desert, wilderness

The Greek that is translated as “desert” or “wilderness” in English is translated as “a place where noisiness is cut off (or: stops)” in Mairasi and “big barren-field” (pandaso bhalano) in Muna.

Sources: Mairasi: Enggavoter 2004 and Muna: René van den Berg.

See also wilderness.

complete verse (Luke 8:29)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 8:29:

  • Uma: “There was there a townsperson who was possessed by many demons. For a long time that person had not worn-clothes and he did not live in a house. His living-place was just the graves. He was often possessed. Even if he has bound by ropes and chains and continually watched, he could still break his bindings and escape/run-away going to the empty-place, because he was carried by the strength of the demons that possessed him. When Yesus landed/disembarked from the boat going to the shore, that possessed person came to meet him. When he saw Yesus, he shouted and kneeled in front of him. Yesus ordered those demons to go-out. That person said loudly: ‘Ee Yesus, Child of God who is in heaven! Why have you(s) come? I request that you(s) do not torment me!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “He spoke like this because Isa commanded hep the demon to come out from him. Formerly he had often hep been ruled over by demons and even if he was tied with a chain and was watched by people, he eventually broke the chain and was taken by the demon to the lonely country.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when Jesus got out of the boat, he happened on to a person who had before been inhabitant there in the town of the Gergesenes, and he was afflicted with demons. And as for that person, for a long time he had not worn clothes; he did not live in a house, rather he lived there in the burial caves. It was not just a few times only that that man was controlled by that which wants to harm him, and even though he was often fastened with chains and guarded by people, he easily broke the chains and the demon lead him away into the land where no people lived. But when he saw Jesus he shouted out and he fell on his face in front of Jesus, saying with a very loud voice, ‘You Jesus, son of the very high God, what are you going to do with me? I beg you that you do not punish me yet!’ He said this because Jesus said to the demon that he should come out of him.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Often also he was hardshipped by the evil-spirits, and even though his townmates repeatedly-confined him and repeatedly-chained his hands and feet, he snapped the chains nonetheless while the evil-spirits also made-him-run to isolated places. So when he saw Jesus, he screeched and immediately-knelt face-down to him. Then he said shouting, ‘Ay Jesus, Child of the Highest God, why are you (singular) bothering-us/me? Please-be-so-kind (strong request) as to not punish-us/me!’ That is what he said, because Jesus commanded the evil-spirits to leave him.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “He spoke like that for Jesus had ordered that one possessing/making-crazy to leave that man. That being-made-crazy of his was really continuous now. No matter what would be done to take-care-of him, it couldn’t be done. For even with fettering him, binding him with chains, he couldn’t be detained, for he would snap them. Well that one possessing him kept leading him there to the wilderness place.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)


The Greek Iēsous is “only” a proper name but one with great importance. The following quote by John Ellington (in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 401ff.) illustrates this:

“In Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph is told that when Mary gives birth to a son ‘you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ (1:21). This name is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name [Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) which is a short form of a name meaning] ‘the Lord [Yahweh] saves.’ The name is very significant and is in itself especially dear to Christians around the world. (…) Unquestionably great importance is attached to the name of Jesus by Christians of all persuasions and backgrounds.”

While Iēsous (pronounced: /i.ɛː.suːs/) is transliterated as “Jesus” (pronounced /ˈdʒiːzəs/) in English it is transliterated and pronounced in a large variety of other ways as well, following the different rules of different languages’ orthographies, writing systems and rules of pronunciation. The following is a (very partial) list of forms of Jesus in Latin characters: Chesús, Ciisusu, Gesù, Gesû, Gesü, Ġesù, Giêsu, Hesu, Hesús, Iesu, Ihu, Íosa, Ìosa, Isus, Isus, Isus, Isuthi, Îtu, Jasus, Jeesus, Jeesus, Jehu, Jeso, Jesús, Jésus, Jezi, Jézi, Ježiš, Jezus, Jézus, Jėzus, Jēzus, Jezusi, Jėzus, Jezuz, Jisos, Jisọs, Jisas, Jisu, Sisa, uJesu, ŵaYesu, Xesosi, ´Xesús, Ya:su, Yēēsu, Yeso, Yésʉs, Yexus, Yezo, Yezu, Yiisu, Yiitju, Yisufa, Yusu, Zîsɛ, Zjezus, and this (equally incomplete) list with other writings systems: ᔩᓱᓯ, Յիսուս, ᏥᏌ, ኢየሱስ, ܝܫܘܥ, Ісус, 耶稣, იესო, ईसा, イエス, 예수, येशू, യേശു, ජේසුස්, যীশু, ‘ঈছা, இயேசு, ఏసు, เยซู, យេស៊ូ, يَسُوعَ (note that some of these might not display correctly if your computer does not have the correct fonts installed).

