personally was medically circumcised at my birth and I can remember nothing about it – no pain or discomfort. It is as if it never happened. Hardly a burden in my opinion.

      So I’d have to respectfully disagree with that interpretation.

      But those are some of the arguments that the Law folks put out to justify their position. However, I’d like to say that I believe most of these people are trying to sincerely follow God according to their knowledge and aren’t out for ulterior motives.

      Anyways that’s all

      • Joseph, although I am not a Hebrew or Jew, I must disagree. If I were to call you Josephni for example, you most likely would object. More to the point, the King James council, with their honorary scholars of the day, apparently did not consider choosing the proper name of Joshua, opting for a more palatable english transliteration. I personally find this offensive and behalf of my Lord, as do several other of brothers and sisters. And yes, after learning of this blatant and ignorant error, I pray in the name of Joshua now. Peace out, Brian.

        • Hi Brian. I would, and do, answer to Joe, Joey, Jose, Giuseppe, Josephus, or Yusef. And I’m quite sure the Lord answers to Joshua if that’s what you prefer. But Joshua is not the “original” name of the Messiah any more than “Jesus” is. Joshua itself is a “more palatable English transliteration” of the Hebrew name. If you wish to fault someone, you should fault the Evangelists and Apostles, who first wrote the name of the Lord, in inspired Scripture, as Ἰησοῦς. If the Lord had any problem with his name being expressed in transliteration or translation, they would not have done so under His direction.

          • The translations were of men, the inspiration was of God, the follow through and following corruption was not of God, but those who seek will find and enough of the old language and the Torah was still here for us to find that altered by man truth.

          • So, you don’t believe the words of the New Testament of the Bible, as we have them written, are inspired? The only New Testament texts that we have are in Greek. Are they not the Word of God?

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  4. Neil,

    The reason you are experiencing “mental turmoil” in relation to the Hebrew Roots movement is because it is spiritual warfare and you are coming up against the AntiChrist spirit.

    I could say more about it, but I don’t think focusing on the HR movement gives any more clarity on Christ and his completed work at the cross.

    There are eight covenants listed in the Bible. Out of those eight, only the Mosaic covenant was conditional. As Joseph pointed out in his post, Paul makes it very clear in the book of Galatians that no one can be saved through the Mosaic covenant, that it just makes us aware of our sin.

    Regarding your question about what we as Christians are supposed to “do” with the Mosaic covenant. First, it is no longer in effect to begin with. Second, it’s purpose was to point the way to Christ.

    It never had the power to save. Genesis 15:6 states that Abraham was counted as righteous because of his FAITH. Faith in what? Faith in his deliverer, his redeemer, that God would do what he said he would do, in the Lord’s salvation (Yeshua Strongs 3444) Only those who have faith like Abraham are saved .

    There is a lot you can say about the plan of salvation and Jesus in the Old Testament. However, I think that Gen 15:6, along with Lev 17:11 (there is no purification from sin except through the blood of a life given in sacrifice) and Isaiah 43:11 (I am the Lord, there is no other Savior) makes it very clear that there is no way to reconcile even just these three verses without the person of Jesus Christ, son of God coming as Son of Man, giving his life in sacrifice.

    Why would one need tzizit if we have his law written on our hearts and the Holy Spirit inside us? How are some pieces of string even relevant?

    As for the food laws, God doesn’t give stupid instructions. The “unclean” animals listed are scavenger animals, they eat other animals and other gross things. Pigs especially are especially disgusting, they will eat literally anything even cannibalizing the carcass of other pigs. If you read about what science has discovered about food and nutrition, and you keep in mind God’s laws are because he wants the best for us, it should not be surprising that he nixed those animals saying, “Leave these off your menu.”

    The unclean animals were the “junk food” of the time and God wanted, and still wants for us, them to be healthy. If you don’t want to eat pork for health reasons, don’t. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it will do anything for you spiritually. Paul said all things are clean if we bless it in the Lord’s name and Jesus himself said “What you eat cannot defile you.”

    Personally, I think it’s ridiculous when someone is all hung up on not eating pork when at the same time they guzzle down soda and eat fast food every day.

    Regarding the command about the fibers, I’ve read a couple different opinions about this. One is that it is just common sense, that they will wear differently. Another is that it was related to a Canaanite worship practice that was prevalent in the land they were entering and it was a prohibition against that.

    I’m kind of leaning to the second. The whole modern Jewish practice of not eating dairy and meat together stems entirely from the verses saying not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

    The Ugartic texts discovered at Ras Shemra illuminated those verses. That was a pagan practice in Canaan to ensure a good harvest. It had NOTHING to do with dietary laws. When you read passages it is very clear, it is part of passages that are giving instructions on grain offerings.

    God never said you couldn’t have a cheese burger. That is a rabbinic interpretation of something they didn’t understand. Instead of saying, “We don’t know what this means,” (because obviously the context had been forgotten) they came up with new laws. Man says.

    The command about the fibers feels the same to me. But who knows.

    Regardless, you know the saying “It’s not my circus, not my monkeys?” if you’re not ethnically Jewish, this isn’t your circus. Why spend any time worrying about something that was clearly spelled out almost 2,000 years ago at the Council of Jerusalem? Follow the Noahide laws and don’t worry about it.

    My advice to you is make a habit of reading the Bible daily. The best defense against unsound doctrines is being so familiar with what God’s Word actually says that you can pick out when something goes against it.

    • Hi Carla,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m no theologian or expert in any of this. Just a regular guy who is trying to figure things out.

      I feel like this is where I am at this time in my search:

      1. Jewish believers in Jesus are to remain living a Jewish lifestyle (Sabbath, kosher, etc.). Not relying on the Torah to be reckoned righteous, but living it out as their calling and the guidelines for a holy life.

      2. Gentile believers in Jesus are accountable to the four prohibitions given at the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), the moral teachings of Jesus, and the morality evident in the epistles of the apostles. They are not accountable for the whole Torah (like Jews are), but are also not forbidden from practicing things like the Sabbath.

