Jesus's true name

I don’t remember the author or title, but when I was taking Russian Literature we read a story based on the Gospel of St Matthew (with big differences). Jesus was referred to as Yeshua ha-Nostri, and this may have been the form used by at least some people in his time. (I wasn’t there.) :cool:

You sure you remembering right? I’ll let someone more versed in Hebrew respond, but I don’t find “nostri” in my dictionary (I confess I didn’t look very hard, and ancient Hebrew has three different letters that can give the “s” sound, so there’s lots of places to look up.)

The term “ha” means “the”, so this is some sort of euphemistic title, like Jesus the Prophet (Yeshua ha-Navi) or Jesus the Prince (Yeshua ha-Naseek) or some such.

It always amazes me how few people really know anything at all regarding the history of Christianity.

The reason you are not finding that in your Hebrew dictionary is that, like all the original New Testament books, the book of St. Thomas was written in GREEK.


Why do people have this mistaken idea that the NT was written in Hebrew? Is it because they haven’t bothered to do any real research on the subject? Hmm…

On another note, while I’m at it here, there are a million “Gospels” out there that were never included in the canonic Bible.

A group of people decided, on rather political grounds, on what books to include in the “canon” version of the Bible. It is thought that they decided on what to include based on the power of the four main churches in existence at the time of canonization.

So, this is why you have 4 “Gospels” – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – all purported writers from 4 different churches/regions of the Middle East and surrounding area.

I may also point out that these were not written by the aforementioned authors – rather, that the histories are accredited to them, and someone else merely wrote down what they were purported to say.

All in all, there really isn’t ANY evidence to support that Jesus every existed. Those of you who point to such questionable sources as Josephus, the famous Roman Historian, as proof that someone acknowledged the existence of Christ - ha… joke’s on you… the works of Josephus were altered by Bishop Eusebius, and even admitted to the fact, so morally justified did the Bishop feel he was in forging and doctoring the work of this historian! (After all, you can convert more souls with lies than you can with the truth)

There are no authentic historical records of Christ (and may I remind you all, the Bible is FAR from being an authentic historical record), so the conversation thread is for the most part – moot.

Uh, excuse me, luxdesigns, but are you saying that “Yeshua ha-Nostri” is a Greek name? I would suggest instead that it is the latin alphabet transcription of the cyrillic alphabet transcription (since the OP read the story in a Russian literature class) of a Greek alphabet transcription (if the name indeed came from a gospel written in Greek) of a hebrew name, and to find the meaning of it, one should look for the Hebrew root.

Also, I forgot to mention - you should be aware that C K Dexter Haven is one of the authors of this 5-part article:
Who wrote the Bible? (07-Jan-2002)

Part 1 - Who wrote/compiled/edited (and when) the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah or Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses?

Part 2 - Who wrote/compiled/edited (and when) the various histories in the Old Testament (such as Judges, Kings, etc.)?

Part 3 - Who wrote/compiled/edited (and when) the various prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.) and the wisdom literature (Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) in the Old Testament?

Part 4 - Who wrote/compiled/edited (and when) the various New Testament Books?

Part 5- Who decided which books should be included and which excluded from the Bible(s)? Why are there differences in the Bibles for Catholics, Protestants, and Jews?

However, if you want to comment on those articles (Who wrote the Bible), you should do it in the “Coments on Staff Reports” Forum.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, Lux.

On some of what you say, I have no comment other than muttering something about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.


The question in this topic was about Jesus’ “real” name. Whatever that name was, it was NOT Greek. It was most likely Hebrew/Aramaic, and the format of this particular question poses a “Yeshua ha-Nostri” which is certainly Hebrew or Aramaic, not Greek.

On the question of Biblical authorship, I refer you to the Staff Reports that Arnold kindly referenced.

You say:

This is certainly true, but the statement could be read incorrectly as an inference. You are not drawing that conclusion, but others could. And absence of evidence is not, as they say, evidence of absence.

In fact, we have very little “evidence” of the existence of any people at all from the early Roman Empire. First off, there would be very little or no documentation of “lesser” individuals, such as a rural preacher in a backwater province like Jesus. Official documentation would only have been kept for major citizens of great importance (tax records, etc), not for your every-day common scum. Second, almost all documentation, official or not, has long since been destroyed by the ravages of time. The few documents we have (such as Tacitus, Josephus, Seutonius, etc) are not originals – we have copies of copies of copies. If a document wasn’t deemed worth copying, it is lost to us over the centuries.

In fact, we have only indirect evidence (outside the Bible) that Pontius Pilate existed – for example, he is mentioned in Tacitus (writing several decades later) as having been a procurator who killed Jesus. (More on this coming in a Staff Report in the next few weeks.) If there’s no direct evidence of the existence of the procurator of a whole area, it’s not surprising that there would be no evidence of the existence of a minor criminal.

So, I’d be careful of drawing any conclusions from the absence of evidence. It’s not as though there was extensive population lists or tax rolls or anything from that time. If we had a record of a complete census (more on that one in the upcoming Staff Report, too) or phone book, say, and Jesus wasn’t listed, you might argue that absence was indicative. But when there’s almost no documentation whatsoever for anyone other than top government officials (and even then…), it’s silly to try to argue that absence of evidence is indicative.

For that matter: There’s no absolute evidence that Richard Nixon existed. Oh, sure, I can find sources that say he existed, but maybe they were just fooled, too.

