In spite of a preponderance of fictitious drivel advanced by the sacred name movement, the name Jesus has a very distinct and traceably history. The fact that many sacred name people cannot seem to find out the root of the name of Jesus, in no way diminishes the truth about the name. We do not need to rely upon guess work and supposition to find out about his name.
NOT ALL SACRED NAME PEOPLE BELIEVE THE JESUS = ZEUS LIE
Some of the sacred name people have done research with an open mind and are convinced they should no longer promote the Jesus = Zeus falsehood. One former sacred name believer who is not a christian and still has a great deal of love for the people in the movement comments to me this way on the Jesus = Zeus myth: “As you probably know, this doctrine is simply not true.” He encourages sacred name movement publishers to remove this false teaching from their literature.
Another sacred name teacher who is well known among the sacred name internet community, says he has come to believe that Jesus is not derived from Zeus. He now thinks that IhsouV, Jesus, is a very poor attempt to transliterate the name Yahshua into Greek.
These men and others within the movement have come to realize that promoting this lie simply makes them, the movement itself, and other teachings of the movement suspect. It shows that they have not done and perhaps do not know how to do quality research. The more astute and better informed sacred name people have stopped or are in the process of stopping the propagation of this lie. All sacred name movement people and assemblies should take a page from their book.
WHERE DID THE NAME JESUS COME FROM?
A little research will inform us as to the derivation of the name of Jesus. Dictionaries will help those with a willingness to learn. These kinds of books are at hand for most people. There is no excuse. There is absolutely no excuse for the continued propagation of this lie.
We can research the Old Testament, apocryphal writings, the New Testament, and secular writings from the period of time relevant to our study.
Dictionary entry for Jesus: “ME. [a. L. Iesus, a. Gr. 'IhsouV, ad. late Heb. or Aramaic Jeshua, for earlier Jehoshua or Joshua (explained as ‘Jah (or Jahveh) is salvation’), a frequent Jewish personal name.”
William Little, et al., eds. , The Oxford Universal Dictionary on Historical Principals, (London: Oxford University Press, 1955).
Here, the English Jesus can be seen to have derived from the Latin, Iesus. Iesus then, is from the Greek IhsouV, which is in turn from the late Hebrew or Aramaic Jeshua. Jeshua was derived from the earlier Hebrew Jehoshua - our English Joshua.
THE BIBLE DICTIONARY
From The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, entry Jesus:
“(je’zus) [Lat. From Gr. Iesous, which is for Heb. Jeshua, a late form of Jehoshua or Joshua...]”
John D. Davis, The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1944).
The average sacred name teacher can quote nine kinds of research attempting to prove his doctrine. Why can they not simply read the dictionary about the derivation of the name of Jesus. It is not derived from the word Zeus.
THE SPELLING CHANGED OVER THE YEARS
In view of the fact that The New Testament was not written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, no ancient New Testament manuscripts in these languages exist. Sacred name teachers are therefore compelled to go to the Old Testament in an attempt to recover a Hebrew name which our Savior might have been called. They go, of course, to the name of Joshua.
Disregarding the approximately four hundred year gap between the writing of the last book of the O.T. and the birth of the Messiah these teachers expect us to believe that the Hebrew spelling and pronunciation of the name of Joshua remained static during these years. None care to address the three spellings and pronunciations for Joshua’s name
during the time of the O.T.
There are three different spellings for the name Joshua in the Old Testament. Yeshua in both early Aramaic and modern Hebrew is hwhy. The spellings for this name evolved, along with the Hebrew language, over a period of about one thousand years, the time of the writing of the Old Testament.
The variations in spelling the name of Joshua have come down to us in square Hebrew letters. The square Hebrew letters are in truth the Aramaic alphabet. This is much like the English alphabet which is simply the Roman alphabet with slight variations. The Jews forsook their own alphabet and began to use the Aramaic after the Babylonian captivity.
The spellings are written hyiwvhy, iwhy, and ivwvhy. Scriptural references for these three biblical ways for spelling and pronouncing the name of Joshua the son of Nun are:
* Nehemiah 8:17 iwhy
* Numbers 13: 16 cx c wh y u c w h y
* Judges 2: 7 ivwvhy
It would be a good idea, for anyone sufficiently interested, to check the Hebrew text of the O.T. for these references. It is not commonly acknowledged among sacred name movement folks that there are three spellings for Joshua's name. The reason for this is that for the Messiah's name, many of them arbitrarily pick one spelling and pronunciation at the exclusion of the other two.
THE TRANSLITERATION OF THE NAME JOSHUA IN THE SEPTUAGINT
Perhaps, the first recorded use of the Greek name Jesus, IhsouV, among the Jewish people is a transliteration for the Hebrew name iwvhy - Joshua - is in the Septuagint. The Septuagint is sometimes referred to as the LXX. This translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek began about 270 B. C. E. and continued for some years afterward. When the Hebrew name is in the text, without fail, it is transliterated into Greek as IhsouV, Jesus.
The question sacred name teachers, who propagate this Jesus=Zeus lie, need to address is how and why Jewish scholars would have chosen a word which means son of Zeus to put for the name of the great hero of their past.
These Rabbis did not make the name of that great Israelite hero into the Son of Zeus, Healing Zeus, and certainly not Ie-Zeus. This seems obvious to everyone except the sacred name people who still propagate this lie. Many of them have given it up. More will do so.
THE NAME JESUS IN THE APOCRYPHA
The apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, also called The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, was likely written early in the third century B. C. E. Originally written in Hebrew by one Joshua son of Sirach, it was translated into Greek about 132 B.C.E.
Read this short passage from the introduction written by Joshua’s grandson who translated the work into Greek.
