What’s In A Name? Part 1

Have you heard about that fellow who walked the dusty roads of Palestine some years back? You know, the one raised-handsmost Christians refer to as Jesus Christ? You have? OK, now raise your hand if you’re aware this isn’t his real name.

Whoops! You didn’t raise your hand? Well maybe it’s time for a history lesson.

Let’s go way back — about 2,000-plus years ago. This was the time when a young man by the name of Yeshua (as he was known among his fellow Hebrews) was traveling the countryside talking about Yahweh, one of the Hebrew gods.

Sidenote: according to Wikipedia, Yeshua is a late form of the Biblical Hebrew name, Yehoshuah (pronounced Yeh-ho-shoo’-ah), and translates in English to Joshua. Hmmm …   

Reportedly, this chap performed a few healings, made some wine, talked a bit confusingly at times (parables), and eventually got himself into trouble with the Romans and was killed.

Some years passed, and around 50-75 CE the Koine Greeks began putting together some stories about this rather remarkable fellow (known today as the New Testament). However, their language prevented them from calling him by his Hebrew name, so they transliterated it to Iesous (pronounced in English as “ee-ay-soos”).

A few centuries passed and around 400 CE, the predominate language of Christianity had become Latin. In order to pass on these intriguing stories, it seemed appropriate to translate the Greek writings into the common language. This was done at the behest of Pope Damascus I, a rather prominent figure of the time. The new book became known as the Vulgate, and included events the Hebrew people had recorded in the years prior to the arrival of Yeshua.

When the translator came to the Greek name of Iesous, he decided to transliterate it as Iesus, yet the Greek pronunciation of “ee-ay-soos” was retained. It was this pronunciation and Latin spelling that dominated the Christian world for nearly 1,000 years.

Meanwhile, the English language was evolving, and here’s something interesting — early on, the letter (J) did not exist. It wasn’t until sometime during the early 12th century that (J) began showing up in some obscure dialects of the Middle English language.

The people seemed to like the new sound and eventually, over the next 500 (+/-) years, letters like (I) and (Y) came to be replaced by (J) (e.g., Iames  became “James”, Yohan becameJohn”). Thus, in 1526 when Tyndale translated the New Testament to the English language from the Latin, he used the letter (J) in the the spelling of the name Jesus. This new spelling eventually became pronounced by the general public as “Jee-zuz.

In Part 2, we’ll discover how and why Christ was added to Jesus’ name.

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Why Jesus?

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From All-Free-Download.com

ASSUME, for a moment, the person known as Yeshua/Jesus is genuine … that he was a living, breathing human who traveled the countryside and preached about Yahweh/God.

Now offer your opinion on who you think Jesus really was.

Ignore the Christian perspective that he came to “save the world.” Visualize him without all the fancy trappings of the gospel writers and Paul.

Also, for the sake of discussion, please put aside any belief you might have in the Christ myth theory. Assume that he did indeed exist.

Now offer your opinion … Why Jesus?

  • What was his role in the Abrahamic religion?
  • Why did this unknown Jew reach out to the people?
  • Did he truly see himself as the long-awaited Messiah?
  • Or was his role simply to inspire his people to honor Yahweh?

ADDENDUM

Stephen Wylen, a rabbi at Temple Beth Tikvah, Wayne, NJ, in his book, Jews in the Time of Jesus, asks:

How did the masses to whom Jesus preached understand his message? Who did he seem to be to them? Since the masses did not have a doctrine of the Christ into which they could fit Jesus, what did they think he was?

Think You Know Paul the “Apostle”? Think Again.

Arch directed me to this article about Paul. The writer totally mirrors my thoughts and opinions.

Those of you who know me through my book are aware of my feelings about Paul. He is such a fraud that I try to undermine his “authority” every chance I get!

Following is the beginning of the article to give you a sampling:

Paul was a Pharisee.  One day he had a ‘revelation’.  He changed his name from Saul to Paul, and straightway preached his revelations about the ‘Christ’ in the synagogues.  Paul continued to have new ‘revelations’ that spoke ‘of’ and ‘for’ a Christ, but he was glaringly silent about the actual life of Yahushua (Jesus) and his teachings.  In Paul’s epistles we find him using the words ‘Christ, Son of God, grace, redemption, resurrection, etc.’, but we learn little or nothing about Yahushua and his actual teachings.  They’re virtually absent from Paul’s epistles.  What we learn about are Paul’s revelations.  Roughly 50% of the New Testament (13 epistles) is from Saul, a man who neither knew Yahushua in the flesh, nor was instructed by the apostles.  Rather, he taught by unsubstantiated revelation, Ezekiel 13:2-9.