      I know this probably sounds alien. It’s been a long journey for me theologically and I still have much I feel I could learn. But that’s where I find myself.

      Peace in Christ,


    • Hi Carla,
      From what I have read regarding the mixing of fabrics, which is specifically wool and linen together, some recent science shows that the frequency of linen is very good for the body as is wool. However when the two are worn on the body together the conflicting frequencies are very bady for you. Cotton it seems is quite neutral neither good or bad and does not react with the others from memory. Like the food laws, GOD has shown us what is good and what is not. Like you stated about pork and likewise shellfish, they are scavenging rubbish bins.

      Cheers Casey

  5. first off in Romanian just as in Russian is pronounce Iisus not Isus. Second you do pronounce it wrong because you pronounce it with a J instead of I . It is interesting that those become christians from english missionaires pronounce with J but all the rest pronounce with an I. Also the NT is written in Greek and Latin and both use the I so you are wrong. The mistake may have appeared because when english was germanic J could be pronounced both J and I. So it is a transliteration mistake on YOU.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. I think you are missing the point I was making. Yes, certainly the English pronunciation of “Jesus” is different than the Hebrew pronunciation, the Greek pronunciation, and even the Latin pronunciation — as is that of my own name, “Joseph,” and many others. Pronunciation of names changes at they are transmitted, translated, or transliterated between languages. Does this mean the English pronunciation is “wrong”? A “mistake”? No, it simply means that’s the way the name passed from one linguistic context to another. The bottom line is if the original, “correct” pronunciation of the name “Jesus” were essential to His person or the salvation He brings, then — as with Islam and Arabic — the only valid language for reading the Scriptures or praising the Lord would be Hebrew (which, as I’ve argued above, it’s questionable if Jesus or the Apostles even spoke) or Aramaic. The Apostles would not themselves have translated His name and His words into Greek. From the start, Christianity was multilingual and multicultural. The peace of the Lord be with you!

      • I did understand your point. You missed mine. The only reason why names like your own are pronounced now as they are is because a mistake.And there are many other mistakes in english. For instance no one ever said “Ye” in old english. They just wrote “The” as “Ye”. When later people found old manuscripts after J was no longer used instead of I they read them wrong. So it was a mistake that no one was willing to correct. Also lets take the name James. There is no apostle with that name in the Bible. The name used is Jacob (read Iacob). Please explain how is ok to accept this change. Is like I would call you Dan just because I feel like it. Also from your own list most countries and languages pronounce the name in the same way, i.e.using I. And it is important.Because if I can change a name however I please then I can reach false conclusions like some researchers that claimed that Yahweh was derived from a pagan deity with a similar name when transcribed to english. But YHWH is just an abbreviation for “I am that I am”.This is further explained later in the verse “who was and is and is to come” explaining his unchanging eternal nature without a beginning or an end .Also please note that the differences between most languages regarding the names are minimal and one can easily identify the person. Also usually the apostles left words untranslated were the differences were to big and rather chose to add a commentary explaining what the word was supposed to mean. About the language to read the New Testament that language is Greek because it was first written in Greek and the apostles took great care not to make mistakes. And if you are zealous you can read the OT in Aramaic.

        • So, natural consonantal shift in a language is a “mistake,” but intentionally translating a name not only into a different language, but into an entirely different alphabet — thereby losing the pictographic context of the original characters, losing the precision of the original languages’ phonetics (Greek lacks even the basic phonemes of Hebrew and Aramaic), even completely discarding one or more entire syllables — is fine, because the Apostles didn’t make “mistakes”? How is it not a “mistake” to completely discard the voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant (the sh sound [∫] of the shin [ש]) — since that sound isn’t even present in Greek — but it’s a “mistake” to pronounce the letter j with a voiced palato-alveolar affricate (dʒ)?

          • I is a vowel, J is a consonant. Also not sure what is natural about the shift. The alphabet was not that different. S and SH or Ş are very similar . I and J are not. What they did is just dropping some inflections what is called now accent. For instance english people from different areas have different accents but use the same words. But in this case the word was changed completely. Also you did not answer my James challenge. Also I explained how the mistake occurred and why it was a mistake. The Apostles made the transliteration intentionally. The Iesus to Jesus change was unintentional. That is why it is a mistake. Also my humble opinion is that someone that knows the original language can transliterate a name better than someone that does not. Remember the Peking/Beijing example? For instance every native english speaker seems to fuc my name up. They read Ciprian as Siprian which is wrong. Instead the Ci is like the chi in chill. I hope you get what I am saying. The Apostles were right because they knew the original language and tried to match it. But the english change does not match the original. I does not sound as J.

          • The Hebrew yod (י) is certainly a consonant. In Latin, I before a vowel at the beginning of words is also a consonant, pronounced /j/ sound (“y” as in “Yulius Kaisar” (/juliʊs kae̯sar/) for Julius Caesar) and eventually spelled with a J in later Latin. This is a consonant and not a vowel. So if you are pronouncing the name of the Lord as if it begins with a vowel, then I’m afraid it’s you who are making a mistake. The name of the Lord came to be spelled in later Latin Jesus; and the letter J is pronounced in English with a /dʒ/. Is that a different pronunciation than the Apostles, or the Latin Church, used? Yes. Was it intentional? No, it was a purely accidental product of translating names from one language to another. Is it “wrong” or a “mistake”? Not unless you mean to argue that those who pronounce Julius Caesar in the traditional English pronunciation (/ˈdʒuːlɪəs ˈsi zər/) are also saying his name “wrong.” The classical pronunciation is fine for classicists, but in everyday speech, people give you strange looks. /sĭp′rē-ən/ is also the appropriate English pronunciation of the name Cyprian. Anglicized pronunciations are not “wrong,” they are simply the product of translating words and names between languages. I get what you are saying — but I disagree.

            If you are arguing from a point of linguistic purity, fine, you may continue tilting at windmills. If you are arguing from a point of faith — that those who pronounce “Jesus” in the traditional English pronunciation are “wrong” and their faith in the Lord is somehow deficient or less legitimate — that is what my article is about, and you could not be more wrong. If the Lord cared at all about the precise, original pronunciation of His name, then the Apostles would not have completely changed that pronunciation by translating it into Greek.

