Jesus H. Christ

Dear Cecil and friends

As I learned in school, IHS meaning the first three signs of the word “IESus” in ancient greek has been understood later on by the latin speeking Romans as an abbreviation of “Iesus Hominum Salvator” = Jesus, Man’s saviour. Could it be, that the H. asked for is the same one as in the old, misunderstood “Hominum”? I think that it would make sense. Jesus, Man’s Christ meaning “Jesus, the holy one/the oiled one/the king of everybody”.

Do you think so as well?

Thank you
and best wishes

Elias
(from Gebenstorf, Switzerland)

Welcome to the Straight Dope, elias.

Since this is about one of Cecil’s pieces (specifically this one ), I’ll transfer your thread to our forum "Comments on Cecil’s Columns.

Been done.

Anyway, it’s not Jesus H. Christ. The way I heered it is Jesus H. Keee Ryst, with heavy emphasis on the last two words.

The column can also be found on pages 33-34 of Cecil Adams’ book «The Straight Dope (1984; reissued 1986, 1998)».

“Haploid.” That still always makes me laugh.

The best part being that, lacking a Y chromosome, Jesus was actually female.

Heckuva beard for a girl. I guess that’s just one of the least appreciated miracles of the New Testament. Perhaps the Second Coming has been so delayed because she’s waiting for us to form a society that will accept her as a woman, without the facial hair. Still a while to wait.

Oops, I think I may have just formed a new sect. Pesky things.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, Biffy!

A serious candidate for the “H” in Jesus H. Christ is the “H-word”, “Hell”. Or if it is your auntie swearing, “Hosannah”.

Personally, I favour “Herschel”.

There is a fond place in my heart for the French Canadian oath “Jesus Christ on a bicycle”, and also the Newfoundland dialect “Lord THUN-nering Jay-sus” (Lord Thundering Jesus), which is probably of Irish ancestry.

Roman Catholic swearing is rounder, fuller, and more ingenious than Protestant blasphemies, which tend to wander off into mere profanities.

Even the attenuated oaths are more interesting.

One I learnt in French immersion is: “Cinq, six boîtes de tomates vertes!”

This translates “five or six boxes of green tomatos”, and sounds like the French for “Holy Ciborium of Green (Saint) Thomas”. A ciborium is a religious vessel of some sort, probably the chalice used in communion or a container for the Host.

Other candidates for the “H”–“Heavenly”, “hallelulah”, and “Host”.

I apologize if I’m explaining the obvious, but I think Biffy was saying that Jesus (if he was real, the biblical account of his birth is true, and so on) could not have a Y-chromosome because he did not have a biological father. I honestly can’t even imagine the genetic craziness at work here, but I don’t know if he had a biological mother either, or if he was just supposed to have come out of Mary. I doubt the bible really goes into the details of it. This is long before people had thought of sperm, chromosomes and biological vs. surrogate parents anyway.