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Old 02-18-2001, 07:09 PM   #1
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Question What was Jesus' name?

In another thread, three different names were proposed as the original Hebrew/Aramaic name of Jesus: Esau, Joseph, and Joshua.

Which one would have been Jesus' real name? What name underlies the greek "IHSOYS" of the ancient manuscripts?

As with any historical issue, one can't claim complete certainty. However, I believe that I can show which of these three names would most likely have been the original.

Let me begin by saying that I am *not* an "expert" in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, or Greek, but I have spent a few years studying each of these languages in my spare time.

AD REM...


"ESAU":

Let's begin with the name "Esau". "Esau" was mentioned by Baalthazaq as the real name of Jesus. I have seen other posts by Baalthazaq, and I believe he is a Muslim or is at least familiar with Islam, the Quran, and Arabic (please correct me if I'm wrong). His familiarity with Islam probably led to his proposal of "Esau" as the original name of Jesus. The Quran mentions Jesus no less than 20 times as "Esau" (or Isa in my translation - The Qur'an, trans. by M.H.Shakir, 7th U.S. ed., 1995). The transliteration of this name, "Esau", would be: ":ysy" or ":ayn/kasra/ya/sin/'dagger alif'/ya".

Consulting my Arabic dictionary, I could not find any Arabic root word underlying the name "Esau" (The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Ed. by J. Milton Cowan, 3rd ed., 1976, p. 661 `isa - Jesus). Therefore, I propose that the name "Esau" probably had no meaning in Arabic and was borrowed (and possibly corrupted) from Hebrew or Greek.

The obvious first step is to try to find a Hebrew equivalent. The name "Esau" is in the Bible, so we'll look at that. The Hebrew for "Esau" would be transliterated: ":sw" or ":ayn/tsere/sin/qamets/waw".

Well, the Hebrew and the Arabic words both begin with the gutteral ":ayn" and have the middle letter "sin". The last letters are somewhat different, but since both words end in with a long "a" vowel, I can see how they might be the same name.

So, after seemingly finding a match, could "Esau" be the name underlying the greek "IHSOYS"?

Looking at Genesis 25:25 of the LXX (or Septuagint), we find "Esau" in greek as: "HSAY". This does not match the "IHSOYS". Therefore, I believe "Esau" is *not* the original name of Jesus.


"JOSEPH":

Bill proposed the name "Joseph" as the original name of Jesus. I'm not sure what his sources are for this (would you mind naming them? Thanks.).

Anyway, the transliteration of the Hebrew name "Joseph" would be: "ywsph" or "yod/holem/waw/samekh/pe". It is derived from the root word "yasaph" meaning "to add".

Again, turning to the LXX, we find "Joseph" in Genesis 30:24 in greek as "IWSHPH" (iota/omega/sigma/eta/phi).

Let's try Josephus' spelling of the name of this same "Joseph" (Ant. 2.2.1):
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0145&layou t=&loc=2.2

Josephus spells it: "IWSHPOS" (<- I think this matches my transliteration style though it is different from that in the above link.).

Although I can't find a Greek version of Philo at the moment, I imagine you would find one of two greek versions of "Joseph" mentioned above.

So, the Hebrew name "Joseph" contains a "holem" vowel and ends with the letter "pe", and both the LXX and Josephus follow this with "IWSHPH" and "IWSHPOS", respectively. In addition, the Qur'an has the name "Joseph" with a long 'o' vowel and a final "fa" similar to the Hebrew. Since neither of the greek forms match "IHSOYS", and all of the forms contain a long 'o' vowel and end with a 'p' or 'ph', I must conclude that "Joseph" must not have been Jesus' original name.


"JOSHUA":

The transliteration of the Hebrew name "Joshua" would be: "yshw'" or "yod/tsere/shin/shureq/waw/:ayn". Galileans were notorious for dropping the final gutteral ":ayn" (A Marginal Jew, John P. Meyer, 1991). Therefore, the name would have sounded like "Yeshu", *very* similar to the greek "Yesus" (IHSOYS <- the final Sigma is a case ending in greek).

In addition to this similarity, we look one last time to the LXX where we find the name "Joshua, the son of Nun" in Joshua 2:1 amazingly spelled "IHSOYS"!

Looking to Josephus' work (Ant. 3.14.4.):
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0145&lay out=&loc=3.308

Once again, we find "Joshua" as "IHSOYS" in greek form!

Therefore, I conclude that the original name of Jesus must have been a Hebrew form of the name we know as "Joshua".

Any other input?

Respectfully,
Ish

(p.s. - is it possible to use Hebrew/Greek fonts? This transliteration thing is a bit cumbersome)

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited February 18, 2001).]
 
Old 02-19-2001, 06:17 AM   #2
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Ish:

I responded over in the other forum by stating that my source for the "Joseph" theory was Robert Eisenman in his book James the Brother of Jesus. I don't have my copy handy or I'd try to summarize his argument. I'll see if I can hunt it down, but I'm afraid most of my books are still in boxes.