            Regarding James: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_(name)

          • well it is pronounved Iulius Cezar. I am not going to argue anymore because you seem not to want to accept you are wrong. Is the typical pride of the english: every other language and people on the earth is wrong, but you are right. Also not sure where you got yod as consonant. You ignored every argument Ii brought and apparently think you know latin better than latin speakers and speakers of romance languages and hebrew better than the jews in the time of Iesus. What can I say?

  6. Evolution of IEUESHUO into JEEZUs
    in chronological order, from oldest to youngest –
    01) IEUESHUO – English transliteration of the Ancient Hebrew Name
    02) IEUSHUO – English transliteration of the shortened Ancient Hebrew Name
    03) ISHUO – English transliteration of the further shortened Ancient Hebrew Name
    04) YESHUA – English transcription of the second shortest Massoritic Jewish Hebrew Name
    05) YESHU – English transcription of the shortest Massoritic Jewish Hebrew Name
    06) IESU – English transliteration of the early Greek Name
    07) IESoUs – English transliteration of the later Greek Name
    08) IESUs – First English Name
    09) JESUs – Second English Name
    10) JEEZUs – Today’s English transcription (sound match) of the letters of the Second English Name

    Plus the Ancient people were called Messianics not Christians and if we look up the word Cretin it derives from Latin Christianus which is a Christian and Christ derives from Greek Christos which derives from Chrestos which is Mithra Chrestos

    • Thanks for the comment. I don’t know where you’re getting this, but it’s not quite right. Would you care to cite some sources?

      Historically, the name of our Lord entered the English language via the Latin Vulgate Bible, around the twelfth century A.D. So the name by which our Lord was first known in English was Jesu or Jesus. This is documented fact; see the etymology section of the entry “Jesus” in any English dictionary. Notably, here is the Oxford English Dictionary:

      Jesus, n. Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈdʒiːzəs/, U.S. /ˈdʒizəs/
      Etymology: < Latin Iēsūs, < Greek Ἰησοῦς, < late Hebrew or Aramaic yēshūăʿ, Jeshua, for the earlier y’hōshūăʿ, Jehoshua or Joshua (explained as ‘Jah (or Jahveh) is salvation’: compare y’shūʿāh ‘salvation, deliverance’, and Matt. i. 21), a frequent Jewish personal name, which, as that of the Founder of Christianity, has passed through Greek and Latin into all the languages of Christendom. In Old English rendered by hǽlend ‘saviour’ (see healend n.); but during the Middle English period regularly used in its Old French (objective) form Iesu (Jesu). The (Latin nominative) form Iesus (Jesus) was rare in Middle English, but became the regular English form in 16th cent. Yet in Tyndale’s New Testament, 1525–34, the form Iesu was generally used where the Greek has Ἰησοῦ, the Vulgate Iesu, in the vocative and oblique cases. This was, as a rule, retained by Coverdale 1535, and in the Great Bible 1539, also, in the vocative instances, in the Bishops’ Bible 1568; but in representing the Greek oblique cases, this has Iesus. Iesu disappeared from the Geneva 1557 (except in one place), and from the Rhemish 1582, and the version of 1611. Jesu was frequent in the earlier forms of the Book of Common Prayer, and survives in one place; in later use it occurs in hymns, rarely in nominative or object, but frequently in the vocative. In hymns, the possessive Jesus’ is commonly sung /ˈdʒiːzjuːz/.

      The name Jesus passed through Greek and Latin into all the languages of Christendom. Because the New Testament was written in Greek, and translated into Latin, the name of the Lord was received in written word first as Ἰησοῦς and then as Jesus. The name could have been transmitted as you suppose above, being transliterated into English from Hebrew. For one thing, the New Testament was written in Greek, not Hebrew; the name of our Lord was never written in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew name “Joshua” likewise would been received into English via the Latin Vulgate (which spells the name Josue). English readers generally did not have access to the Bible in Hebrew — or even in Greek — until the sixteenth century, when the first polyglot editions of the Bible were published.

      So no part of your “evolution” is correct. In truth the path is much shorter:

      1. ישוע (yēšūʿa) – The name of our Lord in Hebrew and Aramaic [derived from יהושע (yəhôšūʿa, the name of the Hebrew leader Joshua)].
      2. Ἰησοῦς (Jēsous) – Greek transliteration of both the name Jesus and the name Joshua, as used by the Greek Septuagint translation of the Bible, which precedes the birth of our Lord by several centuries.
      3. Jesus – Latin transliteration of Greek name Ἰησοῦς, originating in earliest Latin translations of New Testament (early centuries A.D.).
      4. Jesu – The Latin name enters English through Latin liturgy and the Vulgate Bible.
      5. Jesus – The nominative form of the Latin name is eventually, in the past couple centuries, adopted into English.

      Also, there is no evidence that early followers of the Lord were ever called “Messianics.” In the first mention of His followers as a proper group in the New Testament, they are called followers of “the Way” (cf. Acts 9:2). They were first called Christians (Χριστιανόι) at Antioch in the time of the Apostles (Acts 11:26). The Greek name Χριστιανός (Christianos) derives from the Greek word for “Messiah,” Χριστός (Christos), which like the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ‎ (māšîaḥ) or “Messiah,” means “the Anointed One.” There is no connection between the word Χριστός and anything to do with Mithras.

      The peace of the Lord be with you.

