zeal, zealous

The Greek and Hebrew that is often translated in English as “zeal” or “zealous” is translated in Moken as “great love” (“my zeal” — cewui lak tho: “my great love.”) (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Ixcatlán Mazatec it is likewise translated as “love, commitment, enthusiasm” (not jealousy). (Source: Robert Bascom)

In Khasi is is translated with shitrhem which conveys the “idea of loving or devoted enthusiasm.” (Source: B. J. Syiemlieh)


The Greek transliteration of the Aramaic kanan (קַנָאַן) has the same meaning than the Greek zēlōtḗs (Ζηλωτὴν) (see Zealot) but is often transliterated itself in English Bible translations as “Cananaean” or similar. Some modern English translations, however, translate the Aramaic form identical to the way they translate the Greek term in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13. The Good News Bible (publ. 1966/1976), for instance, uses “Patriot” for both and the Contemporary English Version (publ. 1995) uses “Eager One.”

Likewise, Yakan translates it as “challenger” in both cases and Kankanaey as “Patriota because he had-concern-for his country.”

In Iyojwa’ja Chorote, the translation for the Aramaic term is “one who fought against the Romans who had made themselves chiefs of the Jews” (and for the Greek: “who belonged the parties of the Zealots.”) (Source: Roger Omanson in The Bible Translator 1989. p. 416ff.)

complete verse (Mark 3:18)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 3:18:

  • Uma: “These are the names of those twelve: Simon (Yesus named him Petrus); Yakobus child of Zebedeus; and Yohanes the relative of Yakobus (Yesus named them Boanerges–its meaning: people who are like thunder); after that, Andreas; Filipus; Bartolomeus; Matius; Tomas; Yakobus child of Alfeus; Tadeus; Simon the Zelot-person; and Yudas Iskariot (he’s the one who will sell Yesus to hisenemies.)” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “He also chose Andariyas, Pilip, Bartolome, Mateo, Tomas, Yakub son of Alpa, Taddeo, Simon the person who challenges/fights” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “These are the names of the twelve people whom Jesus chose: Simon whom he titled Peter, and James the son of Zebedee, and John the younger brother of James. These two he entitled Boanerges, which is to say, impulsive people. He also chose Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeaus. And he also chose Simon, one member of the former organization called Canaanista. Jesus also chose Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. After Jesus had chosen them he went home.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Andrew, Felipe, Bartolome, Mateo, Tomas, Santiago the child of Alfeus, Taddeus, Simon who was called Patriota because he showed-concern-for their country/town” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Others were Andres, Felipe, Bartolome, Mateo, Tomas, Santiago who was the son of Alfeo, Tadeo, Simon the Cananeo ,” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)