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Friday, August 29, 2008

Jesus? That's Not My Name!

I have a question for all you Christians regarding the supposed disrespect of failing to capitalize the name Jesus at the end of this post. I am sure all of you are familiar with one of Ray's commenting rules:
Any comments that don't properly, and respectfully, capitalize the name "Jesus" and/or "God," or use these in a blasphemous manner, will not be published.
But... why? I am all for capitalizing proper nouns, as proper grammar is something painfully lacking on the Internet. But, why go out of the way for these two exceptions? I'll just focus on Jesus in this post and may make a later post about the Ineffable Name.

Jesus of Nazareth
Have you ever heard someone say that there is historical evidence that there once lived a man named "Jesus" (around whom the mythology of the Bible is centered)? That is a positive indication that that person knows nothing of which they speak. That's because that wasn't his name and (the name) didn't even exist. It is the result of perversion of perversion of perversion from inadequate transliterations and language evolution.

This relates to Ray's rules as, why is reverence supposed to be given to those names? "God" and "Jesus" were never their names. In fact, Jesus does not correlate at all with what his name truly was. Imagine if, thousands of years into the future, when society knows very little historically of our period (for whatever reason) comes across some of Ray's books. A cult begins where the historic book is translated several times and then into other languages. In the process, the names also begin to be improperly transliterated and perverted into something obscure. In the end, this cult begins worshiping the Prophet Rutherford -- God of the Atheists -- and demand his name be properly capitalized for reverence.

This is very much what happened with the "Jesus" name. The actual Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ transliterates as (with dispute) Yehoshua (Yahweh is Salvation). Due to changes in languages, this soon shortens to Yeshua. When it went into Greek, there wasn't a Greek equivalent for the "sh," so it was replaced with "s" and an "s" was added on to the end to make it masculine, thus rendering it now Iesous. And from Greek it now goes to Latin where it is corrupted even further into IESVS.

This was only several hundred years after "Jesus" died. The languages change and evolve over time and, in the process, so does the name as the "v" is replaced with a "u" to distinguish the vowel. Then the English languages beat up on it even more and the name participates in the Great Vowel Shift, etc etc. It eventually ends up as Iesus or Iesu. In fact, the 1611 printing of the King James Version doesn't even use the "Jesus" name yet as it is still spelled with an "I."

We can raise problems with "Christ" and "Lord" as well. If you're wanting to translate his name, though I think it's improper to do so, it would be Joshua.

So, here's the question for Christians and Ray:
What is the greater disrespect here? Failing to capitalize the fictitious name Jesus, or calling him by a fictitious name in the first place? If the name is supposed to be so important that it must be capitalized, surely it is important enough to have the correct name used, then, right? If it's not disrespectful for you to call Yehoshua "Jesus" then why is it disrespectful for someone else to call Yehoshua "jesus"?

1 comment:

Spherical said...

To me, respect is in the eye of the beholder. If that person considers it disrespectful, then to them it is. It is then up to me to decide if I wish to respect their wishes.

Personally, if you do not choose to capitalize jesus, god, or flying spaghetti monster, that is your business. There are much greater disrespects done on a moment by moment basis, that I am sure that God can overlook not choosing to capitalize His name. (Or should i say i am sure that god can overlook not capitalizing his name.)

It is a sad statement that all to many of us get caught up in such trivial things when there are much weightier things to be considered.

Now I've got to get back to grading these 5th grade writing prompt. Talk about your capitalization errors...

PS Thanks for the history lesson.