Jesus (The Name)

views updated


In English the name Jesus is a transliteration of the Latin form Iesus, which represents the Greek form ησο[symbol omitted]ς of the Hebrew name yēšûa. The latter is a late form, by vowel dissimilation, of the name yôšûa, itself a contracted form of y e hôšûa, "Yahweh is salvation." This was the name of Moses' successor, joshua, son of Nun. Both because of the fame of this early hero of Israel and because of the meaning of the name, many men both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament bore the name of Joshua or Jesus. The Septuagint generally uses the Greek form Ιησος where the Hebrew text has the form yôšûa or y e hôšûa. So also the New Testament, in referring to Joshua, son of Nun, calls him Jesus (Acts7.45; Heb 4.8). An allusion is made in Mt 1.21 to the meaning of the name ("Yahweh is salvation"): Joseph is told by the angel of the Lord to name the child born of Mary's virginal conception "Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."

Bibliography: Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963), from a. van den born, Bijbels Woordenboek 114142. l. w. foester, g. kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament 3:28494.

[l. f. hartman]