[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 45, Issue 19 The Name

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Thu Sep 14 06:01:00 EDT 2006

On 14/09/2006 06:12, Yonah Mishael wrote:
> ...
> As for Notzri/Netzari/Nazoraios, etc, Ναζωραιος [Nazoraios] is a Greek
> word which means "an inhabitant of Nazareth" (Ναζαρετ or Ναζαρεθ). The
> name of Nazareth in Hebrew is נָצְרַת [Natzerat]. The Hebrew word for
> "Christian" is נוֹצְרִי [notzri], and Jesus is often called (based on
> the assumption that he is the same person spoken of in the Talmud) ישו
> הנוצרי [Yeshu ha-Notzri] or ישוע הנוצרי [Yeshua ha-Notzri].
> ...
> Not being a Christian, this is all the information that I can give you
> about Jesus' name or life. I don't know much about him personally, but
> I hear these discussions a lot. This is what I have to offer. Hope it
> helps.
As a Christian who does know Jesus personally (but to discuss that would 
be off topic for this list), I would like to add that the statement 
"Ναζωραιος [Nazoraios] is a Greek word which means "an inhabitant of 
Nazareth"" is a controversial one. The more regularly formed Greek word 
for "an inhabitant of Nazareth", Ναζαρηνος (Nazarenos), is also used of 
Jesus in the New Testament. The form Ναζωραιος [Nazoraios] may have a 
quite different origin, although the two words have clearly become 
conflated in meaning and are used more or less interchangeably in the 
gospels. One of the possible derivations of Ναζωραιος [Nazoraios] is 
from the same Hebrew word נזיר [nazir] as used for "Nazirite". One 
possible explanation is that נזיר [nazir] was understood as a Messianic 
title, on the basis of Genesis 49:26 and Deuteronomy 33:16. On the 
surface these references are both to Joseph, who of course was not a 
Nazirite. Another possible derivation is from נצר [netser] "branch", 
also understood as a Messianic title on the basis of Isaiah 11:1, and 
this explanation ties up better with the Hebrew form נוֹצְרִי [notzri] - 
but then the latter could also be derived from נָצְרַת [Natzerat] "Nazareth".

But I accept your argument that Jesus was also not technically a 
Nazirite. John the Baptist may well have been, although I have not heard 
before the suggestion that James was.

Various forms of "Nazarene" have long been used in many languages as 
descriptions of Christian groups. This goes back to New Testament times, 
Acts 24:5, where Paul is accused of being "a ringleader of the Nazarene 
sect", using Ναζωραιος [Nazoraios].

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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