Paul considered himself the ‘apostle’ to the Gentiles, primarily because his doctrine (called ‘that way’, Acts 19:9, 23) was rejected by Jewish Christians and the Asian churches alike; and he was forced to seek converts who knew nothing of Yahudim (Jewish) customs and the Law.  Paul’s doctrine was adverse to the teachings of Yahushua; and he was often in conflict with James, Peter, and John; the real apostles.  And by the way, Paul was not an apostle.

Paul spent an inordinate amount of time defending himself and his teachings from accusations of guile, lies, and covetousness.  None of the real apostles were so accused.  Paul’s core philosophy of justification by faith and abolition of Torah Law stands in opposition to Yahushua’s statements in the gospels.  Paul thought nothing of lying or practicing pagan customs if it meant gaining a new convert to his own brand of salvation, Romans 3:7, I Corinthians 10:14-21, 9:19-22.

Paul’s words speak for themselves.  His use of personal pronouns in his epistles (I, me, my, mine) is three times that of any other writer.  Paul urged his followers to follow him.  He preached by revelation.  Paul preached his doctrine in the ‘name’ of Christ, but his teachings were not in alignment with Yahushua’s teachings, John 5:43.

Think this is just one person’s opinion? I urge you to do some research. Outside of the bible, Paul is shown for what he really is by dozens of scholars. Further, whether Christians want to admit it or not, they are following the teachings of Paul … not Jesus.

Another Ding in Paul’s Theology

Just read the following comment, made by Steve Ruis, which was in response to a posting at A Humanist’s Perspective blog entitled “An Atheist Analyzes Acts (1:1-11).” Steve’s thoughts are very similar to mine so I decided to republish them here.

Ah, but you gloss over the setting. The group remaining in Jerusalem, lead ostensibly by James the Just, Jesus’ brother and all of the remaining disciples remain observant Jews. They go to temple. They observe Jewish customs and holidays and respect the Torah by abiding by the myriad rules practicing Jews must. Does this sound like a group who will come to the conclusion that Jesus’ life and death have superseded the Torah, in fact the entire Tanakh? Why would they do all of this when Paul insists that it is no longer necessary (Jesus told him so in a vision). Why would Jesus have not told his followers what to do when his “sacrifice” was made? In fact, if Jesus were god, how could he have been sacrificed? And hadn’t the Jews outlawed human sacrifice centuries before and had wages a campaign to obliterate the practice to the point it was abhorrent to them? How could a self-respecting Jew proposed that a human sacrifice was the keystone to a new covenant with God?

(Actually, Jesus did not tell Paul much of anything during the Damascus Road “vision,” but that’s neither here nor there.)

The main point is that the believing Jews (the ones who saw Yeshua as the long-awaited mashiach) did not change their ways. They continued to follow the Torah, perform circumcisions, keep the Sabbath, honor the Jewish festivals, and observe dietary laws. Plus they visited the temple regularly to pray and await apokatastasis pantõn — the final establishment of all God had promised to Israel. It was Paul, the fake and self-declared apostle, that changed everything by declaring the Torah null and void and transforming Yeshua into a savior-god acceptable to his gentile audience.

If believers could only look beyond their embedded teachings of who Paul was (the “ideal Christian”) and visualize him during biblical times, they might see him for what he truly was … a “bombastic maverick, representing no one but himself and under no one’s direction” (Two Different Pauls).

As to Steve’s comment re: sacrifice — in the biblical tradition, sacrifice was a common practice or ritual — but it was NEVER human sacrifice. The only sacrifice acceptable to God as a sin offering by the early Hebrews was animals. Guess who originated the idea that the death of Yeshua (a human) was an acceptable sacrifice to God for the sins of humanity? Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Then there’s the mind-boggling question that remains to be answered … if Jesus was God (as many believe), how could he have been sacrificed?