Now, it’s quite reasonable to question the significance of Jesus (God? Son of God? Messiah? Prophet? Influential religious leader?), but there’s no good reason to doubt that he existed at all.

There’s no evidence that Richard Nixon ever existed huh? You have a rather rigorous demand on the definition of “evidence”, I see. There is a big difference between historically valid evidence (for which we have for Richard Nixon) and questionable, impeachable evidence (such as Bishop Eusebius, or Iranaeus, or the Bi-bull, as evidence for the existence of “the Christ”).

I would, in the future, suggest a more rational definition of “evidence” for the sake of reasoned arguments…

As for Jesus having a name in Hebrew derivation – HA! The name in Hebrew is nothing like “Jesus” which was entirely my point. Iesous (Greek) is derived from a Hebrew word, yehoshua, but is nothing like the English word “Jesus”, which was entirely my point!


The actual bastardization of Yehoshua (the Hebrew) into a redacted Yeshua into the Greek Iesous into the English Iesus (by King James) is a long, long process that took many years of pious fraud. Eventually, when the consonant “J” joined the English language, Iesus became Jesus. (Even “J” was not in the original 1611 King James text, for the use of the letter J in the English language is only about 500 years old).

And this is precisely my point. The Hebrew word that was taken for Christ – did not mean Jesus Christ. Contrary to Christian dogma, the Jews did not foretell the coming of Christ. They foretold a number of other “messiahs” but none of them Christ.

So the mere inference that the word “Jesus” has some kind of Hebrew derivation is of course a very false, and misleading inference indeed.

The Christians borrowed mercilessly from the Jews; not only did they screw up the translation of the word “virgin”, but they stole from the prophecies of the Jews – misinterpreted them in a number of horrific ways – as a means of supporting the new religion that they’d created, crafted of course out of as many possible lies as they could get their hands on. (Converting new followers through lies was much easier than converting through the truth.)

They basically stole the name of the supposed successor of Moses, son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim, Y@howshuwa` {yeh-ho-shoo’-ah}; and used that reference to support their pious fraud, Christ.

This, coupled with the numerous other Old Testament “prophecies” regarding the new messiah, were used to create the fictitious Jesus Christ – oh, sometime between 60 and 200 AD, and then onwards with minor revisions here and there.

Really, where they got the name for Christ wasn’t all that original – but in those days, when all religions borrowed from one another, the more “familiar” the stories of the religion seemed, the more likely people would convert to it (thus making pious fraud an accepted practice in those days – noone cared it was a lie, they just care if it sounded good or not).

And while I look into the “sucking of eggs”, why don’t you look into getting your foot of your mouth?


James Stewart

First, lux, you need to sit down and take a big deep breath.

Second, you need to re-read this thread. NOT from your pre-conceptions of what it’s talking about, but from WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY SAID.

So let’s recapitulate, eh?

The OP asked about “Jesus’s real name.” That is, what did people call him? When his mother yelled for him to come in this instant, what did she say? When his friends asked him to come over and shoot pool, what did they call him? When he was preaching to an audience, what did they call him?

Whether he existed is a different question. This question is, assuming he existed, what was his name? There is clear recognition in the OP that the name “Jesus” is derived from the Greek, from the Hebrew, with several stops in between.

Clearly, that “real name” was Hebrew or Aramaic. I guarantee that it was not Greek or Spanish.

The OP suggests “Yeshua ha-Nostri” and I questioned that. The format of that name is clearly Hebrew or Aramaic, both the “Yeshua” and the “ha-” are clear indicators of that. “Ha” means “the” in Hebrew, so this is not Jesus’s name, it is some sort of title, as in “Eliyahu ha-Navi” (Elijah the Prophet) or “Dahveed ha-Melekh” (David the King.) Except that I could not find a meaning for “Nostri.”

You then posted a very snide comment about how the New Testament was originally written in Greek, and that’s why I couldn’t find “Nostri” in my Hebrew Dictionary. You accused me of having “mistaken ideas” and not having done any “real research.” You then launched into a lengthy aside about Biblical authorship, which is irrelevant to this thread.

Arnold countered that by pointing to the Staff Reports that I wrote (with the help of others, but I was primary author/editor) as indication that I may know what I’m talking about.

I, in fact, do NOT disagree with your statements about the history of the name “Jesus” or the history of the New Testament (I might quibble about your wording, but that’s minor.) My last post was simply a warning, lest anyone interpret your comments about “no evidence” to mean anything more than that. There is very little, or no, evidence for the existence of all but a handful of people from those days in Rome, let alone in Judea.

I agree with you, Chronos’ Richard Nixon analogy is far-flung. A better analogy would be the existence of Pontius Pilate. There is no direct evidence of his existence, and the indirect evidence is a half-sentence from Tacitus (from whom we have no original texts, only copies of copies.)

So why have you got this incredible chip on your shoulder? No one is attacking you, but you have been attacking me (without justification) from your very first post. Now, sit down, take a deep breath, AND READ WHAT I SAID, not what you imagined I said.

And, by the way, the reason we have “Jesus” with a “J” instead of an “I” is the same reason we have Joseph instead of Yoseph, Jacob instead of Yaakob, etc. That’s thanks to the Germans, and specifically Martin Luther, who translated the Bible into German and used the letter “J” to represent the Hebrew sound “Y” (which it does in German.) These spellings got pulled over into English from the German, with the letter “J” retained and so arose the mis-pronunciations.