      • I got the information from from a website about IEUE that we can see from Archive the website was called IEUE.org and it has information about IEUE being mentioned by Flavius Josephus (not his birth name) from the 2009 website pages and there’s about 64 pages on one of the links about the Tetragrammaton IEUE and many others witnessed IEUE even one of the earliest Popes mentioned IEUE and one of the men from the first century put IEUE in Trinity symbols they have the images and from finding the creator’s name I found IEUE and IEUESHUO before I found IEUE.org and the original Tetragrammaton was IEUE but it was removed by scribes and replaced by YHWH and YHVH and YHUH

        and in Flavius Josephus writings he mentioned that Priests wore the sacred name on there headbands (crowns) and it is 4 Vowels not consonants and about the word Christian it was not in the scriptures until after the 4th century and it is connected to christus and Christos and some sources connect Christos to chrestos it’s been talked about that the Greeks called there gods Christos and some that use the Tetragrammaton they call themselves IEUEISM instead of Messianics and Christians and scriptures states that our creator said he has a name but it was removed by scribes

        And yes Yeshua was never the Messiah name because there was no Y in Ancient Hebrew the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet has 22 letters except the letters J V W and Y these letters were later invented the W was invented by the Anglo-Saxons in the 13th century and the J was invented by a Italian man in 1524 and wasn’t used in English language until after the 1640s and the V came in the 15th century and I’m not sure when the Y was invented but a few Pastors confirms that Ancient Hebrew had no Y

        Plus a few Christians mentioned IEUE and IEUESHUO in there books even in the 18th century Christian books mentions IEUE and IEUESHUO and also AEIE and AEIE is I AM

        Also the creator’s name cannot be God because the god word is not found in original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and the Jews admitted to removing the creator’s name and replacing it with Lord and God

        And the word Lord cannot be the creator’s name the word Lord is connected to the Roman sun god called Lares/Larth both meaning lord and the word Lord is connected to Baalzebbub because Baalzebbub means Lord of the flies and a book published by Thomas Nelson publishers about people names and places in the Bible the book also mentions that Baal means lord and master this is also mentioned in Strong’s Hebrew concordance and not just this the Jewish Bible from 1980s mentioned Baalzebbub meaning lord of the flies and lord of heaven and also mentions that Baal means lord master and owner in the dictionary of the words and lord is also connected to Lordo another god

        And if we study the Greek word Kurios/Kyrios it also means lord but some sources say it’s connected to the sun there’s about 24 words in English Bibles that are derived from Greek and Roman gods and goddesses

        Christian author Lonnie Martin glossary in his books explains about many of the words and the book called Wars of the Jews by Flavius Josephus is where Josephus mentioned that the creator’s name is 4 Vowels

        Also the real word for prayer is Amein and it is in the Greek Bible and it was never Amen and in Hebrew Amein is Omeine we say it as Aw-Maine and it was a saint in second century that inserted sin into the scriptures and sin was a moon god and the real word to use instead of sin is Hhatah in Hebrew

        • All right, this is a good bit to address at once. I will try to break it down.

          I got the information from from a website about IEUE that we can see from Archive the website was called IEUE.org …

          I have not even addressed the issue of transliterating the tetragrammaton in this post or in my blog. This post has solely to do with the textual and linguistic transmission of the name of our Lord, the Son.

          … and about the word Christian it was not in the scriptures until after the 4th century and it is connected to christus and Christos and some sources connect Christos to chrestos it’s been talked about that the Greeks called there gods Christos …

          This is incorrect. The book of Acts was written in the mid-first century A.D., and contains the word “Christian” (Χριστιανός), as indicated above (Acts 11:26, 26:28), and supported by its very earliest manuscripts — as does the book of 1 Peter (1 Peter 4:16). There is no evidence in any manuscripts of the word Χριστιανός being added to these texts later. The word “Christ” (Χριστός), from which Χριστιανός derives, is present in every extant manuscript of every book of the New Testament save 3 John.

          Further, the word “Christian” is used extensively in both Christian and secular literature, in both Greek and Latin, dating to the first and second centuries A.D. — for examples of Greek texts, see the Didache (first century), the epistles of Ignatius of Antioch (ca. A.D. 107), and the Martyrdom of Polycarp (mid-second century); for Latin texts, see Pliny the Younger’s correspondence with the Emperor Trajan (ca. A.D. 112) and the Passion of St. Perpetua (ca. A.D. 203, the earliest extant Christian Latin text). The term “Christian” was in wide use by the end of the first century A.D.

          References to “some sources” and “it’s been talked about” are not actually references to valid sources. If “some sources” make these claims, can you show which? Just because “some source” makes a claim does not make it true.

          And yes Yeshua was never the Messiah name because there was no Y in Ancient Hebrew the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet has 22 letters except the letters J V W and Y these letters were later invented the W was invented by the Anglo-Saxons in the 13th century and the J was invented by a Italian man in 1524 and wasn’t used in English language until after the 1640s and the V came in the 15th century and I’m not sure when the Y was invented but a few Pastors confirms that Ancient Hebrew had no Y

          You are mistaken. Ancient Hebrew does have a letter yod (י). It is the first letter in the name of our Lord, ישוע (yēšūʿa).

          Also the creator’s name cannot be God because the god word is not found in original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and the Jews admitted to removing the creator’s name and replacing it with Lord and God

          The word “God” is the generic word in English for a deity. Used as a proper noun, it is used to refer to the Christian God. This is in parallel to biblical usage: In the New Testament, the Greek word Θεός (Theos) is used to refer to God. Like “god,” θεός as a common noun refers in Greek to any deity. And this is not a Greek invention: Even in the Old Testament, the words “el” (אל) and “elohim” (אֱלֹהִים) are generic words used to refer to any deity; the very same words are used to refer to Canaanite deities such as Baal and Chemosh.

          The name of God, spoken by Himself — “I AM” — represented by the tetragrammaton — has not been removed from the Old Testament at all, but is still very much present in the text. Jews in time came to view this name as too holy to speak or even write, and so most occurrences of the tetragrammaton are rendered as “Lᴏʀᴅ” in modern editions of the Bible. This is a case of reverent rendering of the texts in translation, not of anyone “removing” or “replacing” God’s name. Again, this is not the matter of my article here.