Click or tap here to read more).

In some languages the different confessions have selected different transliterations, such as in Belarusian with Isus (Ісус) by the Orthodox and Protestant churches and Yezus (Езус) by the Catholic church, Japanese with Iesu (イエス) (Protestant and Catholic) and Iisusu (イイスス) (Orthodox), or Lingala with Yesu (Protestant) or Yezu (Catholic). These differences have come to the forefront especially during the work on interconfessional translations such as one in Lingala where “many hours were spent on a single letter difference” (source: Ellington, p. 401).

In Chinese where transliterations of proper names between the Catholic and Protestant versions typically differ vastly, the Chinese name of Jesus (Yēsū 耶稣) remarkably was never brought into question between and by those two confessions, likely due to its ingenious choice. (Click or tap here to see more).

The proper name of God in the Old Testament, Yahweh (YHWH), is rendered in most Chinese Bible translations as Yēhéhuá 耶和華 — Jehovah. According to Chinese naming conventions, Yēhéhuá could be interpreted as Yē Héhuá, in which would be the family name and Héhuá — “harmonic and radiant” — the given name. In the same manner, 耶 would be the family name of Jesus and 稣 would be his given name. Because in China the children inherit the family name from the father, the sonship of Jesus to God the Father, Jehovah, would be illustrated through this. Though this line of argumentation sounds theologically unsound, it is indeed used effectively in the Chinese church (see Wright 1953, p. 298).

Moreover, the “given name” of 稣 carries the meaning ‘to revive, to rise again’ and seems to point to the resurrected Jesus. (Source: J. Zetzsche in Malek 2002, p. 141ff., see also tetragrammaton (YHWH))

There are different ways that Bible translators have chosen historically and today in how to translate the name of Jesus in predominantly Muslim areas: with a form of the Arabic Isa (عيسى) (which is used for “Jesus” in the Qur’an), the Greek Iēsous, or, like major 20th century Bible translations into Standard Arabic, the Aramaic Yēšūaʿ: Yasua (يَسُوعَ). (Click or tap here to see more.)

Following are languages and language groups that use a form of Isa include the following (note that this list is not complete):

In German the name Jesus (pronounced: /ˈjeːzʊs/) is distinguished by its grammatical forms. Into the 20th century the grammatical rules prescribed a unique Greek-Latin declination: Jesus (nominative), Jesu (genitive, dative, vocative), Jesum (accusative), from which today only the genitive case “Jesu” is still in active use.

In Lamba the name ŵaYesu consists of a transliteration Yesu and the prefix ŵa, a plural form for “proper names when addressing and referring to persons in any position of seniority or honor.” While this was avoided in early translations to avoid possible misunderstandings of more than one Jesus, once the church was established it was felt that it was both “safe” and respectful to use the honorific (plural) prefix. (Source C. M. Doke in The Bible Translator 1958, p. 57ff.)

Translation: German

Auf Deutsch wird der Name Jesus (ausgesprochen: /ˈjeːzʊs/) durch dessen grammatikalische Formen hervorgehoben. Bis ins 20. Jahrhundert schrieben die grammatikalischen Regeln eine nur hier verwendete Griechisch/Lateinsche Misch-Deklination vor: Jesus (Nominativ), Jesu (Genitiv, Dativ, Vokativ) und Jesum (Akkusativ), von welchen heute nur noch der Genitiv-Kasus „Jesu“ aktiv verwendet wird.

Translator: Jost Zetzsche