Re: Pronunciation of IHSOUS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Mar 09 1997 - 13:08:07 EST

At 9:02 PM -0600 3/8/97, Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church wrote:
>How do you pronounce the name of Jesus in Greek, IHSOUS?
>I have heard it pronounced differently and would like the input of the
>Greek list.
>Do you say, a (long a) - sous, ee-a (long a)-sous, yea-sous, yee-a-sous,

This is an interesting question, the answer to which is made somewhat more
difficult by the fact that in the Latin transliteration IESUS the "I" is
definitely a consonant with the sound of English consonantal "Y." I know of
no evidence for pronunciation of Greek Iota as a consonant, wherefore my
initial guess would be that the pronunciation of the Greek name IHSOUS
would have been trisyllabic: ee-ay-soos. The question is how the Latin form
was originally pronounced: "IE" could spell the monosyllable "YAY" or it
could spell the combination of consonantal plus vocalic "I" where only one
"I" is written: e.g., the compound verb from DIS + IACIO, although it is
pronounced "dis-yi-ki-o" follows a convention that only one "I" is written,
so that the compound verb is spelled "DISICIO." The question is whether
the reverse is also true--that (vocalic "I" + consonantal "I") would be
spelled with a single "I." My inclination is to think this was NOT the
case and that the Latin name was pronounced exactly as it continues to be
pronounced in ecclesiastical Latin, namely "Yay-soos."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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