          And the word Lord cannot be the creator’s name the word Lord is connected to the Roman sun god called Lares/Larth both meaning lord … And if we study the Greek word Kurios/Kyrios it also means lord but some sources say it’s connected to the sun …

          The word “lord” in English is a Germanic, Anglo-Saxon derivation. It is simply the word for the head of a household or “master” — akin to “mister.” It is translated similarly in other modern languages, for example, el Señor in the Spanish Bible; il Signore in the Italian Bible; le Seigneur in the French Bible; der Herr in the German Bible. This is reflective of the original biblical texts, where κύριος (kýrios) is simply the word for “lord” or “master”; likewise in Latin, where dominus means the same. None of these words has any connection to the sun or sun deities.

          The bottom line is that the Bible itself uses these words in referring to the divine: “Elohim” (אֱלֹהִים) and “Theos” (Θεός) — of which the English word “God” is a simple Germanic translation, having exactly the same meaning; “Kyrios” (Κύριος), of which the English word “Lord,” the Spanish word “Señor,” the German word “Herr,” etc., are simple translations, likewise having exactly the same meaning; “Christos” (Χριστός), a translation of the Hebrew “Messiah,” meaning “Anointed One”; “Jesus” (Ἰησοῦς), a transliteration of the Hebrew name ישוע. If you have a problem with the use of these words, do you also have a problem with the Bible? Do you believe the biblical texts are somehow corrupted? If you believe the biblical texts are corrupt, then with what authority can you speak about Christ or Christianity at all?

  7. I had gathered, from my reading, that (1) the West Syriac version of the name was Yeshu’ (the apostrophe here stands for the pharyngeal fricative ‘ain, a sound we do not have in English, German, Latin or Greek but they do have in Arabic, rather like the sound of one’s being throttled, and it occurs also in the Hebrew word), whereas (2) the East Syriac version of the name was Isho’. The Arabic-speaking Christians apparently refer to Jesus as Yesu’, whereas Isa’ is a form (descended from Isho’) in use in the Qur’an and among Muslims. [By the way, Latin from the mid-first century had articulated “ae” as short “e” and not as “ay” (as in “Maya”). And by the 5th century apparently palatalization had taken root in many parts of the Latin-speaking world, whence “chesar” in Italo-Roman Latin (and “ecclesiastical Latin”), “tsesar” in Gallo-Roman Latin, etc.] The eta in Greek IHCOYC came to be pronounced as “ee” of English “meet” by around the second century of the Christian era.

    • I just want to point out that in the Quran the form is not Isa’ but ‘Isa. That is, it has the letter (‘) at the beginning, rather than the end. This is different to all Christian renderings, which I find curious.

  8. I have a simple question; “If the correct name, as you have determined it, does not matter (Jesus or Yeshua) why then change it in the first place?” We know that at some point in time, the decision was made to completely change the name from its original to a name Jesus. The prevailing argument has been that it was a translation effort that was at the root of this event. But that argument falls apart when we consider that the same name remained for others who bore it. We know this because the same name for “Joshua, son of Num” remained intact, yet the name of Messiah was changed to “Jesus”. This does not strike me a honest scholarship! In a pursuit of truth, I have arrived at the above question and I’ve yet to receive an answer that satisfies my quest.

    After running across your passionate presentation against the challenge of traditional explanations about the issue, I thought I would present my question to you. I look forward to your reply.

    • Hi Lance, thanks for the comment. In answer to your question, it’s a matter of tradition. In fact, in past generations, Joshua Son of Nun was at times referred to in English as “Jesus Son of Nun” — as would be the tendency for scholars proceeding from reading Greek or Latin texts (“Josue” was also a common form). For example, here’s a search of Google Books for Jesus Son of Nun occurring in books published in the nineteenth century: [Link]. As I pointed out in the article, even the name “Joshua” is a less-than-fully-accurate transliteration of the Hebrew name Yəhōšūaʿ, coined in the first place by Bible translator William Tyndale. Because of the legacy of Tyndale in English Bible translations, especially the King James Version, that transliteration and pronunciation of the name Joshua has taken hold in English. But even Tyndale — making every effort to bring the original texts of the Bible to the English people — translated the Christ’s name as Jesus.

  9. This sounds very similar to what one of our daughter and husband are following…The Torah Way. It’s pretty extreme….cannot say the name Jesus, and everyone who attends church on Sunday is transgressing the law of the Sabbath.

  10. Absolutely amazing article. I have taken a different approach to the topic of Jesus’ name. I Believe it was pronounced YESU. The “S” being masculine for the Greek and possible Latin as well. I discovered this by working from old English reverse-engineering the word. And through prayer to God in Jesus Christ name. I was confused for a long time about this subject. But I have spent the last finding more and more evidence to support my findings. In your word list, you can add several languages, and I have spoken with friends in India and parts of Europe and Africa. YESU or YESUS or some variant appears to be a rendering used by many others as well. One name I use to demonstrate this process is JOHN which in Hebrew is Yohannine. In old English every letter would be pronounced. Understanding there was no J in old English and only the I, then we can produce John like this Y-O-HA-N. It sounds a lot more like Hebrew, doesn’t it, and also German. Also, according to strongs and several other sources, we can see YESUS means GOD US, which makes LUKE and Matthew (and his name shall be) make a lot more sense. Please feel free to email me I would love to chat about this topic in more detail. God bless you in YESUS mighty name.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. Yes, in most languages, including in early English, the initial consonant in the Lord’s name is pronounced “ya” (/j/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet). This is in keeping with both His name in Hebrew and his name in Greek. If you feel closer to Him pronouncing His name this way, then I’m glad. His peace be with you.

  11. If you believe the bible, it is very clear that; 1. there is one name that is above all other names. 2. There is only one name by which you can gain your salvation. 3. There is only one name that has power in the name. 4. There is only one name, that everyone will bow their knees to.
    5. There is only one name that everyone will confess that he is lord.

    God actually gave Christ his name. Therefore the name is very important and should not have ever been charged.

    The article you wrote says that because of tradition we should disregard the Lord’s real name, the fact that the bible itself says that we should place the highest of importance and to honor his name above all other names.

    The worst part about your article is that you never mentioned that for hundreds of years he was called by his true name, until a Pope changed the name.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. I believe the Bible and I hope you do too. And if you believe the Bible, you read that the name of the Lord is Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. That name is written in the Bible. It has never been changed. If you believe the Bible, that is the Lord’s “real name.”

