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Prof Ira

First, thanks for reading my blog, B.J.

As to your thoughtful questions, please let me state right up front that the questions you ask are generally beyond my capabilities to answer. Still, I will give it a shot.

As to the Arab-Isareli conflict, I don't think that holding to certain names would have changed or affected the outcome. The problem today, which has its modern roots going back some 70 years, is not about names. Rather is is about land and religion.

As for the Hebrew names of God, I agree that the English renditions of God's various names (or Names), loses something in the translation. Still, I also believe that spreading the teachings of God in the language that more people can understand is a good thing.

As for who is an "original" descendant of the ancient Jews and other lands, I think that is not critical at all. This is because within Judaism, anyone who converts to Judaism is a Jew. Period. Whether or not someone can trace his biological roots to Abraham is not important. What is important is that someone is a Jew, and this is so regardless of his or her level of observance. As I have said and written, through the centuries, when evildoers have persecuted and murdered Jews, they did not first ask whether their victims kept kosher.

I hope my answers help somewhat. I hope you will continue reading my blog and comment again.



B. J. Miller

What impact do you think it would have had on the current Middle East crisis if Christians had to use the Mediterranean sounding names of the region in their Bibles? Another issue is the Hebrew names of God? Should not have been given translations. Also what do you say about the original people of the area? The Old Testament constantly refers to the sons of Abraham cohabiting with the sons of Ham. Where do you weigh in as a Jew on the argument about who is a biological descendent of Abraham?

Prof Ira

Hello Pastor. Thank you for reading my blog. In answer to your question, I think the Complete Jewish Study Bible may be of assistance to you. Here are the links: http://www.biblestudytools.com/cjb/. https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Jewish-Study-Bible-Illuminating/dp/1619708698 I hope this helps. I will also email you. Shalom!

mukisa isaac


Prof Ira

I am sending you an email, Arlon. (And thanks for reading my blog.)


Arlon Stubbe

I am currently finishing a novel based on the Jesus narrative, primarily using the synoptic gospels, and came across your article on "Hebrew Names for Jewish Apostles." I'd like permission to use the spelling of names you refer to in that article instead of the westernized forms that are normally seen.

I'd credit you with that use and list the link for your article in a preface to my book, if given permission to do so. I realize that the names themselves are not sourced only by you, but out of courtesy I'd like to mention you as my source and give readers the opportunity to explore your articles/blogs for themselves.

Please respond to this request via e-mail, if possible. See my info below.

Prof Ira

Thank you so much, Marc, for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. Please forgive me for not responding sooner. Thank you also for your kind words. I appreciate it greatly. Your book sounds fascinating and I wish you much success with it.



Marc Stutzel

Excellent. A nice summary of what it took me many years to research decades ago. I found this page as part of my current interfaith / environmental book research.
'It Only Gets Better".
Seven spiritual warriors guided by the Divine time travel to change the past to save the future.
I love the "Deeds not creeds" like my favorite archaic Hebrew proverb.
"Actions speak louder then prayers" Blessings Marc

Prof Ira

Thank you for writing, Gary.

As for your question: The traditional Jewish belief (of which I share, being a Jew) is that Jesus was not the Messiah and could not be son of God in a literal sense. While there is indeed overlap between these two great relgions, the idea of God having a son is simply incongruant with the traditional Jewish understanding of God. Trinitarism is fully not part of Judaism.

As for the Messiah, the Jewish view is that he will be a mere mortal who will lead Isarel and all mankind into a golden age, which has yet to be realized.

In short, yes, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah, whoever that person will be.

Again, thank you for writing.



You honor Paul for turning the message of Jesus into a religion in his name that totally dwarfs Judaism...but you ignore the fact that the first Christ must be a farce for your new Christ to come? You are still waiting for the true Jeshua..

Prof Ira

Thanks, again, Tranna, for your newest comment! As to your questions/comments--there is much in what you say. Women were not treated in the same manner as men in ancient times. That said, within Judaisim, women were not the same, but one could say that such fact did not mean that they were treated poorly. Thus, for example, a husband was (and is, to this day) obligated to satisfy his wife; she has no such obligation to satisfy him. In fact, the "ketubah," the marriage contract, is unilateral in nature: the husband makes promises to the wife (to pay for medical expenses, to feed her, clothe her, ransom her). If you are interested, you can check this out for a sample ketubah and explanation. http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9290-ketubah While this might seem unusual from our p;respective, from a perspective of 3,000 years ago, this was nothing if not revolutionary.

Thanks, again, for writing!



Thank you for your quick response! I must confess the Anglosized names of the disciples made me ask myself what else did the translators "editorialize" in order to satisfy the monarch that commissioned the work. Certainly, when it comes to education, the poor seldom had the opportunity to go to school for any length of time. In England and other countries, the Bible was used as the primary teaching tool and school for the poor was the responsibility of the church. The teachings put the fear of God in people to promote obedience and control the masses. An example of religion used as a political tool to control society can be identified in the legal position that women in society intrinsically as being of less value than men as seen in their struggle to be recognized as "Persons in the eyes of the law", in the restriction placed on physians prohibiting them from informing women about how their reproductive system worked, and women being viewed as chattel or simply one of their husband's possessions! I could go on, but I am sure that these beliefs and values were not the word of God! What are your thoughts about my suspicions?