“Anyone who values learning should be able to help others by what he himself says and writes. That is why my grandfather Jesus devoted himself to reading the Law, the Prophets, and the other books of our ancestors.”
The grandfather's name is iwvhy, Joshua. His grandson translated the book into Greek, the language which many of the Jews learned from childhood. At the same time, he transliterated the name of his grandfather into Greek as IhsouV, Jesus. It should be understood that at this time in history, not all Jews spoke Hebrew. Perhaps it would be well to read from Acts 2:5-11.
Acts 2:5. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileeans? 8. And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9. Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia , and in Judaea , and Cappadocia , in Pontus , and Asia , 10. Phrygia , and Pamphylia, in Egypt , and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene , and strangers of Rome , Jews and proselytes, 11. Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
As today, so also in that day, not all Jews speak Hebrew. As a matter of fact most Jews do no t speak Hebrew. Hebrew was not the tongue of the Jews of the Diaspora. Hebrew was not the language of the Jews of Judea. It had ceased to be so many years before Joshua, son of Sirach, wrote his book of wisdom. Therefore, his grandson saw the need to translate his work into Greek. The Hebrew Old Testament had already been translated into Greek for the same reason.
Sacred name folks who still cling to the Jesus = Zeus doctrine, expect us to believe that the translator chose a Greek word meaning Son of Zeus and used it for his grandfather's name.
That anyone should believe such nonsense, is absurd and simply not the case. He actually transliterated the Hebrew name quite well. It has been used for centuries since. [NOTE: To translate means to bring, as nearly as possibly, the meaning of a word from one language to another. An example is the Greek word ballw, ballo. The English translation of this word is THROW.
To transliterate means to bring, as nearly as possibly, the sound of a word from one language to another. For instance, the English word BAPTIZE is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizw, baptizo. (The translation would be immerse.) So that in the new language the word sounds the same or nearly the same.]
An interesting observation is that while sacred name people are quick to inform us that they do not believe in an inspired translation of the Bible, they certainly do believe in inspired transliterations of the sacred names. These, of course, are always their own transliterations and ones sanctioned by them.
THE NAME OF JESUS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Our Savior's name was given from heaven some four to eight years B.C.E. It seems obvious that he was given the same name as was born by the great leader of Israel , Joshua he son of Nun. We do not know and cannot know how his name was written or spoken in Hebrew. The name may never have been written in Hebrew at all, but in Aramaic.
However, even if his name were written in Hebrew or Aramaic, we have no record of it. sacred name teachers tell us that his name had to have been spoken in Hebrew. More likely it was Aramaic. Whether one or the other, there is still no record of it.
We do have the historical record. It is the New Testament. In every case where the writers of this book transliterated the Messiah's name into Greek they chose IhsouV, Jesus, as the correct transliteration.
When Jesus was born into the mixed Hebrew, Greek, and Roman culture of Judea and Galilee , it was already known how his name should be transliterated into Greek. That had been settled about three hundred years before. That Jesus lived in a mixed culture is shown, among other things, by the sign above him at his death. It was in three languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Bear in mind that Galilee , because of Gentile (Greek) dominance, is called in Scripture, Galilee of the Gentiles. The area had been under Greek domination since Alexander the Great, centuries before Jesus was born.
The transliteration of iwvhy (or whatever spelling of the Messiah's name may have been used at that time), made by the apostles and apostolic men when they wrote the New Testament, is IhsouV, Jesus. No Healing Zeus. No son of Zeus. No Ie-Zeus. Just Jesus.
Here is a question for all of us. Will we trust the transliteration done by sacred name teachers or will we trust the transliteration done by the men who wrote the New Testament? I believe I will hold to the New Testament book and its writers. One is able to see that on this point as well as numerous others, sacred name teachers are left in a position of shame.
THE NAME JESUS IN SECULAR DOCUMENTS
The transliteration of the Hebrew and Aramaic name of Joshua the son of Nun into Greek as IhsouVduring the time both before and after the Savior lived is attested to by manuscript evidence. These are available for study at any major university library. In these also we can find no Zeus connection in the name of Jesus.
Might I suggest one manuscript for consideration. It is 5/6 Hever Babatha Archive, Greek Document 2 (5/6 HevBA 2).
A copy of the manuscript on film, with all its tears, damage, and other imperfections, can be found in The E. L Sukenik Memorial Volume (1889 - 1953), editors N. Avigad, et. al., Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem , 1976.
A non manuscript copy set in modern type (it is easier to read) can be seen in the book, Eretz-Israel, Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies, Volume Eight, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Shrine of The Book, et. al., pg. 50. This copy has both the Aramaic and Greek texts.
Another copy in modern type is on page 162 of A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic Texts, (Second Century B. C. --- Second Century A. D.), ed. Joseph A Fitzmyer, S.J., et. al., Biblical Institute Press, Rome , 1978. This copy has only the Aramaic section, lines 11, 12, and 13. It has a nice English translation on the facing page.
This interesting if somewhat unusual manuscript was found at Nahel Hever. It certainly is poignant to our discussion of the transliteration of our Saviors name into Greek in the first and second centuries of the common era.
The document bears the date August 19, A. D. 132. It is a receipt given by Babatha to the Jewish guardian of her son for payment of six denarii for food and clothing for her son, Jesus. It is written in both Aramaic and Greek.
On line 12, in the Aramaic portion, twice repeated is the boy's name, iwhy. This is the shortened form of the name commonly used during this period. On line 16 of the Greek portion, is the transliteration, IhsouV. In secular documents, the name Jesus is the transliteration for the name Joshua.
The entomological information regarding the name JESUS is well documented. And the documentation is readily available. There is no excuse for sacred name movement people to wallow in the error they are in. There is no excuse for sacred name teachers to continue in this fraud.