The name Yeshua is the name of the true figure most commonly referred to as Jesus. Why was his named changed? If it was strictly a change of language than his name would be Joshua as it is the most fitting translation.

  • 3
    Please present evidence or source material that will back up your views that Jesus' true name is Yeshua or that Joshua is the most fitting translation. Also, your question appears to invite opinions - what is the basis for claiming "right" or "wrong"? Please read this article and then edit your question accordingly: How to ask a good question: christianity.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask
    – Lesley
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 10:29
  • 7
    Who says that it is wrong to call him Yeshua?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 10:47
  • 2
    I employ Yeshua often and have no scruples about it. Joshua is a Jewish modern translation and they are unbelievers.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 12:15
  • 2
    Unless you demonstrate a teaching or a doctrine that establishes that it is "wrong" to refer to Jesus as Yeshua, your question is offering an assumed truth that is in fact absent in the asking of the question. Such a teaching would likely be tied to a particular denomination within Christianity, or a few denominations. I have voted to close this question for two reasons. (1) opinion based (2) you imbed an unproven assumption into the asking of the question. (3) you failed to ideentify which denomination may hold that position. Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 16:18
  • 3
    That was just one person's opinion. Christians on the whole don't ban the name Yeshua.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 22:13

3 Answers 3


The origin of the name is to be known if we are to make sense of this 'problem.'

Firstly, ׳Jesus׳ comes to us in English from the Greek Ιησους (Iesous), which is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name ישוע (Y'shua) found in the New Testament, and also doubles as the Greek transliteration for יהושע (Y'hoshua) in the Old Testament.

Joshua in Hebrew (יהושע), due to its different meaning and thus form comes to us in English as ׳Joshua׳ instead of Jesus because there is an extra ה (Hey) sound in the middle of the word: in fact, it comes to us by a transliteration of the Hebrew this time, instead of from the Greek, because the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New Testament (which speaks of Christ and His name) in Greek. Yehoshua (Joshua in English) means "He that shall save," or, "savior" (referring to his leading God's people into the promised land, Jude 1:5). In Greek, it must be transliterated the same as Yeshua (i.e. as iesous) because Greek can't indicate a hard 'H' sound in the middle of the word properly speaking.

As to why it ends in 's' (ς) and not 'a,' (α) in Greek, the masculinity of a noun or names was most often indicated by the masculine ending, 's.' (E.g. Barabbas, even though in Aramaic is it Barabba meaning "Son of the Father"—symbolically refers also to people accepting the false 'son of the father' instead of the true one). Also, the sh sound available in Hebrew (ש) is not available in Greek, so there is only left the s sound (σ/ς). This leaves us with Ιησους as the best transliterated form of the Hebrew.

Jesus' name in Hebrew comes from the fact that "He shall save His people from their sins:"

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Yeshua. For he shall save [yoshia] his people from their sins.

This is a classic Hebrew Old Testament-style etymological explanation of a name, and so we know that Jesus' name indicates nothing more or less than, "Saviour."

In this kind of 'emtyologically created' names, the resultant name appears in a form which doesn't mean necessarily 'he shall save' (as in a verb), nor 'he is the saviour' (he is such and so), but is a unique kind of grammatical form dependant on explanations like the above (i.e. the context of the reason for the name).

For example:

Genesis 4:1 And the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain (in that she said, I have acquired a man with the help of God)

That is, "And the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Qayin (in that she said, Qanniti a man from God)"

Therefore, this name means "Acquired [from God]."

Again, another example:

Genesis 3:20 And the man named his wife Eve, since she was to be the mother of all the living.

That is, "And the man named his wife Havah, since she was to be the mother of all hai." Yielding the meaning, "Life[-giver]."

So just as Peter isn't a butchering of Petros, or Pierre a butchering of Peter, nor Kephas of Kepha, nor Peter of Kepha, but different languages' way of saying the same name, and referring to the same person, Jesus is just English for Yeshua, just as Iesous is Greek for Yeshua.

