Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
December 24, 2023 ·  3 min read

Jesus Wasn’t Really Named Jesus So What Was His Real Name?

History is both entertaining and educational. On one hand, professionals invest hours into studying patterns, languages, and relics of times past to determine how societies have functioned over thousands of years. On the other hand, no one today was alive hundreds, let alone thousands, of years ago. Therefore, as research comes to light, some facts change, including Jesus’ real name.

Jesus’ Significant Role

Most people know that the Bible is the most printed book in the world. As such, it has been translated into numerous languages, but one name that is surely synonymous with all the versions of the Bible is Jesus. However, Jesus’ real name has a fascinating story. And, as it turns out, it was a fairly common name in his time. According to Christianity, Jesus is the son of God and was sent to Earth as a sacrifice. He sacrificed His life so that all of Earth’s creatures would have the opportunity to be saved. Meanwhile, in Islam, Jesus was a prophet or teacher.

The core of many religions is essentially the same; treat everything with kindness, be grateful for all of life’s ups and downs, and make amends for your mistakes. Additionally, Christians believe that accepting God as their savior will secure a place in Heaven for eternity. However, one detail, Jesus’ real name, has sparked a large discussion. It turns out his name was closer to a name still common today.

Jesus’ Real Name Lost in Translation

His original Hebrew name was Yehōshu’a, or Yeshua for short. “The original Hebrew-Aramaic name of Jesus is Yeshu‘a, which is short for Yehōshu‘a, just as Mike is short for Michael,” explains Dr. Michael L. Brown. “Primarily referring to the high priest after the Babylonian exile, called both Yehōshu‘a and, more frequently, Yeshu‘a.”

When translated from Hebrew to English, Jesus’ real name (Yehōshu‘a) is Joshua. However, the first language of the Bible was actually Greek. The Greek Alphabet doesn’t have a ‘sh’ sound, so it was substituted with an ‘S‘. As a result, the Romanized version, derived from the Old Testament, is Lēsous, which translates in English to Jesus.

Essentially, the confusion or disagreement is a result of translation. Furthermore, historians note that regardless of Jesus’ real name, the details of his birth and much of his life have remained consistent.

Jesus’ Real Name Commonly Occurred

Jesus’ real name, Joshua, is thought to be common for that time because archaeologists have discovered tombs of 71 Yeshuas, all from around the time of Jesus’ death. Additionally, the name is in the Old Testament, referencing at least four different people. Two of the most notable were a descendant of Aaron, the biological brother of Moses, and a man known for escorting freed captives of Nebuchadnezzar back to Jerusalem.

Undergoing Several Translations

It is believed that today’s spelling likely originated in Switzerland because ‘J’ sounds more like a ‘y’ keeping on theme with the Hebrew spelling. In the 1611 King James Bible, Jesus is referred to as ‘Lesus’ and Joseph ‘Loseph.’ Likely the result of the drafting of the Geneva Bible. English Protestants fled to Switzerland to escape rule under Queen Mary I, a devout Catholic. The “refugees” used Swiss spelling, which was later adapted by English Translators by 1769. Moreover, the Syriac Bible was translated from Greek into Aramaic and adapted the English spelling as well.

Furthermore, while most people think Jesus’ real name was Jesus Christ, his last name also has a complex translation history. He likely would have been known by those close to him as either Yeshua Bar Yehosef meaning “Jesus (Joshua), son of Joseph. Or Yeshua Nasraya meaning “Jesus (Joshua) of Nazareth.” The addition of Christ to Jesus’ name came from the Greek word meaning “anointed one.”

Keep Reading: This Revelation by Scientists Shows What Jesus Christ Actually Looked Like


  1. Was Jesus a Common Name Back When He Was Alive?Slate. Brian Palmer. April 9, 2023.
  2. Was Jesus’s Real Name Yeshua or Joshua and Is There A ‘Right’ Way to Identify the Son of God?Newsweek.
  3. What Was Jesus’ Real Name?PBS.