What is the origin of Jesus' Name? Is it derived from the Greek god, "Zeus"?

Here's some context for my question. At my church this Sunday a woman told me that the name "Jesus " was derived from the Greek god "Zeus" when it was translated over time by Greek scholars.

Is there any truth in this? Please feel free to give me the name his disciples would call him, and other names he has been called in the scriptures too.

  • 3
    Also closely related to: Is Jesus the real name of Jesus or is it some kind of translation? Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 10:00
  • I wanted to know the origin of the name and if it was changed by greek translators to be some form of the name Zeus.And someone on here edited my title to reflect that, but the other two questions deal with what religions use his different names, not if he had a name change over time that was merged with Zeus, a greek god. The second question is close, but does not touch on the connection in my question to Zeus.
    – CJMW
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:55
  • Iesu>Iesus>Iesous>Jesus. Not derived from Zeus. You may find this helpful Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 14:52
  • @CJMW A.) This is not a duplicate - and the author's intent is clearly etymological in nature: B.) This question is clearly about resolving the Greek origin of the name of the Jesus, and where it came from. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


1. Question Restatement :

  • Is there textual / literary evidence that "Jesus" is a name derived from "Zeus"?

  • What is the Etymology of the Name, "Jesus"?

2. Answer - The Names Jesus and Zeus are not Related Etymologically :

The Greek Septuagint Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament is the clearest evidence that the name "Jesus" is absolutely a transliteration of the Hebrew name: "Joshua", from Hebrew Scripture.

3. The Name - "Zeus", in Greek :

Ζεύς | Zeus, Logeion Lexicon - is represented in Greek in many ways, but: "Ζεύς" is the most recognized, (but also written as "Διός | Dios"; and also as "θεός | Theos". "Theos" is the same word used for "God", (the Father), in Scripture.

The spelling and morphology of the name: "Zeus" - is very different than: "Jesus".

Autenrieth-Homer, Morphology of Zeus, (From Logeion) - Ζεύς (Διεύς, root διϝ), gen. Διός, dat. Διί, acc. Δία, voc. Ζεῦ, also gen. Ζηνός, dat. Ζηνί, acc. Ζῆν(α): Zeus (Diespiter, Juppiter; cf. Ζεῦ πάτερ, ... etc.

Aeschin. 1:28 - Such a man, then, he forbids to speak. And right he is, by Zeus, say I!

τοῦτον οὐκ ἐᾷ λέγειν. νὴ Δία καλῶς γε, ὡς ἔγωγέ φημι. διὰ τί; ὅτι εἴ τις, οὓς ἐξ ἴσου δεῖ τιμᾶν τοῖς θεοῖς

4. Historical Roots of the Name - "Jesus" :

In Greek, Jesus / Ἰησοῦς is actually a transliteration of one name - that has two forms :

  1. Joshua | Yeshua | יֵשׁ֨וּעַ, appears as a later Hebrew/Aramaic name - and is itself another transliteration (or Aramaicism) of ...
  2. "יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ | Yehoshua, in the older Hebrew texts;

The Hebrew name "יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ | Yehoshua" is considered to mean : "God Saves", (Strong's Concordance).

In Greek texts, Both יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ | Yehoshua and Joshua | Yeshua | יֵשׁ֨וּעַ are transliterated into Greek into the same exact way : Ἰησοῦς .

"Jesus" In Greek:

NASB, Matthew 1:1 - The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Byz, Matthew 1:1 - βιβλος γενεσεως ιησου χριστου υιου δαυιδ υιου αβρααμ

Joshua | Jehoshua, the Son of Nun - Transliterated as Jesus:

NASB, Numbers 13:12 - but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.

Septuagint, Numbers 13:16 - καὶ ἐπωνόμασεν Μωυσῆς τὸν Αυση υἱὸν Ναυη Ἰησοῦν

Hebrew, Numbers 13:12 - וַיִּקְרָ֥א מֹשֶׁ֛ה לְהֹושֵׁ֥עַ בִּן־ נ֖וּן יְהֹושֻֽׁעַ׃


NASB, Deuteronomy 3:21 - I commanded Joshua at that time, saying,

Septuagint, Deuteronomy 3:21 - καὶ τῷ Ἰησοῖ ἐνετειλάμην

Hebrew, Deuteronomy 3:21 - וְאֶת־ יְהֹושׁ֣וּעַ צִוֵּ֔יתִי בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖וא לֵאמֹ֑ר

Yeshua Also Transliterated as Jesus - During and After the Babylonian Exile and Aramaic Influence :

Chronicles was "probably composed between 400–250 BC, with the period 350–300 BC the most likely", (Wikipedia, Books of Chronicles).

WEB, 2 Chronicles 31:15 - Under him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua

Septuagint, 2 Chronicles 31:15 - διὰ χειρὸς Οδομ καὶ Βενιαμιν καὶ Ἰησοῦς

Hebrew, 2 Chronicles 31:15 - וְעַל־ יָדֹ֡ו עֵ֣דֶן וּ֠מִנְיָמִן וְיֵשׁ֨וּעַ וּֽשְׁמַֽעְיָ֜הוּ

5. The Name - "Jesus", in Syriac :

The name : ܝܫܘܥ / "Ishu'", (Matthew 1:18, Peshitta) - is the Syriac/Aramaic transliteration. The Syriac is very close to the later "Yeshua" Aramaicism - and certainly not the older Hebrew : "Joshua | Yehoshua".

The New Testament implies that Jesus perhaps had two names : a Hebrew name, "Immanuel", (Matthew 1:23); and the Greek/Aramaic name : "Iesos" and "Yeshua".

  • Thank you, so very much. And sorry for my incorrect format. I knew after reading some other Q&A's here, that you all would have better answers than I could just find from a search on my own.
    – CJMW
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:44
  • One would like to know if there was any literal meaning attributed to the name of Joshua. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 12:00
  • 1
    The American Heritage Dictionary's Semitic Roots Appendix says of "Joshua": from yəhôšûaʿ, perhaps "Yahweh (is) lord" (*šûaʿ, lord; see ṯwʿ) or "Yahweh is salvation" (*šûaʿ, salvation; see wṯʿ); and right below it, Jesus from Hebrew yēšûaʿ, shortening of yəhôšûaʿ, Joshua (see above). Both a and b from yəhô, short form of yahweh, Yahweh.
    – Wtrmute
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 16:48
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan - Sorry for the delay; You are right - an actual definition is helpful, and was missing! Thanks for the improvement! Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 18:37

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