The 'name' in Hebrew culture and Scripture, of a person, refers to their identity or authority, not to the letters or sounds which make their name up as a string of letters. No one is bowing to the letters, 'Y H SH A' in Hebrew, they are bowing to Jesus Christ, the Saviour, for Who He is.

I'm not aware of anyone who actually forbids using the original Hebrew of Christ's name.


All of the original manuscripts which document the angelic heralding and birth of the prophesied predecessor of Messiah, that is to say the record of John the Baptist, and all of the original manuscripts which document the angelic heralding, the birth, the baptism, the ministry, the transfiguration, the crucifixion, the death, the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ and which proclaim that he is the Son of God : all of these manuscripts were originally written in the Greek language.

These documents were then translated into many languages: Old Latin, Syriac, Hebrew and so on, and eventually into English.

Despite conjecture to the contrary, no evidence of original Hebrew documents (particularly of Matthew and Hebrews) has ever been proved.

The name of the child born in Bethlehem, documented as ιησους, transliterates into English as 'Jesus'.

This Person is preached to the whole wide world, first by the apostles chosen of Jesus Christ himself, then, with strict reference to those original documents, by others sent by Jesus Christ in successive generations.

Hebrew speakers could refer to Him by an Hebrew transliteration of the Greek name ιησους.

But for many centuries, English speaking people around the world have used the English transliteration 'Jesus'.

The 'change' is a change from doing that and an encouragement (for reasons that are not clear) to English speaking people to use an Hebrew name for Jesus rather than the name that has been publicised by the apostolic writings, and has been used, globally, by English speakers for centuries.

Is it 'wrong' to do that?

Yes, I would say that it is.

It goes against the divine progression of revelation. It goes against what is clear in scripture that the gospel is preached to all nations, not just the Jews. Although it was originally a revelation within Israel, that has been superseded by the New Testament.

It also subverts the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, eternally, and God manifest in flesh, in point of time.

It also seems to suggest, and I am looking for (but have not yet received) assurance that the suggestion is not present, a matter of 'resurrection' or 're-birth' of a previous manifestation.

Although there are mysterious manifestations in ancient times (the man who wrestled with Jacob, the angel who ascended in flame in the presence of Manoah and his wife, the likeness of the Son of God seen by Nebuchadnezzar) these are not that which was born of the virgin Mary.

And I would say it is wrong to confuse such clear concepts with the unnatural reversion of the English transliteration of the Greek name of Jesus to the use of an Hebrew transliteration, instead.

  • 1
    FWIW, I don't think the proposal is a Hebrew transliteration of the Greek, but the presumed Hebrew or Aramaic name of Jesus which would have been transliterated into the Greek of the NT.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 11:38
  • @curiousdannii Yes, I see what you are saying. But the effect is the same, to a modern English speaker who views the apostolic documents primarily, and does not seek to revert to that which preceded them.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 11:41
  • @nigelJ of all the languages in which the text was translated why is it the Greek in which we draw the name Jesus? Should it not be drawn from Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin or even Syriac? Do you not find that odd at all? Latin was the official most widely spoken language in the Rome was it not? Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 20:21
  • @JasonHenley Whose decision was it to use the Greek language to communicate twenty seven volumes of Gospel Truth concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 10:35

Why is it wrong to refer to “Jesus” by his given true name Yeshua?

Who says it is wrong?

It is not, I do all the time.

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.

Jesus spoke in Aramaic, yet read the Sacred Texts in Hebrew when in the synagogues.

Those who employ the name of Jesus in either Aramaic (Yeshua) or Hebrew (Joshua) 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. The name Joshua is a modern Jewish translation of the name of Jesus.

The name Jesus is derived from the Hebrew name Yeshua, which is based on the Semitic root y-š-ʕ (Hebrew: ישע‎), meaning "to deliver; to rescue." Yeshua, and its longer form, Yehoshua, were both in common use by Jews during the Second Temple period and many Jewish religious figures bear the name, notably Jesus in the New Testament, and Joshua in the Hebrew Bible. - Etymology of the name of Jesus (Wikipedia)

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 Massfor 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.

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)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .