Thursday, December 03, 2009

Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament

The Crowning with Thorns. Artist: (Michelangelo) Caravaggio (1571-1592).A large variety of names and titles are used in the New Testament to describe Jesus.

Personal name
Authors have put forward numerous explanations to explain the origin of the name 'Jesus', and have offered a still larger number of explanations for the meaning of the name. The name is related to the Hebrew יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Joshua, which is a theophoric name first mentioned within the Biblical tradition in Exodus 17:9 as one of Moses' companions (and, according to tradition, later successor). Breaking the name down, we see that there are two parts: יהו Yeho, a theophoric reference to YHWH, the distinctive personal name of the God of Israel, plus the three letter root שוע, relating to the noun shua. Due to disputes over how to render שוע lexically, there are a number of generally accepted phrases this combination can translate to:
  • Yeho-shua
  • Yhwh saves
  • Yhwh (is) salvation
  • "Yhwh" (is) a saving-cry
  • "Yhwh" (is) a cry-for-saving
  • "Yhwh" (is) a cry-for-help
  • Yhwh (is) my help
Biblical Hebrew יְהוֹשֻׁעַ [Yehoshua`] underwent an orthographical change into the Aramaic (some say late Biblical Hebrew) form יֵשׁוּעַ [Yeshua`] (for example, Ezra 2:2) because of a phonological shift where guttural phonemes weakened, including [h]. Late Biblical Hebrew usually shortened the traditional theophoric element [Yahu] יהו at the beginning of a name to יו [Yo-], and at the end to יה [-yah]. In [Yoshua`], it palatized to [Yeshua`]. This shortened Hebrew name was common - the Hebrew Bible mentions ten individuals called it - and was also adopted by Aramaic- and Greek-speaking Jews.


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