I've been comparing the Masoretic text and the LXX and was hoping someone on here can answer the question I've been trying to find the answer to. Can someone please break down how the translators got Ιησούς from יהושע? Is it from יהושע or ישוע?


1 Answer 1


The name Ἰησοῦς is used consistently for both Joshua and Jesus in the LXX (not Ιησούς, which is the modernized spelling, though accents weren't marked in the oldest texts). To my knowledge, this is the only accepted Greek spelling for Joshua (attested also in Philo, Life of Moses 1.216 and Josephus, Antiquities 5.1.1).

יְהוֹשֻׁעַ and יֵשׁוּעַ were variants of the same name (as in יֵשׁוּעַ בִּן נוּן Jeshua son of Nun in Nehemiah 8:17). The Greek spelling was certainly from the later Hebrew pronunciation of the name as יֵשׁוּעַ, and not from the spelling יְהוֹשֻׁעַ which is appears more often in earlier texts, since η would not be used to transliterate the Hebrew וֹ as evidenced by the fact that names such as יוֹנָתָן/יְהוֹנָתָן, which never appear as *יֵנָתָן, are transliterated as Ιωναθαν (either with ω, ο or rarely αυ).

  • Thanks this cleared alot of things up for me. Is there a difference in pronouncation of the two forms of Ιησούς with different markings? And why do you think the translators chose the shorter form Yeshua?
    – diego b
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 9:18
  • @diegob The different accents mark different tones (see here); in Modern Greek there is only stress without tone, so the different accents are irrelevant to pronunciation and they only use the acute accent to mark stress. The choice of translating יֵשׁוּעַ is probably because it was simply the more common spoken form in later times (according to Wikipedia it was also much more common in 2nd Temple inscriptions)
    – b a
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 9:36
  • Thanks for all your help. Isn't the ς (sigma) at the end of the Greek name make an s sound? I know they do that to masculine name's in Greek. So wouldn't Jesus be a closer English rendering of Ιησούς than Joshua?
    – diego b
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 18:01
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – b a
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 18:33
  • 1
    @ba - If you like, you can get direct links for Philo and Josephus from archive.org -- fwiw! (Unfortunately the pages have been incorrectly linked up in the Philo scan, so you don't get the proper Greek/English on facing pages....)
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 19:41

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