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the ultimate Christian name
Posted: 16 June 2013 11:16 PM   [ Ignore ]
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There are many given names in European languages derived from the Bible, usually those of the apostles eg John, Sean, Juan, Jean, Johann, Ivan etc., but as far as I know only Spanish has Jesus (Portuguese?). Why is this? Did other languages consider it blasphemous?
In Arabic it is a fairly common arabicised as the first name Isa and there are more Mohammeds than you can shake a crozier at.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This topic is potentially inflammatory.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s a straightforward and innocuous question about why Jesus is only used as a given name in Spanish and Arabic. It has long puzzled me and I look forward to constructive suggestions.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It has puzzled me too. I wonder if boys with this name are named not directly for Jesus Christ, but after one of the saints with the sobriquet de Jesus? A good candidate would be St Felipe de Jesus, the first Mexican saint and patron saint of Mexico City; the more so as it’s my impression - possibly quite wrong - that Jesus is a commoner given name in Hispanic America than it is in Spain.

If a boy were given the name Felipe de Jesus, he might quite naturally come to be known simply as Jesus in everyday use, just as all the girls baptised as Maria del Pilar / de Montserrat / de la Encarnación, et cetera are normally known just as Pilar, Montserrat and Encarnación.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Jesus is a Greek form of Joshua, and there are a lot of people named Joshua in a number of cultural traditions. Of course, pretty much everyone today would consider them separate names, and most of those named Joshua would be named after the Old Testament figure, if a Biblical allusion was intended at all. (Many are probably so named simply because their parents liked the name, not out of any particular religious devotion.)

Given names are very much subject to cultural tradition and fashion of the day. You don’t see non-Germans named Helmut or many Romans in the Germanic (including English) traditions. If you meet a woman who goes by the name Mary Margaret, it’s a pretty good bet she’s of Irish extraction. Etc.

Jesus would seem be just such a case, a name that’s considered an act of devotion in one tradition and either just not thought of as an option or blasphemous—or at least in questionable taste—in others. The Arabic is explained by the fact that in Islam Jesus is simply another prophet, so naming a child Isa is akin to naming him Samuel or John. And Mohammed, while greatly revered, is not considered divine, so naming a child after him is not the same thing as naming a child after Jesus.

[ Edited: 17 June 2013 05:03 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 17 June 2013 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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In the Southern California part of the Spanish speaking world, boys named Jesus are often called by friends and family by the nickname “Chuy” (pronounced Chewy).

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Posted: 17 June 2013 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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- I’m not the Messiah!
-- Oh Yeshua.

Are there many Spanish Spanish people called Jesús or is it mostly a Latin American thing?

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Posted: 17 June 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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According to Wikipedia there is a Spanish football (soccer) player (who plays in England, for Manchester City), named Jesus Navas, and a Spanish conductor named Jesus Lopez-Cobos.

edited for typo

[ Edited: 17 June 2013 01:42 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 17 June 2013 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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One well-known American (at least) bore the name, that man of many secrets James Jesus Angleton.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Based on information in the Wikipedia entry, his mother was presumably Mexican, so this likely reflects Hispanic cultural influence.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I once knew an American-born guy with a Spanish surname, with Christian name Jesus who insisted on pronouncing it the American way.  The pronunciation elicited a number of sidelong glances.

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Posted: 18 June 2013 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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It seems to be peculiar to Hispanics among the Latin peoples (I never heard of a Frenchman, or an Italian, or a Portuguese named Jesus—which isn’t to say there aren’t any, but there certainly can’t be many). And to answer Syntinen Laulu --- it’s a direct reference to Jesus, not an indirect one: Hispanic males are often christened Jesús María* or Jesús María José.  Piety takes different forms among different nations.

*the more elderly among us may remember the world-famous Puerto Rican pianist, Jesús María Sanromá (1902-1984), whose ancestors were Hispanic.

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Posted: 24 June 2013 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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There was a largely worthless thread in the Guardian‘s Notes and Queries section about the apostles’ names where readers supply answers. There was some informed stuff, however.

(As Dave said:)

Jesus wouldn’t have recognised the modern English version of his name, which comes to us via Late Latin (pron. YAY-zus); from Greek Iēsous, from Hebrew/Aramaic Yēshūaʽ.

Yehudah, Shimon, Petros, Andreas, Ya’qov, Yohanna, Mattityahu, Tau’ma, Bar Talmai… These are the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek names which, when transliterated into the Latin alphabet and changed over time, became names like Simon, Andrew, James, Thomas, etc.

Someone points out that Ian is another version of John which I didn’t know cf. Ivan and, I now realise, Jan.

I’ve got more on Arabic Ibrahimic names but no time now.

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Posted: 24 June 2013 04:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Names of Hebrew origin usually have a meaning.  Yokhanan or Yehokhanan (the original of John) means “God has pardoned” or “God has been merciful” (In Oscar Wilde’s play Salome, John the Baptist—who, at one point in the play, loses his head completely—is referred to as “Jokanaan"). Yeshua is a shortened form of Yehoshua, ("Joshua") and means “God is salvation”.
Ya’akov is a Hebrew name which has undergone many transformations in European languages, from “James” in English through “Seamus” in Irish to “Iago” in Othello and “Santiago” ("Saint James") in Spanish.

The website below has a great deal of information about first names. From what little I know about names, it appears to be well-informed, but of course the usual caveats apply to information gathered from the Internet. There are plenty of sites to which one can go for corroboration. 

http://www.behindthename.com/

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Posted: 25 June 2013 04:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Watching Rawhide in my youth, it always used to bemuse me that in the end credits the Mexican cook’s name was spelt ’Hey Soos‘. That is, I can get that TV execs in the early 1960s, might well feel that American audiences would react badly to a character having the name ‘Jesus’ - and of course that in many parts of the country they wouldn’t relate the spelling to the spoken name at all. But if that was a problem, why on earth didn’t they just call the character Paco or Miguel?

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Posted: 25 June 2013 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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In Sat Lake City in the 70s and 80s persons named Jesus were addressed as Jesse.

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