  12. Thank you for all of your research. One thing that I do note is that the Bible expressly says that the name of Jesus was given to him by the angel Gabriel (Luke2:21).

    So while it is possible that the Angel called him Yeshua and that was translated, it is also perfectly possible that the angel gave him the name Iesous, since angels would not be limited by local culture or language. The above verse denies anyone the route of claiming to know what his name was based on historical traditions alone.

    • Thanks for the kind comment. You are right, nobody knows for sure what language the angel spoke. (Personally, I think it would have been Aramaic, the language Mary and Joseph most likely spoke on a daily basis.)

      There’s no disagreement that Jesus’s “original” name was the Hebrew ישוע or some derivative of it. The fact that even the Lord’s own Apostles translated that name into the Greek makes plain that the Name of the Lord does not lose its power when it is translated. People are totally welcome to call him Yeshua if they so desire, but they should not knock Christians who use His name in their own languages.

  13. Thank you, Lonely Pilgrim, for being so well researched and educated in your post and responses. I’m a younger Christian and have also recently stumbled into this Hebrew Roots stuff and that Jesus is not the correct name, etc. It’s been very confusing because I was saved by calling on the name of Jesus and I cannot understand how that could happen if that name is a falsity. Anyway, I learned much by reading the comments and your very intelligent responses to all of them. I too agree that when we start going down this road it begins to unravel Christianity and the Bible itself.

  14. Let’s be very clear, the assertion that the disciples and their associates wrote the scriptures is completely unfounded. While the identity of these writers has been widely accepted by Christian apologetic, of which I was participated willingly, as the apostles and their disciples, we know from historical scholarship that the identity of many of the authors of NT scripture (all four of the gospels, 6 of the Pauline epistles, Revelations, etc.) is unknown! The assertion of apostolic authorship of these writings has been called into serious doubt by many leading historical theologians. We also know Hellenism influenced the writing of scripture significantly; not to mention the influence from the government of Rome and England. As a result of this influence, it became convenient to give a recognizable identity to the Messiah. For us to deny the likelihood of an agenda to make the burgeoning religion more palatable to the broader Roman and English empires, would be an exercise in blissful ignorance. The identity was one that the people the religion was trying to attract could recognize.

    As a once faithful apologist of the Christianity, I am now persuaded there have been many actions taken on behalf of maintaining Christianity that have absolutely nothing to do with preserving truth, but it has everything to do with preserving Christianity.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. I’m so sorry to hear that you have lost your faith. Yes, of course, it’s accepted as a matter of historical scholarship that that the Gospels may not have been written by the hands of the Apostles to whom they are ascribed. It’s common shorthand to say that they “written by the Apostles” or by “Apostolic men,” followers of the Apostles or men in their camp — forgive me for glossing over nuances. Regardless of what hands actually wrote them, the faithful believe that these documents are the inspired Word of God. And the point of the article is that the transmission of the Gospel into other languages does not compromise either the name of the Lord or his message. If you believe otherwise, then again, I am very sorry.

  15. In the list of Jesus’s name in various languages you have put for Arabic the name يسوع. This is what Arabic Christians call Him. However, you have transliterated it as ‘iisaa, which is not correct as the correct translation is yasoo’. Your transliteration is for the name عيسى, which is the Muslim name for Jesus (Isa).

  16. Sorry, you’ve missed the truth. The original translation in Greek was Iēsous, the J was added much later. Amazingly, people try to convince themselves that calling our eternal King by a “new” version of His name is somehow ok. What’s next, should we change the S to a Z? Hey Jezus??? LOL. His name is Joshua, in Hebrew that is Yahushua. Not Yeshua. Not Yahoshua. The Father is YaHuWaH Elohim. Not god. When you want the truth, and are only willing to accept it with no lie for convenience sake, you will find it.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. The point is, Ἰησοῦς is a translation. God Himself, through the pen of inspired authors, translated the name of the Lord from His name in Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek. God translated His Own Holy Name into θεός, “God” in Greek, and κύριος, “the Lord.” If you accept the divine inspiration of Scripture, then you must accept that these translations are valid for the believer. If you reject Scripture, then why are we even talking?

    • Sure, if my name is Bob and you call me Robert, Roberto, or Ruprecht, I’ll recognize it. My name is Joseph, but I’ll answer to Joe, Joey, José, Giuseppe, Yusef, Josephus, Ιωσήφ, or any other number of variations.

      • With respect to the “Yeshua” v “Jesus” debate, I pose this question. It is a theologically accepted fact that Joshua is the english translated name for Yeshua. We see this in reference to “Joshua son of Nun”. Given this to be the case, it stands to reason that it should be consistent across each translation. Instead, what we see is the translators took one approach in reference to the Son of Nun and did something completely different in reference to our Lord. This begs the question, Why?, and, Which translation is correct?

        • Hi Lance, thanks for the comment. The answer is tradition; and by that I mean not “church tradition” but more “textual tradition” or simply “habit.” As I pointed out in the article, when the New Testament was written, the name of Joshua in Greek, in the Greek Septuagint text of the Old Testament, had been Ἰησοῦς for several centuries. That was, and is, the name on the table of contents of the Septuagint Bible for the Book of Joshua. According to the traditional transmission of the Hebrew name and Scriptures into Greek, by Greek-speaking Jews, Ἰησοῦς was the way to say Joshua. Now, for whatever reason, the authors of the New Testament wrote it in Greek. For the most part, apparently, they didn’t consider the Hebrew-language basis of Christianity to be all that important, not the way, for example, Arabic is to Islam — or they would have either written the texts in Hebrew, or filled them with Greek transliterations of Hebrew terms. As it’s written, they clearly considered Jesus’s words important, not because of their language, but because they were Jesus’s words — writing out some of his quotations in Aramaic, for example.

