Jesus Essay

920 WordsJan 22, 20124 Pages
am continually amazed by how many people write to our ministry and ask us questions like this one, which came in last week: “Some Christians say we have to use the Hebrew name, Yashua. They say calling on the name of Jesus is calling on Zeus. That Jesus is a disguise name for Satan. What answers do you have for this? Where can we prove the name of Jesus is correct to use in its English translation and pronunciation?” As bizarre as these questions are, the fact that they keep coming up means that they need to be addressed, so here are some simple responses (for more details, see What Do Jewish People Think About Jesus, question #38). The original Hebrew-Aramaic name of Jesus is yeshu‘a, which is short for yehōshu‘a (Joshua), just as Mike is short for Michael. The name yeshu‘a occurs 27 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, primarily referring to the high priest after the Babylonian exile, called both yehōshu‘a (see, e.g., Zechariah 3:3) and, more frequently, yeshu‘a (see, e.g., Ezra 3:2). So, Yeshua’s name was not unusual; in fact, as many as five different men had that name in the Old Testament. And this is how that name came to be “Jesus” in English: Simply stated, this is the etymological history of the name Jesus: Hebrew/Aramaic yeshu‘a became Greek Iēsous, then Latin Iesus, passing into German and then, ultimately, into English, as Jesus. Why then do some people refer to Jesus as Yahshua? There is absolutely no support for this pronunciation—none at all—and I say this as someone holding a Ph.D. in Semitic languages. My educated guess is that some zealous but linguistically ignorant people thought that Yahweh’s name must have been a more overt part of our Savior’s name, hence YAHshua rather than Yeshua—but again, there is no support of any kind for this theory. The Hebrew Bible has yeshu‘a; when the Septuagint authors rendered this name in Greek, they rendered it

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