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Does the name Jesus mean “ Earth-Pig”
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There is an argument being used by some people both by non Christians but also and rather more surprisingly, professing Christians, that the name Jesus actually means Earth-Pig. The “Christians” who use this are primarily those that claim we can only use the Hebrew name of the Messiah and so claim we cannot use the name Jesus. This is normally because they believe that Jesus is a pagan name and so those using the name Jesus are calling on the wrong name. . (please see my writing can we use the name Jesus).
I also have another writing Does Jesus mean Hail Zeus.
The claim basically goes like this.
In Latin the word Jesus means Earth-Pig. The etymology of the word Jesus comes from the Latin and so Jesus means means Earth Pig.
Je = Ge= Earth and Sus = Pig therefore Jesus = Earth-Pig
Sounds plausible. But its important to ascertian if it holds any truth.
The word JE
Firstly, there simply is NO word JE in Latin and so this claim doesn’t hold up to the most simple of scrutiny. There is also no word that contains the letters JE in Latin that relate to the earth. So the claim fails here.
In addition to this, Some people actually state, either dishonestly or ignorantly that the Latin for the English Jesus is Ge which means earth and sus which means pig therefore in the Latin it is Ge-sus and so this proves that the word does in fact mean Earth-Pig. This is again dishonest because the word Jesus is already the English transliteration of the Latin Iesus so the latin is actually Iesus and NOT GE-SUS. You cannot transliterate out of a language then take that transliteration and then try to TRANSLATE that transliteration back into the same language and translate it differently that the word you originally translated it from. This I repeat yet again is DISHONEST or blatantly IGNORANT…I rather think it is being deliberately dishonest but hey lets give people the benefit of the doubt and say its only being ignorant.
How translation works
Its important to note, this is simply NOT how translation works. You cannot derive the etymology of the word Jesus by doing so. Therefore, ANYONE who claims that Jesus means Earth Pig does not know anything about translation or Etymology its that simple (or they do and are being dishonest).
Iesus itself is simply a latin transliteration of the Greek Iesous and Jesus is the transliteration of the latin. Therefore, in the actual latin this claim has no basis at all.
You cannot simply take a word in one language and then automatically apply that word to a word in another language and take the meaning from the other language and apply it back to the first language because thats not how translation is done. Especially when those 2 languages are not derived from one another
For example, I am from England but live in the Czech republic. The word plot is used in both languages. In English it means
- a plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful.
- “there’s a plot to overthrow the government”
- the main events of a play, novel, film, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.
- “the plot consists almost entirely of a man and woman falling in love”
- secretly make plans to carry out (an illegal or harmful action).
- “the two men are serving sentences for plotting a bomb campaign”
- devise the sequence of events in (a play, novel, film, or similar work).
- “she would plot a chapter as she drove”
However in Czech Plot it means a FENCE.
It would NOT be correct to take the Czech meaning of the word and apply it into the English and then use that meaning to show that when a person uses the word plot in English they are actually referring to a fence.
To conclude then, it is VERY simple, Jesus does not mean Earth-Pig in anyway shape or form.
You can buy my book Is God Moral? A biblical analysis here