How did Jesus get his English name


dr. Eugen Schochenmaier

Mondonomo, Chief Scientist

Sept. 26, 2022, 8:09 p.m.


Regardless of religious belief, the name “Jesus” is nearly universally recognizable. Some people claim that God’s son should not be referred to as “Jesus.” Instead, we should only use the name “Yeshua.” Some even go so far as to say that calling Him “Jesus” is blasphemous. Others go into great details about how the name “Jesus” is unbiblical because the letter J is a modern invention and there was no letter J in Greek or Hebrew.

The short answer to our question is because the New Testament was originally written in Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic. The Greek for the Hebrew Name of Jesus (Yeshua) is Ἰησοῦς, or Yay-soos. Sometimes a name's sounds are not matched in the receiving language. The Hebrew name of Yeshua is translated into Joshua in the Old Testament, while the same name in Greek Yay-soos is translated Jesus in the New Testament. That is simply the nature of language. Here's how things technically got from Yeshua (Hebrew) to Jesus (English).

  1. Greeks changed it to Yeshu (drop the final "a")
  2. Greeks did not use the sound sh, so the evangelists substituted an S sound.
  3. Romans changed it to Iesu (Y->I) and
  4. A final "s" was added to make it a masculine name
  5. Over time, as the J came into common use, this changed to Jesu/Jesus (pronounced yay-soos).
  6. The letter J in English warped and gained its modern pronunciation.

Interestingly enough, the hymn "O come all ye faithful" has the line "Jesu to thee be all glory giv'n". In England (and in fussy choirs here), this is pronounced with the French "J" (as in Jean) as the first consonant.

Was Jesus a common name at the beginning of the first century?

Many people shared the name. Christ’s given name was quite common in first-century Galilee. Archaeologists have unearthed the tombs of 71 Yeshuas from the period of Jesus’ death. The name also appears 30 times in the Old Testament in reference to four separate characters—including a descendent of Aaron who helped to distribute offerings of grain (2 Chronicles 31:15) and a man who accompanied former captives of Nebuchadnezzar back to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:2). The long version of the name, Yehoshua, appears another few hundred times, referring most notably to the legendary conqueror of Jericho (and the second most famous bearer of the name).

So, everything is OK, you pronounce it correctly!!!