[b-hebrew] Yahoshua/Yehosua

Herman Meester crazymulgogi at gmail.com
Tue Apr 4 17:38:06 EDT 2006

Dear Rivka,

I'm sorry, I think I have expressed myself wrongly. What I did mean
was, for example, one's "first name" could be "Ted", but his
"official" name is Theodore, and maybe even a few extra names given at
baptism. I think such a thing did not exist in Hellenistic period
Judaism. For example, the characters of the Mishna have names such as
Yose bar Chananya, but if they are distinguished enough, the "son
of.." part isn't needed: they would be just "rabbi Yose", i.e. "THE
rabbi Yose", rabbi Meir, etc. Later on, the amount of last names
grows, and yet later, we find more than one first name for one
individual - which may or not be a Christian/Islamic influence on
Jewish practice.
I hope I have now removed the suspicion that I think Jews didn't have
first names; I think actually they usually had *only* first names, and
"son of..." or "daughter of..." (+father's name), if needed.

BTW "Jewish names" is a very interesting subject in itself; take for
example (I may mention something that's no news to you, but maybe it
could be interesting to mention) a Yiddish Ashkenazi practice of
giving a person two first names, or rather one double first name, with
the same meaning, but one in Hebrew and one in Yiddish. For example,
Tsvi Hirsch, Dov Bär, Seev Wolf (+last name), and others.

Best regards,
R.dam Netherlands

2006/4/4, YODAN <yodanco at yodanco.com>:
> Hello Herman,
> I am not sure that I understand the statement "Unlike Christians nowadays,
> Jews in
> Antiquity didn't have "official" names, as far as I think is known at
> least,."
> Since the name being discussed was a first name, are you saying Jews didn't
> have first names?  Or didn't have them even as "late" in history as the
> beginning of the Common Era?  How can that be?  What about all the Biblical
> names that preceded the period you are discussing by hundreds of years?
> Perhaps I misunderstood what you said?
>  ********************************
> Rivka
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Herman Meester
> Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2006 12:41 PM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Yahoshua/Yehosua
> Dear Baruj,
> There is no such basis; Jesus' original name was neither Yehoshua or
> Yahoshua, it was just Yeshu. Unlike Christians nowadays, Jews in
> Antiquity didn't have "official" names, as far as I think is known at
> least, so even if we claim that the "original version" of "Yeshu" had
> been "Yehoshua", this would have been irrelevant to the Galilean
> family he was born in.
> By the way, both /h/ and /`/ (`ayin) were likely not to have been
> pronounced in Galilee anymore, as the sources suggest, and the name
> Yehoshua (as a biblical name) was probably pronounced, if people would
> discuss a "biblical" subject, simply "Yeshu" too.
> Writing this, I suddenly worry I misinterpret your question; maybe
> you'd mean to ask if the name that "Yeshu" ultimately derives of would
> have been pronounced "Yahoshua" instead of "Yehoshua"?
> In the latter case, that is likely, because instead of shwa, the
> biblical authors likely did pronounce /a/ in this case. However, then
> they would have pronounced Yahoshu` (or Yahushu`) and not Yahoshua;
> for the `ayin was not replaced with /a/ yet for Scripture recitation
> (as the Masoretes resolved their inability to pronounce the
> gutturals).
> best regards,
> Herman Meester,
> Rotterdam, Netherlands

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