One of the anti-missionaries favorite lies is to tell people that the name "Jesus" is a derivative of the name "Ze-s" - that Greek "g-d". In the following I will show how "Jesus" and its Greek equivalent "Iesous" is merely a natural evolution of his Hebrew Name into English.
A Greek Analysis of the Name "Iesous" or "Jesus"
In Greek, the name of "Zeus" is really just "Ze", because the "us" is there for grammar. "Ze" is the root of the name. Thus it would be Zayin, Hey in Hebrew (which, BTW, means "this"). Like every other name in Greek, it's spelling changes with grammar (It might be Zeus, Zeu, etc) depending on whether "Ze" is the subject, object, direct object, etc., of a sentence. So depending on how it's used in Greek Grammar, for the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative cases respectively, it becomes...
- "Ze" becomes Zeus, Zeos, Zei, Zea, or Zeu - for that silly Greek "god"
- "Ieso" becomes Iesous, Iesou (both G&D cases), Ieson, Iese - for Y'shua, our Saviour
...Since "Jesus" or "Y'shua" has a name that is most properly rooted as "Ieso" in Greek, not "Iesous". "Iesous" is just a grammatical variant of the root "Ieso". Note that..
- The root for Y'shua (Ieso) has nothing in common with the root for "Ze". Even the "e" here is transliterated from a different Greek letter (eta for "Ieso" and epsilon for "Ze").
- The declension is different. For "Ze", it's -us, -os, -ei, -a, -u. For Y'shua/Ieso, it's -us, -u, -n, -e. The declension is the same only in the nominative case - not in any others.
So what's similar about these two names? Well, the english bastardizations of how they are pronounced in our tongue has some similarities. So silly english speaking people who don't know Greek and are too lazy to do research can come up with some strange ideas on what the Greeks were thinking. But this idea that "Jesus" is rooted in "Zeus" doesn't hold water when you really examine the roots and declensions in Greek from a scholarly manner. It has as much credibility as saying it originated from "Dr. Seuss".
Why not say "Jesus" came from Caesar Augustus? After all, both their names end the same way. What about Marcus, Casius, Gaius, Sextus - well, you sure see "ze" in all those names huh? You don't? Just an "-us". Oh well....
There's places in the Greek manuscripts where "Jesus" derivates to "Jason" due to the way Greek grammar is constructed. Do those verses pay tribute to my son? What about those verses where His Name appears in Greek as "Jesť"? Is that "Hail Say"? I'm I worshipping a god named "Say" if I call Him "Jesť"? That's the logic we'd conclude if we assume that "Jesus" or "Hay Zoos" is paying tribute to "Ze-s".
There's no credible historical evidence that "Ieso"-us came from "Ze"-us. There's not even any modern day similarity when you break down the root and declensions. The name of our Saviour, as traditionally written in Greek, is "Ieso", modified to fit the grammar of a given sentence.
Now let's see how this transliterates...
In Hebrew, Y'shua is spelled Yud, Shin Waw Ayin. So the Hebrew "Yud" becomes a Greek "iota". The "Shin" becomes a "sigma" and the "waw" becomes an "omega". "Eta" is filled in for pronunciation, thus you have "Ieso" in Greek - a perfect transliteration that cannot be accused of some "agenda" or "bias" to make it say something it does not.
And here's an intereting tidbit. "Yehoshua" means "YHWH saves". The shorter form "Yeshua" means "Salvation". "Ieso" is a perfect transliteration of "Yeshua" into Greek, and has a meaning that is similar. "Ieso" means "healer" in Greek. Most Hebrew names, when transliterated into Greek, are meaningless.
People from Indiana are sometimes called "Hoosiers" and sometimes "yahoos". In ancient Babylon, Jews were called "yahoos". I guess the Jesus/Zeus connection theory logic would tell us that people from Indiana must be a lost tribe!
Oh, and notice the similarity between "Yodah", that ugly guy on Star Wars, and "yehudi" (meaning Jew). And "Jedi" verses "Judah". No doubt about it, Yodah is a Jew! We've unmasked this false pretender hiding his ties to G-d's people!
Dog, in English, is an animal that barks.
Dog/Dag, in Hebrew, is a fish.
I guess American Dogs must have evolved from Jewish fishes, huh. Quick, go tell Charles Darwin's prodigies!!! Note how similar they sound. Yes, there just has to be a connection. Those Dagon Fish-god worshippers..... truth is, they were really worshipping dogs, not fishes, huh?
Sin in English = rebellion against G-d.
Sin in Hebrew = thorn, thistle, etc.
Sin in Spanish = without, lacking
You see how easy it is to base a theory on nothing but passing similarities in the way one word in one language sounds like another word in another language.
The Greek Septuagint or LXX (250 BC) uses "Iesous" or "Jesus"
Variants of "Iesous" ("Iesous" or "Iesou" or "Iesoun"), just as it appears in the Greek Textus Receptus, are used in the LXX in numerous places including Ezra and Nehemiah. Joshua son of Nun or Yeshua ben-Nun is called "Iesou" in Nehemiah 8:17 (English numbering) of the Septuagint (LXX) in translating his name from "Yeshua ben Nun". Other people also named "Yeshua" appear as "Iesous" or case variant of "Ieso" in numerous places of the LXX including...
Nehemiah 2:40, 3:2,8,9,4:3,5:2, 8:33, 10:18, 13:19, 17:7,11,39,43,18:7,17, 19:4,5, 20:10, 21:26, 22:1, 7,8,10,24,26 where it was translated from "Yeshua" or "Yeshu" in most of these places.
...and this list is not even exhaustive. I'm using LXX numbering here, not English, which includes Ezra in Nehemiah. "Iesous" also appears in...
Joshua 1:10, 12, 2:1, 2:24, 3:1, and numerous other places, where it was translated from "Yehoshua".
So when the New Testament was translated into Greek, they simply followed the form of the Name that had traditionally been used by the Jewish translators of 250 BC. If it came from some form of "Zeus", a Jew decided to do this some 250 years before Y'shua was even born! So we see how silly this argument really is!
The English evolution of "Iesus" to "Jesus"
Now the English "Jesus" actually evolved from the Latin form of "Iesus". It went from YShUA to "Iesous" in Greek to Latin to English as "Iesus" in the 1611 King James. After a few hundred years, "Iesus" evolved to "Jesus", which is less evolution than many other words in the English language have undergone in that time frame. Let's take a look at a few verses from the 1611 King James....
Luke 4:1-3 "And Iesus, being full of the holy Ghost, returned from the Iordane, and was led by the spirit into the wildernesse, being fourtie dayes tempted of the deuil...he afterward hungred. And the deuil saide vnto him, if thou be the Sonne of God..."
There are no "typos" (mistakes) in the above quote. The evolution of "Iordane" to "Jordan" is more radical than "Iesus" to "Jesus", yet consistant with that evolution of "I" moving to "J". Note the evolutions here. Y'shua or Jesus is "Iesus". We have "holy Ghost", with little "h" and big "G", but we also have big "G" in "Ghost" contrasted with little "s" in "spirit". We have "hungred" not "hungered" (bet you thought that was a typo, huh? Nope - that's exactly as it appeared!!!) not to mention a lot of other variances. And today it would be considered bad grammar to say "he afterward hungered".
Now I prefer to use "Y'shua", not "Jesus", without condemning those who use "Jesus". G-d looks at the heart and the intent behind what people are meaning when they say what they say. "Y'shua" is how the Name is said in the Holy Language, and it's also more internationally recognized than "Jesus". So while there's many reasons to prefer the use of "Y'shua" over "Jesus", condemning people for a mis-pronunciation is ridiculous.