          The authors of the New Testament in Greek were being consistent in translating the Lord’s name, Yeshua or Yehoshua or Joshua or whatever it was his first followers called him, into Ἰησοῦς in Greek. And according to the conventions of translation, the translators of the Greek New Testament into Latin were being consistent in translating his name as Iesus. Even the early translators of the New Testament in English were being entirely consistent with linguistic conventions in changing the I in Iesus to a J. According to the received textual tradition of the New Testament, that is how the name of the Lord, Ἰησοῦς, came down to us. Now, the Old Testament has come down to us by an entirely different textual tradition. It was originally written in Hebrew, and though the Greek Septuagint translation has been influential, we eventually considered it important to translate the Scriptures into English from their original languages — the New Testament from the original Greek, and the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. But even here, tradition comes into play — habit, or simply familiarity. For most English readers, the name Joshua is the familiar name of the Old Testament figure, not Yehoshua or whatever more-accurate transliteration from Hebrew you prefer. And to that, we owe the tradition of the King James Bible much more than anything else. Probably the same can be said for Jesus.

          Which is “correct”? Well, they’re both correct. Or they’re both incorrect. Neither Joshua nor Jesus is all that accurate as a transliteration of their original languages, but they are both adequate, traditional, and consistent renderings of the names of the people they refer to, and they are both understandable to English readers and listeners.

          • Thanks for your response. There is a lot to unpack from your comments. First, let me say that the NT writing/translation dates back to Papyrus 52, approximately CE 100+. This is approximately 60+ years after the resurrection and 40+ years after the death of Apostle Paul. I point this out to emphasize that with respect to maintaining the accurate account about the people involved and events in question, accuracy was unavoidably violated along with missed, deleted, distorted, and embellished information. We know this to be the case from critical scholarship as we now know the influence of the oral tradition on the final work of the Canon. Thus, opening the door to critical evaluation and for some, downright skepticism.

            From the perspective of translation, I have critically examined the evolution of the Lord’s name from Yeshua to Jesus. While the popular explanation for this change centers around the invocation of Ἰησοῦς, my concern is that this was less about translating his name from Hebrew/Jewish and more about imposing the Greek name upon the events associated with the original name. I am persuaded there was more involved than simply translating his name from Aramaic to Latin to Greek. There were significant theo-political agendas at play that benefited from marginalizing the Hebrew/Jewish implications of his name. Altering it provided greater appeal to the Hellenistic society into which they were delivering this newly emerging religion. (I digress)

            Your comment about the NT being written in Greek and the OT in Hebrew is at the center of the concern for accuracy and integrity of the finished work of the Canon. While both works originated in different languages, they were both translated into the same language (English). The question that begs an answer is; Why aren’t they consistent about the name in the final translation into English? After all, they were talking about the same name! It is this inconsistency that gives rise to suspicion and skepticism.

          • I wrote this article as, and my perspective remains as, a faithful Christian who believes the Holy Scriptures are the inspired word of God. I’m also an academic and do my best to be academically honest, but I’m definitely not a skeptic. I believe the authors of the New Testament had the primary and paramount goal of preserving the story and words of Jesus and the Apostles for their own edification, tradition, and liturgical use, and for transmission to others. I don’t believe there was any ulterior, social or political motive in writing the New Testament in Greek. That was simply the lingua franca, the language most people in the wider world spoke. If it makes any kind of statement, it is only that the Apostles believed the message of Jesus was not for the Jewish people only, a statement that the New Testament itself supports.

            The earliest extant fragments of New Testament writing may be the early papyri, but there’s more to textual criticism than dating papyri. The earliest extant manuscript of Caesar’s Gallic Wars is dated to the 12th century A.D., but most philologists believe we still have more or less what Caesar wrote. It’s really quite remarkable to have extant manuscripts of 2,000-year-old texts that were written mere decades before the manuscripts in question. And there are no extant manuscripts with any significant deviance from the texts preserved in those earliest manuscripts, or signs of a major corruption or distortion of the original texts. So no, I wouldn’t agree that “accuracy was unavoidably violated along with missed, deleted, distorted and embellished information.” Not only were these texts influenced by oral tradition; most literature I’ve read presents that they are based in the oral tradition of the Christian community in these decades between the time of Christ and the time of their writing. The fact that it’s oral tradition doesn’t mean that’s inaccurate: if a tradition is important enough, then people will surely strive to hand it down accurately. Of course, again, I am speaking as a faithful Christian and not a skeptic.

            I don’t share your concern about the “imposition” of the Greek name upon the original name of our Lord. As I’ve shown, the name was not “imposed”; it had been the name of the Hebrew hero Joshua, translated into Greek by Jewish translators and accepted by Greek-speaking Jews, for centuries. No Greek-speaking Jew would have missed the Hebrew implications of the Lord’s being named Joshua, or felt that those implications were being marginalized. And most Jews in the diaspora (and probably many in Judea) would have spoken Greek, and be readers well-familiar with the Greek Septuagint.

            I will say it again, more succinctly: The translators of the Hebrew Old Testament into English translated the name יהושע as Joshua because that’s a fair and traditional transliteration of the Hebrew name. The translators of the Greek New Testament into English translated the name Ἰησοῦς as Jesus because that’s a fair and traditional transliteration of the Greek name. They don’t translate Ἰησοῦς as Joshua because that’s not how it’s written in the original language, and to do so would be interpolating something on the text that isn’t there. At least, that’s the general philosophy of most formal-equivalence Bible translators. There are, of course, other translation approaches and philosophies. If you prefer a Bible that translates Ἰησοῦς as Yeshua, here’s one, and there are plenty of others. People have all sorts of motives in their biblical translation choices, but most of them are to make the text readable and appealing to a certain audience. There’s nothing hidden or mysterious about the biblical text. Both the Hebrew and Greek original texts are quite accessible to almost anybody in this day of the Internet.

  17. Interesting explanation though.

    But it is important to make a bold note from your article.
    We all knew that the book of Mathew wrote in Hebrew.
    There is no reason for Christian today to rejected those who use Jeshua or Jehusha as the name of our savior.

