Which is the better way to pronounce Jesus’ name: Yahsua or Yeshua?


Thank you very much for your article on "Understanding the  Tetragrammaton: How is it Pronounced." I am in total agreement with your research and conclusion as to the Tetragrammaton yhwh being pronounced as yahweh.

Can you share your thoughts and opinion as to the pronunciation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus? Which is more correct in your research and examination: yahsua or yeshua? Please see Acts 26:14-15 (Hebrew).


We have a few complicating factors here. 🙂

First of all, "Hebrew" in the New Testament is usually not referring to Hebrew proper but Aramaic. The Jews of the first century surely knew Hebrew but relegated it to religious services; they spoke to one another in Aramaic, a sister language.

Secondly, while it is clear that Paul and Jesus spoke Aramaic and likely did much of their speaking among the Jews in Palestine in Aramaic, all of the New Testament was originally written in Greek. We do not have any manuscripts of the New Testament in first-century Aramaic. We do have the Peshitta, the Syriac translation of the New Testament, but that text is based on the Greek originals and not some Aramaic originals. Syriac represents a later form of Aramaic.

Having said all that: Jesus' name is the same as Joshua's in Hebrew. It is technically rendered Y'hoshua'. The first ' represents the shewa, which represents either no vowel or a vowel so reduced that it barely is spoken. If you were to put the two parts of the name together, and that was all, you would get "Yahshua." But you often get what is called pretonic vowel reduction -- that is, on a word where the stress is toward the end of the word, the beginning vowel reduces to the least vowel sound necessary to get to the next consonant. Hence, "Yehoshua." Add in the fact that Greek does not do well with "h" sounds in the middle of words, and you get Iosue.

But you don't get "Iesous." For that, you have to turn to the Aramaic form of the same name, which is "Yeshua'" with a full e-vowel at the beginning. That is how you get, after it is made better Greek, Iesous. If we are concerned about Jesus' name in Aramaic, it would thus be Yeshua.

I hope this answers your question.

Ethan R. Longhenry

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