Why is His name Jesus and not Joshua?

The catechism #2666 says:

“But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.” The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation."

But that isn’t exactly correct is it? The name Joshua means YHWH saves. The name Jesus comes from Joshua so it’s basically the same thing, but Jesus doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just the Aramaic form of Joshua. In the same way that Yohanan, for example, in Hebrew means God is Grace, but “John”, in English doesn’t mean anything.

So if the name Jesus was given by an angel, why wouldn’t the angel just give him the name Joshua? Why go with the Aramaic form that is a corruption of the original name and doesn’t mean anything? There were Rabbis in that period named Joshua. People would have accepted that name.

Jesus’ name IS Joshua. For those who were speaking Aramaic, Jesus included, he was Yeshua bar Yosef. In Hebrew, he would be Yehoshua ben Yosef. The name the angel gave him is indeed Y[eh]oshua or Joshua, and that is exactly what Yosef named him.

We simply call Jesus Jesus because the English version of the name is derived from the Latin, and the Latin itself is derived from the language in which the New Testament is written: Koine Greek. Greek, of course has Iesous, which in turn is just the Greek for Joshua = Yah Saves. Even in the Septuagint, the sixth book of the Bible is the Book of Jesus.

In other words, no big deal.

I think Jesus’ name in aramaic is “Eashoa”. Here’s how to pronounce it:


The Hebrew name Yehoshua (Joshua) translates into Greek as IHCOYC (Iesous) and Latin as IESVS.


The full Hebrew version of the name is J’hoSHUa8. The J is pronounced Y; I’m guessing on the stressed syllable; and the 8 stands for the Hebrew consonant 8ayin, which is not pronounced in modern Hebrew, and is the bane of Western learners in those Semitic languages where it is pronounced, like Arabic.

The short Hebrew form of the name is J’SHUa8; in modern speech you can forget about the 8ayin. You can hear that pronunciation among Messianic Jews.

The Aramaic form of the name, as heard in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, is JEshua8; again, skip the 8ayin.

Our English version “Jesus” has been filtered through the Greek Iesous and the Latin Iesus. At some later date the J (consonantal I) acquired a “dzh” pronounciation, and we started vocalizing intervocalic s’s, turning them into z’s --DZHEEzus. The pronunciation by English people at the time of the first publication of the KJV / D-R versions would likely have been indistinguishable from the Latin pronunciation; even as late as the 1980s, when we were living in England, I would hear that pronunciation from time to time.

Hope this helps.

No, look up the meaning of the name John; it retains its original meaning. I bet Ian, Sean, Jean, also do.

I never knew the number 8 was a letter :smiley:


I use it because copying a Hebrew 8ayin into my English text is a bear, and because if you cut the top curve off the 8, what’s left looks like a handwritten Hebrew 8ayin.

Hi, Alexander!
…it seems that you have answered your query… the angel gave the Name… here’s what Scriptures say about the Name:

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

As I understand it St. Mary and St. Joseph lived in an area where Aramaic was spoken… other than siding with the naysayers, why do you have an issue with God’s choice of language?

Maran atha!


That is a very good answer, but it seems that it is a bigger deal than that. The angel and the one who sent him would have had every reason to choose the Hebrew form over the Aramaic as the etymology of this particular name is of global importance. The Hebrew form would seem to be far more appropriate.

Perhaps I should phrase my question in the scholastic format: It would seem that it were not fitting for the angel to give the Aramaic form of the name rather than the Hebrew.

Presumably, the Blessed Virgin only heard one form of the name.

Unless you think that He might really have been called Yehoshua by His contemporaries? Because your answer seems to leave room for that possibility. Does the Magisterium of the Church leave room for that possibility? I would suspect not. I think there is general agreement that He as never actually called Yehoshua, but always Yeshua.

Also, the Gospel is careful about subtle differences of names, for example, Judas and Jude.

Judas son of James is still Judas. And Jesus and His family would have been familiar with Greek.

What would that 8 letter have sounded like?

The name mentioned by the Angel is also a part of a text which was to be translated into other languages. Nevertheless, all names in translation should climb to the very meaning of the names in the original text/language. Names in translated texts are influenced by the languages used in translation, for example, from Aramaic to English via Greek, Latin, or so.

Aramaic was the common language of the community where the Holy Family lived, this makes this language a suitable one to be used by the Angel, though Hebrew was also prominent national wise. Here we culminate to the reality that what is important is what God wanted to say by the words he chose to use as the Name of his Son, that is “YHWH saves” and if this was to be represented by the letters (put it in Aramaic) J-o-s-h-u-a, then all the other translations be it Iesous (Gk), or Iesus (Latin) or Yesu (Swahili), etc., should present the same intended message that is “YHWH saves.”

First of all, we do not know what language Mary perceived the angels message in, but a most reasonable assumption would be Aramaic. So if that is the likely case, she would have heard the name in whatever the Aramaic form is: Yeshua. Since Jesus’ native language was Aramaic, Yeshua was in all likelihood his familiar name, Yeshua bar Yosef his full, formal name.

So yes, no big deal. Jesus is simply the English form of the Latin Iesus, which in turn is the Latin form of the Greek Iesous, which is nothing more than that Greek form of the Hebrew Yehoshua or Yeshua (which is also Aramaic. At least in Hebrew, the [ho] is merely a variant of the same name: Jehoram is the same name as Joram, Jehoash is the same name as Joash).

Judas and Jude are in the same boat. The name is the same: Judas, the Greek of the Hebrew Yehudah.

And the Magisterium of the Church does not deal with technical questions like these.

Here is a video of the pronunciations of the letters of the Arabic alphabet. I wish I had been able to access this when I was first learning. Anyway, the 8ain is at 1:52 in the video.


Hi, Alexander!
…yet, the name is the thing… it is not the origin (since we know from Scriptures that Salvation comes from the Jews and that the Jews refuse that very Salvation) that’s important… While the angel, the One Who sent him and Yeshua are thinking global, the Jews continue to think “Israel only.”

So how would restricting the Revelation of God to one specific nation/region of the world make it more universal?

Maran atha!


My comment about Judas and Jude was a last second thought without enough consideration.

Meanwhile, thank you for your explanation. I suppose you’re right, ultimately it doesn’t matter so long as the intention behind the etymology is understood.

Well, first, why would using Hebrew be better?

Secondly, it all doesn’t matter because the name is the same in all the languages. It’s just translated. From John to Hans to Ivan to Keoni to Shoqan… it’s all the same name with the same meaning.

…I don’t usually do so… but as I scrolled down I read you signature quote… thanks! :clapping::clapping::clapping:

Maran atha!


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