Why use Yeshua instead of Jesus?
Besides the simplest and most obvious reason for doing so is because we can, I will give you the reason why I do this myself when I am alone and not hindered by being overheard by others. But I will say this much. One of the reasons I do it is because of devotion to the name of Jesus. Now let me explain where I am going with this from time to time.
The claim that modern Hebrew (or Aramaic) is not the same as the Hebrew (or Aramaic) used at the time of Christ for the Hebraic name of Jesus remains simply on a theoretical level. Some dispute that claim.
Some of rabbinical sources comment on the reasons for the missing ayin from Yeshu, as opposed to the Hebrew Bible Yeshua and Yehoshuah... A tradition states that the shortening to Yeshu relates to the Y-SH-U of the yimach shemo "may his name be obliterated.” Against this David Flusser suggested that the name Yeshu itself was "in no way abusive," but "almost certainly" a Galilean dialect form of Yeshua. But E.Y. Kutscher showed that the `ayin was still pronounced in Galilee, refuting a thesis by Paul Kahle. - Yeshua
Those who employ the name of Jesus in either Aramaic or Hebrew are not Judaizing the name of Our Lord, but pronouncing his Holy Name as such in devotional manner or in a Christian Rite that frequently employs either Hebrew or Aramaic in their liturgies.
Being a Catholic of the Latin Rite and greatly influenced by the Church’s traditions, I will explain my own motivation based on such.
The Catholic Maronite Rite uses Aramaic (Syriac) as a liturgical language and the name of Jesus in their Rite is Yeshua. I occasionally worship in this Eastern Catholic Rite.
Many of us can recall Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ in which all the dialogues were done in the languages employed at the time of Our Lord.
When I first watched this movie I decided to ask a friend who has a minor in biblical languages if he could recite in Aramaic the Our Father, the Ave Maria, the Gloria Patri along with the phrase begone Satan on a CD. The reason was that I could say the rosary in Aramaic, the language which Our Lord spoke. It is a purely devotional aspect that I have incorporated into my prayer life. What more needs to be said?
There are many other factors that one can incorporate into this response, such as:
- The Catholic Church acknowledges Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (also known as liturgical Syriac) as being sacred languages.
- Our Lord spoke the common language (Aramaic) of the people in his day and age, but recited Hebrew in the synagogue when he read Sacred Scripture out loud.
- Pope Pius XII allowed the use of Hebrew in the Tridentine Mass for Catholics living in Israel for obvious reasons. (Sorry folks, Latin was not the only language employed at Mass prior to the Second Vatican Council in the Roman Rite.)
- The Maronite Catholic Rite may employ either Aramaic (Syriac) or Arabic in their liturgy, but the words of consecration must be in Aramaic, the very language Christ spoke at the Last Supper.
Although pronouncing the name of Jesus in any particular language has much merit. Pronouncing it in either Hebrew or Aramaic adds something special in my mind. How many times did Our Lord heard his most holy Mother Mary call him affectionately by his name: Yeshua.
Here are some YouTube video examples (dialect may very):
Whether or not we pronounce the name of Jesus as Yeshua or not is unimportant to most, but for some it brings us closer to the historical Christ in his day and age, in a loving traditional way of speaking.
Holy is the name of Jesus ישועה "yeshua" forever in Hebrew or Aramaic forever!
East Syriac Ishoʕ
Yeshuuʕ or Ishoʕ, the Syriac name of Jesus
Aramaic and Classical Syriac render the pronunciation of the same letters as ܝܫܘܥ yeshuuʕ (yešuʕ) /yeʃuʕ/ and ܝܫܘܥ ishoʕ (išoʕ) /iʃoʕ/. The Aramaic Bibles and the Peshitta Syriac preserve these same spellings. Current scholarly consensus posits that the NT texts were translated from the Greek, but this theory is not supported directly at least by the name for Jesus, which is not a simple transliteration of the Greek form as would otherwise be expected, as Greek did not have an "sh" [ʃ] sound, and substituted [s]; and likewise lacked and therefore omitted the final ‘ayin sound [ʕ]. Moreover, Eusebius (early fourth century) reports that Papius (early second century) reports that Jesus's disciple Matthew wrote a gospel "in the Hebrew language". (Note: Scholars typically argue the word "Hebrew" in the New Testament refers to Aramaic; however, others have attempted to refute this view.) The Aramaic of the Peshitta does not distinguish between Joshua and Jesus, and the Lexicon of William Jennings gives the same form ܝܫܘܥ for both names. The Hebrew final letter ayin ע is equivalent to final ܥ in Classical Syriac and East Syriac and West Syriac. It can be argued that the Aramaic speakers who used this name had a continual connection to the Aramaic-speakers in communities founded by the apostles and other students of Jesus, thus independently preserved his historical name Yeshuuʕ and the Eastern dialectical Ishoʕ. Those churches following the East Syriac Rite still preserve the name Ishoʕ. - Yeshua (Wikipedia)
Other articles of interest may be read if desired: