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Jesus, Joseph, Mary, James, John - these were popular first names used by the Jews in the days of the Lord. Naturally, each would have some additional names like that of his/her father or of the clan/house, in order to have an identifiable full name, in civil records . I am therfore , curious to know as to what the full name of Jesus was in civil records say, `Jesus son of Joseph '. Do the Catholic traditions give any clue to such a name ?

  • The only census during Jesus's earthly life was that of Cyrinius (Quirinius), governor of Syria (Lk. 2:2), and Jesus was not yet born. There are no known civil records containing His written name. I'm voting to close because answers will be opinion-based / pure speculation. – Geremia Aug 10 at 18:24
  • @Geremia This question is not opinion based as it does ask for historical Catholic traditions as proof. – Ken Graham Aug 10 at 19:07
  • @Geremia A derth of records from which to answer from does not make a question opinion based. A proper answer to such a question would be "there aren't enough records to say_, but we don't close questions on that ground alone as long as they aren't asking for opinion in the first place. – Caleb Aug 14 at 9:06
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First, I'd point out that even in modern times full names are far from unambiguous. My own fairly uncommon first, middle, and last name together are not enough to uniquely single me out. All legal records use some other way of identifying me: a birth certificate number, a social security number, a passport number, a residence permit number. Civil governments in our modern world ALWAYS use something beyond assigned names to keep track of people because names simply don't cut it.

In the ancient world there were not good ways of keeping track of id numbers. Databases were not centralized and UUIDs were not a thing. Instead they would group records. In the near east of Jesus' era the Romans handled this by region. This is why when the census was done just before Jesus birth everybody had to register in "Their own city". That also explains why Jesus was commonly known as "Jesus of Nazareth". Nazareth being a small town and there not being too many popular figures coming out of there, that was enough to place him in most people's minds.

We don't have any civil records from the era that record anything more than what we have in Scripture, but Scripture gives us a pretty good idea how he was known both colloquially and legally. In particular Matthew was a former tax collector and Luke was a historian. Besides identifying his place (Nazareth) the most accurate way to identify people was to list off some of their genealogy.

Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

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How did Jesus write his full name in civil records?

Jesus never signed such a document.

There is no historical records or proofs that Our Lord Jesus called the Christ ever signed a single civil document whatsoever.

Thus this question is complete speculation to say the least as we have no idea as to how he would do so:

  • Jesus of Nazareth
  • Jesus of Galilee
  • Jesus, Son of Joseph
  • Jesus, Son of Mary
  • Jesus of Nazareth, of the House of David
  • Yeshua (ישוע) Ben (בן) Yosef (יוֹסֵף)

I have never heard of any Catholic Traditions dealing with this subject.

Your guess is as good as mine!

A typical Jew in Jesus' time had only one name, sometimes followed by the phrase "son of ", or the individual's hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is commonly referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth" (e.g., Mark 10:47). Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth refer to him as "the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon" (Mark 6:3), "the carpenter's son" (Matthew 13:55),[46] or "Joseph's son" (Luke 4:22).[47] In John, the disciple Philip refers to him as "Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth" (John 1:45). - Jesus (Wikipedia)

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    Saying he "never signed such a document" is quite a stretch from "we don't have historical records showing he did so". There might have been all sorts of things he signed. Those sort of things weren't likely to survive except in special cases. That doesn't mean they didn't exist, and the dogmatic assertion that they did not seems like quite a stretch here. – Caleb Aug 14 at 9:08
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    @Caleb I can not be proven to be in error, historically or traditionally. – Ken Graham Aug 14 at 11:22
  • Please see this question. – luchonacho Aug 28 at 22:32
  • @luchonacho How Jesus signed his name is a huge difference than Romans keeping notes of individuals in legal documents as your question suggests: Did Romans keep tax records of individuals in Palestine during the time of Jesus? – Ken Graham Aug 28 at 23:02
  • They are not that far off. Also, the content of the question asks "I am therfore , curious to know as to what the full name of Jesus was in civil records". – luchonacho Aug 28 at 23:05
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Jesus did pay tax, as we see at Mtt 17: 24-27 "....... "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

That shows his name was there in the records of the tax authority. It would not have been, in all probability, just Jesus.

  • I just made this post. – luchonacho Aug 28 at 22:32
  • @luchonacho The only census that we know of during Jesus's earthly life was that of Cyrinius (Quirinius), governor of Syria (Lk. 2:2), and Jesus was not yet born. See Geremia’s answer. – Ken Graham Aug 28 at 22:54
  • @KenGraham So Jesus never paid taxes then because there wasn't a census during his time? He clearly did, it was likely he was part of some record. Also, again, the fact that the NT has no other account of a census doesn't mean there wasn't other. Why would evangelists bother to mention a census when Jesus was 25 years old? No direct evidence of P does not imply no-P. – luchonacho Aug 28 at 23:09
  • Did Jesus pay such taxes personally or did one of his Disciples pay it for him? “Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours. Matthew 17: 24-27 – Ken Graham Aug 28 at 23:21

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