  18. As a note to your consonant shift idea I did some research and you are wrong on that as well. Bassically since in the beginning alphabets contained only consonants it became confusing. So two solutions were found: 1. To use points to indicate which vowel comes after or before the consonant. We can see this still in arabic. 2. To reuse some consonants like vowels. Meaning that depending on The context a letter could be read as the consonant or a vowal. In german J ca-n also be read as an I. The roman also used the same letter for the two. This is how J was invented afterall. So in old english they would write Jesus but read Iesus write John but read Ioan. But when protestants found the writting much later they did not know this and made a mistake. Also in the Biblie names are extremele important. Having the right to name or rename something meant you had authority over it. That is where the idea that finding a magica creature s true name gave you authority over it came from. There is a verse https://biblehub.com/philippians/2-10.htm that makes the J versus I issue extremele important.

  19. I am new to this page and am on my Christian journey towards Truth and just reading what you all have to say as I’ve been hearing about the name of the Messiah issue recently. Anyways, I don’t know much but I just had this entire chapter on my heart as it is really a meaty chapter and full of perfect wisdom. But God put on my heart to quote and hopefully I did well too please Him in Spirit and through Christ love to do this will.

    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?


    6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
    7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
    8for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.


    13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.


    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  20. While the nature of your discourse is academic, I would like to share how this issue had pan out in real life.

    I just confronted a sister who insisted that Jesus is not the real name of God’s begotten son. When pressed further when a person who prayed for Salvation in Jesus Name, is he or she saved? She was silent, evasive and refused to reply with a definitive Yes or No.

    This is very disturbing. As far as I know, since my childhood in sunday school, evangelistic rallies, street witnessing and missionaries trips, many people prayed their sinners prayer in Jesus Name. Then are they saved?

    Missionaries have cast demons and conducted deliverances in Jesus Name, are they delivered?

    In Malaysia, there are people quietly moving in the mainstream churches telling believers that calling and praying in Jesus Name is wrong.

    In an already fragmented Christendom, Jesus vs Yashuah is driving further division down to its roots and foundation.

    It saddens me that many including novices who are not history trained nor informed flipping the very foundation they were taught.

    It doesn’t end there. I know of people questioning the integrity and authenticity of the bible because of the missing 22 books from our present 66. Yes this is nothing new but with the internet, social media, and ease of content creation, innumerable videos are unloaded everyday adding to its confusion.

    We are coming to a point where nobody believes anybody which is probably a sign of the times.

  21. I have spent much of the last 23 years ministering in the profoundly Deaf community to those who use sign language. Some speak with words but many can’t.
    The have signs for God and Jesus and when they pray they say no words but sign to him and I have confidence that God “hears” (sees?) them and speaks to them and reveals himself to them in their own language.
    Some have wobbled in their faith fearing that God.
    On the day of Pentecost God broke the bonds of language and everyone heard the apostles declaring the wonderful works of God “in their own language” . And inspired by the Holy Spirt the apostles and the evangelist wrote in Greek and used Jesus “Greek” name.
    Jewish people at the time of Jesus living in Judea/Palestine and further afield often had more than one name. Paul if referred to in Luke’s history as “Paul who was also called Saul” He was know among the Hebrews as Saul (a Hebrew name) and the the Greeks /Romans as Paul.)
    Jesus would have been known at home by his Galilean, Aramaic-speaking family probably as something like “Yesu” though we can’t be entirely sure. (their were no sound recorders in those days.

    The Hebrew Bible gives us few clues what the language Abraham, or indeed Moses and Joshua might have spoken except they converse freely with the people in the land of Canaan so it seems to be closely related to the early Cannanite language as indeed Hebrew as we know it is. The best guess it is it began to differentiate and form something like what we know as Biblical Hebrew 2,000 years ago. But, as any reader of Biblical Hebrew knows, the meaning of words and their vocabulary pronunciation, grammar and syntax evolved over that time

    It is believed that Mark in writing his gospel (in Greek) spoke with Peter (or Simon or Cephas whatever you like to call him) and used him as a source so likely transliterated the name Jesus the way Peter spoke it. Paul who wrote the earliest of his letters even before Mark also used the same transliteration to Greek. So we can be sure its pretty close to the way the 12 disciples spoke Jesus name.

    The problems with working solely from the Hebrew form Yeshua or Yehoshua is
    1) Jesus May and Joseph did not speak Hebrew at home – they spoke Aramaic.
    2) Their Galilean dialects of Hebrew and Aramaic were different from those used by the Rabbis in Jerusalem.
    3) The vowel signs were only added to the Hebrew text by the massoretes from around 600 years after Christ (for some texts as late as 1000 years later) so they reflect pronounciation among rabbinic Jews in the middle ages not biblical times – the Greek translation of the the Old Testament known as the Septuagint was done by Jewish scholars but dates from around 300 years Before Christ so is psossibly more likely to reflect older pronounciation of what we write as Joshua – and they transliterated it as Ἰησοῦς ie Yay zoos.
    4) IN Hebrew the consonant shin was used for both s and sh – the marks above in Modern Hebrew texts to indicate which it was to be pronounced as were not introduced until the middle ages – were not introduced until well after the time of Christ . We usually go with the massoretic pronouncition as it is usually the best we have got but it is a fool who things it accurately reflects how people spoke a thousand or more years earlier!

    I am fortunate in that I can read the scriptures in Hebrew , Greek and Latin and a few other languages – but my own guesses about ancient pronunciation are rightly tentative – but the name of the Messiah/Christ was most probably not pronounced Yeshua or Yehoshua at home by Mary Joseph and his neighbours in Nazareth, or his disciples when they cast out demons and healed in his name.

    I could wite more on the side tracks of this debate on on the name of God, Elohim , Yahweh, LORD , El-Shaddai etc and their differences and relationships to the words used by the peoples around them. – but I have written long enough for this post

    • Hi, thanks so much for the insightful comment. I hadn’t even thought about the hearing or speech impaired, but sign language and other means of communication are certainly valid ways to confess Christ too. Confession is about so much more than what particular word or language one uses.

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