Prof Ira

What a great question, Tranna! In short, yes, I do believe that the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (what Jews call the Torah) are we're authored by God. I also believe that the balance of the Hebrew Scriptures were authored by men inspired by God. Of course, we do not have the original holographs, making biblical scholarship truly worthwhile. Additonally, the Hebrew Scritpures (what Christians know as the Old Testament) were intended for the Jewish people, although history clearly tells us that other people derive great understanding from reading these works.

Of course, as a Jew, I do not believe that the Christian Scriptures (what Christians know as the New Testament) were Divinely authored or inspired. If I did, I would be Christian! Needless to say, I say this with the utmost respect.

Along these lines, Paul of Tarsus was a brilliant man. He took the religion of Jesus and turned it into a religion about Jesus. In the process, he made his works universal--not just for Greeks or Roman's, but for anyone. Brilliant, truly brilliant. Which probably explains why there are 15 million Jews today and 2 billion Christians.

Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. I hope you will continue to do so!




I have a broader question that relates to the topic of biblical translations. I have always known that those Anglosized names were not the real names of the disciples. I understand the rationale of giving the disciples common non-Jewish names so that Enish speaking people could better relate to the stories of Christ. On thinking about the licence taken by the translators, I wonder just how far they went to making the stories from a foreign culture fit into their readers' culture. I am a teacher who taught students concepts that were foreign to many of them. As such, I needed to frame my explanations in a way that they could embrace and explore. Language is important because the meaning of our culture and its beliefs and values are embedded in the words and the context in which they are used. Are you confident that the lessons taught in the Bible truly represent the word of God?

Prof Ira

Thank you so much, Tony, for reading my blog and for your nice comment. There are some English-language Bibles out there that use the Hebraic names of Jesus and the others (e.g. Miriam for Mary). You can find these on line. Thanks again, and please visit again soon!


Tony Wankadia

Thank you for this commentary on the correct names.It is high time that publishers and translators of bibles into English made the public aware of the correct names by putting in the correct names in the bibles in English. I think it is blasphemy to invent names that have no meaning .
Yeshua (Jesus) was Hebrew and so were his disciples and their actual names should appear in the English bibles.
Thank you.

Prof Ira

Thank you, Rahul, for taking the time to read my blog and for your comment. I was especially intrigued with the Indian connection you presented. Fascinating! Thank you again. Shalom!


Rahul Bhattacharya

Thank you for this well researched and highly informative post.
I was especially interested to see that the original Aramaic or Hebrew names are closely similar to Christian names in South India.
My mother belongs to the Syrian Christian community of Kerala in India. This is a population that is descended (or converted by) Syrian traders from the time of Christ.
While modern names within the community tend to be more Anglicized, the traditional names have survived the millennia. Chako (Jacob), Mathai (Matthew), Ouseph (Joseph), Yohan (John), Thoma (Thomas), Avira (Abraham) and Chandy (Alexander) are all common names within this community.

Prof Ira

Hi Lionel.

Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting with your kind words. Of course, feel free to use this post for your ministry. I would be honored, sir.

Thank you.


E. Lionel Perry

Thank you very much for this information sir. It had been on my mind for quite some time to find out the actual Hebrew, ethnic origins of the Apostle's names to share in my ministry if you don't object. I am a truth seeker and I like to refer to Jesus with His Jewish name, so this was truly helpful to me.I feel that true education needs to be dismmenated to all.

Prof Ira

Hi Kendra. Good question! The names became Anglicized when English-speaking Bibles came into use. Here is a citation that you may find interesting. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations_into_English I hope this helps you out. Thank you for reading my blog and for writing. Shalom!

Prof Ira


Hi - At what point were the names Anglicized then?

Prof Ira

Thanks so much for writing, Chris. Your points are well taken. Here is another: Isn't it fascinating that Jews had Greek names, when the Maccabees began their rebellion against the Greco-Syrians in 175 B.C.E. to stop assimilation and eradication of Judaism. So the Maccabees won, and Hellenization still made its way into the culture. Sigh.

Oh, and please forgive me for taking time to replay. I have been having a technical problem.

Thanks for commenting.


chris M

May I add, There is people named Joshua in New Testament, there is no way any of the Gospel writers would have translated Their own Jewish names unless they had to and where ever they do it is mentioned.Levi- Matthew, Emmanuel/ Joshua/ Jesus , Peter Simon Cephas.When John the Baptist is named, Angel gives the name. When Jesus is named Angel gives the name. Why would gospel writer go to that length to tell where name came from then afterwards Translate it. Even those who first wrote it in Greek could have mentioned as in other passages where second names are mentioned.

chris M

Interesting discussion
But why does there seem to be a understanding that Hebrews didnt get greek names? Paul is identified with both Saul and Paul. So is Peter and Cephas and Simon. Gospels go to length to explain these names. Maybe they just had Greek names just as today most people have english names even though they are not english.

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