== Bill
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Old 02-19-2001, 07:11 AM   #3
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Bill, oh, I saw your reference to Eisenman, I just didn't realize that it was the source for "Joseph". I've heard many of his arguments summarized, but I haven't read his book yet. I may just have to go buy it now.

I'm really interested in how he arrives at "Joseph" for the name of Jesus because I think this goes against solid evidence and the backing of many (if not most) scholars. Perhaps it has something to do with his findings in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Thanks,
Ish

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited February 19, 2001).]
 
Old 02-19-2001, 09:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
What was Jesus' name?</font>
Fat bloke in the pub told me it was Percy Jesus Eric Nazarine. He's usually pretty reliable.

Boro Nut

 
Old 02-20-2001, 11:56 AM   #5
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Would Jesus' name more likely have been Esau, Joseph, Joshua, Percy Jesus Eric Nazarine, or something else?

Anyone, anyone?

Ish
 
Old 02-20-2001, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
Would Jesus' name more likely have been Esau, Joseph, Joshua, Percy Jesus Eric Nazarine, or something else?

Anyone, anyone?

Ish
</font>

in my studies, I always saw it as Yeshua, from which Joshua is derived from. I kinda like that name. At least it isn't a euphemism for the male genitalia like Percy is.

-Spider

 
Old 02-24-2001, 07:33 AM   #7
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Hmm, well you seem to be handling it quite well without me.

I would only have to say that the way a name matches when translated does not concur with the same name AGAIN translated.

For example my name:
Omar.
PMU's spelling:
Umar.
My cousin's spelling.
Umr.
Others:
'mr, 'mar, Omer, 'mer, Umer.

Then you even have Easa when translated into English:

Easa, Isa, Esa, Esau, 'sa, 'ysa, Eysa, Eisa, 'eisa, 'easa, Iaisa, and so on.

Unfortunately when translating a name, there is no set way of spelling it sometimes. All the above are "correct". This becomes especially difficult when dealing with the letter "'ain", which has to the best of my knowledge, no Greek nor English equivilent.

Perhaps the cause of the confusion in the first place? That was actually one of the things which made me think it was Easa. If the name was impossible to be spelled "properly" in the language, it would vary.
 
Old 02-24-2001, 10:10 AM   #8
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Great point Baalthazaq. Thanks.

Believe it or not, I took this translation problem into account, though I didn't state it. It's rather complicated to go into.

From looking at translations of names in various contemporary works of the time, one can establish the general pattern of vowel/consonant translation. Therefore, understanding this general pattern, you can have a pretty high degree of certainty as to how the name would have been spelled.

Thanks again for your input, Baalthazaq! I'm glad to know my Arabic is not *too* rusty.

Ish

 
Old 02-25-2001, 11:26 AM   #9
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Some great posts, and a very funny comment about Jesus AKA Percy. As I mentioned in another thread, there has been a debate between Muslims and the kuffar over Jesus' real name. Links to the Muslim claims (i.e. the historical accuracy of Eesa in the Qur'an), and responses to those claims can be ound at http://geocities.com/freethoughtmecca/eesho.html

Aramaic and Hebrew sources seem to place a tremendous amount of weight on Eesho/Y'shua which is spelled yod-shin-vov-ayin (or the corresponding letters in Aramaic: yodh-sheen-waw-aih). If this name is correct, then his name was essentially a variation of Joshua.

While Christians claim to have found a first century marker mentioning Jesus in Hebrew (the image appears on a lot of Jews for Jesus publications), it is just a vague name, Y'shua, inscribed on a stone... nothing else connects it to Jesus. The earliest sources on Jesus are all Greek sources. As for the name Iesous, knowing how the Greeks used to transliterate Hebrew names (Yehudah became Iudas), Iesous would have to be the Greek transliteration of the name Yeshu. This name is a derrogatory name given to Jesus by Jews, as it is spelled yod-shin-vav, and is an acronym for the phrase yemach shemo V'zikro, or "may his name and memory be obliterated."
 
Old 02-25-2001, 01:37 PM   #10
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Denis, thanks for your very enlightening post.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Denis Giron:
The earliest sources on Jesus are all Greek sources. As for the name Iesous, knowing how the Greeks used to transliterate Hebrew names (Yehudah became Iudas), Iesous would have to be the Greek transliteration of the name Yeshu.</font>
Thanks, this shows a little better how I arrived at Yeshu from IHSOYS above.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Denis Giron:
This name [Yeshu] is a derrogatory name given to Jesus by Jews, as it is spelled yod-shin-vav, and is an acronym for the phrase yemach shemo V'zikro, or "may his name and memory be obliterated."</font>
Very interesting! Could you provide your source for this phrase? Is it found in either talmud? Are you absolutely sure that this phrase was not a later polemical reaction to Jesus made to fit the shortened form of his name? One of my sources, quoted above, states that "Yeshu" would have been close to the Galilean pronunciation of "Yeshua" since they seemed to be notorious for dropping the final "ayin".

I'm interested to hear more. By the way, are you Jewish? I'm curious because of your name and your obvious knowledge of the language.

Thanks,
Ish
 
 

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