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[edit] Where did "Yeshu" come from?

Some people say "Yeshu" is a cursed way of refering to Yeshua or Yehoshua, our Savior. While some people have tried to turn it into a curse, this does not mean it is the origin of the form "Yeshu" in replacement of "Yeshua". In reality, Yeshu is a natural Aramaization of the Hebrew name "Yeshua", and is what many believers in Aramaic called Him. But there is an important reason why even non-Aramaic believers sometimes preferred to use this form of His Name, rather than the more proper Hebrew "Yeshua".
Some people think that "Yeshu" is a form of His Name that is a curse, but some unbelieving Jews have used "Yeshu" in ways that are not an attempt to curse Yeshua at all. Yitzhak von Troki explained why Jews say "Yeshu" in this way...

"Jews spell Jesus "ישו" (Yud, Shin, Vav) because the ע AYIN is omitted in the pronunciation of the Christians." (Yitzhak von Troki, 1533-1594 , in Faith Strengthened, as translated to English by Moses Mocatta, 1850)

So basically, he simply says, "we got it from Christians". Where did Christians get it from? Were they tricked into using a 'cursed form'? Actually, this may not be the case at all, but they may indeed have seen this as a benevolent form.

Irenaeus (2nd century AD) said this...

"Jesus [Yeshua], which is a word belonging to the proper tongue of the Hebrews, contains, as the learned among them declare, two letters and a half, and signifies that Lord who contains heaven and earth"
(Irenaeus Vs Heresies, Book II, Chapter XXIV, 2, late 2nd century AD, CCEL translation to English)

Now let's try to understand what Irenaeus was talking about. He is refering to the use of "Yeshu", or YUD SHIN VAV in Hebrew. And he is describing this as a notarikon for the following...

1.. YUD (י) => short for YHWH
2.. SHIN (ש) => short for SHamayim (the heavens)
3.. VAV (ו) => short for V'Eretz (and earth)

Thus, Irenaeus saw "Yeshu" as a notarikon for "YHWH of Heaven And earth". "Lord" was usually substituted for the Divine Name. Because of this, the Name "Yeshu" may have been a form of "Yeshua" that brought before the mind of the believer thoughts of His Deity.

Later, it seems that perhaps in response to this earlier notarikon mentioned by Irenaeus, we find that rabbis invented a new notarikon for the Name "Yeshu", that was...

1.. YUD => short for Yimakh (may blot out)
2.. SHIN => short for Shmo (His Name)
3.. VAV => short for Ve’zichro (And forgotten)

Thus, they reinterpreted "Yeshu" as a notarikon for "May his Name be Blotted out And forgotten". Perhaps this was done because believers in the Gospel saw the Deity of the Messiah in the Name "Yeshu", and they wanted to demonstrate that you could make a lot of things out of it, and 'seeing' the Deity in the Name "Yeshu" was no certain feat - you could make those 3 letter stand for a lot of things, and they eliminated the perception that the Name "Yeshu" implied the Deity of Yeshua by demonstrated that it could be made to stand for something else.

Now today, most believers have completely forgotten the notarikon of "Yeshu" as possibly originally being viewed as a notarikon for "YHWH of Heaven And earth", and only remember the Rabbinical perversion of this form of the Name. They've even come to believe that references to Yeshua as "Yeshu" is an inherit curse, when perhaps it was not in the beginning. Early believers may well have seen "Yeshu" as near and dear to the hearts of believers in that it caused them to think of His Deity, as Irenaeus discussed in the 2nd century AD.

There is no evidence I know of that the form of the name "Yeshu" , as applied to Yeshua, originated as a curse, and may well have been nothing more than a response to believers who had turned the Name into something that implied the Diety of Yeshua from very early days.

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