Is Jesus and Joshua the same name (when did Joshua become Jesus)?

In some passages in the Bible, the names Jesus and Joshua are used interchangeably. For instance, in Hebrews 4:8, the King James Bible refers to the Old Testament Character Joshua as Jesus. As a keen Christian, one cannot help but wonder, is Jesus and Joshua the same name?

Jesus and Joshua is the same name. These names were transliterated from the same Hebrew name (Yehoshua). When transliterated into English, the name Yehoshua becomes Joshua. The same name, when transliterated into Greek, becomes Iēsous. Iēsous was transliterated into Latin to become Iesus and into English to become Jesus. Therefore, Iēsous, Yeshua, Joshua, and Jesus are the same name meaning ‘The Lord Is Salvation’ or ‘Yahweh Saves.’ 

In what language was the name Jesus first written? How are Joshua and Jesus both English translations of the name Yehoshua? When did Jesus’ name change from Yeshua to Jesus? How did ‘Joshua’ become ‘Jesus’? Why isn’t Jesus called Joshua if that is his original name? Keep reading to learn more!

In what language was the name Jesus first written?

The name Jesus was first written in Hebrew. The first form of the name Jesus was Yehoshua (Hebrew). The name was shortened to Yeshua. The name Yeshua was translated into Greek as Iēsous when the Old Testament was translated into the Greek Septuagint.

The Greek alphabet did not have the “Y,” so it was replaced with the “I” sound. Also, the Greek alphabet does not have the consonant “H”; therefore, the sound was dropped. The Greek alphabet did not have the “Sh” sound, and the “S” sound was used instead. Lastly, Greek male names end with “s,” which was placed at the end of the name.

This is how the Hebrew name Yehoshua (Yeshua in Aramaic) became Iēsous in Greek. The name Iēsous was transliterated into the Latin name Iesus which later changed into Jesus when the Bible was transliterated into English.

when did Joshua become Jesus?
What does Yehoshua mean? See below

How are Joshua and Jesus both English translations of the name Yehoshua?

The Hebrew name Yehoshua was shortened into Yeshua. This name, when transliterated into Greek, becomes Iēsous. When translated from Greek to Latin, it becomes Iesus, and when transliterated from Latin into English, it becomes Jesus. When transliterated into English, the Hebrew name Yehoshua or Yeshua in Aramaic becomes Joshua. Therefore, Joshua and Jesus are both English translations of the name Yehoshua.

When did Jesus’ name change from Yeshua to Jesus?

The name Yeshua is the Aramaic form of the name Yehoshua. The name Yeshua was transliterated into the Greek name Iēsous when the Old Testament was translated into Greek between 285 and 246 B.C. This was during the rule of Ptolemy Philadelphus.

The Romans pronounced the name Iēsous as yay-SOOS. This name remained the name of the Messiah during the reign of the Roman Empire when Greek was the most dominant language. However, Greek was overtaken by Latin as the most dominant language after some time.

During the last quarter of the 4th century, the Holy Scriptures (Bible) were translated into Latin. The Greek name Iēsous was transliterated into Iesus. Jerome did the translation work.

Around the 14th century, monks from the scriptoria of monasteries replaced the letter I in the name Iesus with a J. However, the pronunciation remained the same. The J was pronounced like a y. The monks who made the change thought that the J looked better.

It is speculated that these monks were of German descent because the letter j in the German language sounds the same as the y in English. Germans pronounce ja as yah. The Latin name Iesus evolved into Jesus by around the 17th century.

How did ‘Joshua’ become ‘Jesus’?

The name Joshua when transliterated into Hebrew, becomes Yehoshua. In Aramaic, the name Yehoshua is shortened into Yeshua. As mentioned earlier, the name Yeshua was transliterated into Greek as Iēsous when the Old Testament was translated into the Greek Septuagint. 

The Greek alphabet did not have the “Y,” so it was replaced with the “I” sound. Also, the Greek alphabet does not have the consonant “H”; therefore, the sound was dropped. The Greek alphabet did not have the “Sh” sound, and the “S” sound was used instead. Lastly, Greek male names end with “s,” which was placed at the end of the name.

This is how the Hebrew name Yehoshua (Yeshua) became Iēsous in Greek. The name Iēsous was transliterated into the Latin name Iesus which later changed into Jesus when the Bible was transliterated into English. This is how the name Joshua becomes Jesus.

when did Joshua become Jesus?
Why isn’t Jesus called Joshua if that is His original name? See below

Why isn’t Jesus called Joshua if that is His original name?

The New Testament was written in Greek. Therefore, the authors of the New Testament referred to the Messiah as Iēsous. As earlier mentioned, when Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, the name Iēsous was transliterated into Iesus. Between the 14th and 17th centuries, monks in the scriptoria of monasteries replaced the letter I with J because they believed that J looked better than I. The name Jesus is still used in English Bibles to date.

Jesus could be called Joshua if the New Testament was translated from Hebrew to English. However, the New Testament was originally written in Greek, translated into Latin, and later English. For this reason, the Messiah is called Jesus, not Joshua, His original name.

References

ancient-hebrew.org (n.d.). Where did the name “Jesus” come from? Retrieved January 17, 2023

bible.org. (n.d.). Greek translation of the Old Testament. Retrieved January 17, 2023

GotQuestions.org. (2019). In what languages was the Bible written? Retrieved January 17, 2023

GotQuestions.org. (2022). Why is Joshua called “Jesus” in Hebrews 4:8 in the KJV? Retrieved January 17, 2023

oneforisrael.org. (2021). How Yeshua became Jesus – the journey of language. Retrieved January 17, 2023

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