From Joe to Moe: We share names, can’t we share land?

Published May 15th, 2016 - 17:49 GMT

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There is an uncanny overlap of common names that cross the borders of culture and faith, with similar and sometimes identical pronunciations and meanings. Many names now found from Arabic to English harken to tales of the Old Testament, whose characters are revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. (A reminder to all that Arabs come in all those faith flavors!) Continue reading below »

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Adam (En) v. Adam (Ar) v. Adam (Heb) - This primordial ‘first man’ is something that all Abrahamic cultures can agree on. It's the Hebrew word for 'man', and in Arabic “Beni-Adam” means human being, literally “son of Adam”.
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Image 1 of 17:  1 / 17Adam (En) v. Adam (Ar) v. Adam (Heb) - This primordial ‘first man’ is something that all Abrahamic cultures can agree on. It's the Hebrew word for "man", and in Arabic “Beni-Adam” means human being, literally “son of Adam”.

Enlarge
John (En) v. Yahia (Ar) - for Muslims/Yo7anna (Ar) - for Christians v. Yochanan (Heb) – Means 'gracious'. The name pops up several times in the Bible; we’ve got John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ; and the apostle John eponymously named for his Gospel.
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Image 2 of 17:  2 / 17John (En) v. Yahia (Ar) - for Muslims/Yo7anna (Ar) - for Christians v. Yochanan (Heb) – Means "gracious". The name pops up several times in the Bible; we’ve got John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ; and the apostle John eponymously named for his Gospel.

Enlarge
Zachary (En) v. Zakaria (Ar) v. Zechariah (Heb) - Signifies that ‘God has remembered’. The Arabic name too preserves the root of memory. In Biblical geneology, ‘Zach’ was the father of John the Baptist (see slide no. 2).
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Image 3 of 17:  3 / 17Zachary (En) v. Zakaria (Ar) v. Zechariah (Heb) - Signifies that ‘God has remembered’. The Arabic name too preserves the root of memory. In Biblical geneology, ‘Zach’ was the father of John the Baptist (see slide no. 2).

Enlarge
Mary (En) v. Mariam (Ar) v. Miriam (Heb) – Many know this name as the mother of Jesus, and the muse behind the Hail Mary or the Salam Mariam; but its origins may go back as far as ancient Egypt: Mary was a sister of Moses, derived in part from “beloved”. The name also connotes a bit of wild child, with meanings of  'rebelliousness'.
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Image 4 of 17:  4 / 17Mary (En) v. Mariam (Ar) v. Miriam (Heb) – Many know this name as the mother of Jesus, and the muse behind the Hail Mary or the Salam Mariam; but its origins may go back as far as ancient Egypt: Mary was a sister of Moses, derived in part from “beloved”. The name also connotes a bit of wild child, with meanings of "rebelliousness".

Enlarge
Sarah (En) v. Sara (Ar) v. Sara (Heb) - This name goes stretches back to the Old Testament, held by Abraham's wife who had her first baby at age 90!  Originally Sarai, now seen as Sara, and Sarah, this ubiquitous moniker appears in more languages and cultures than we can reel off in a caption.
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Image 5 of 17:  5 / 17Sarah (En) v. Sara (Ar) v. Sara (Heb) - This name goes stretches back to the Old Testament, held by Abraham's wife who had her first baby at age 90! Originally Sarai, now seen as Sara, and Sarah, this ubiquitous moniker appears in more languages and cultures than we can reel off in a caption.

Enlarge
Joseph (En) v. Yousef (Ar) v. Yosef (Heb) – Think Joe Bloggs, Joe College, or Cup of Joe? Modern usage aside, the Old Testament’s Joseph means “He will add”.  Famous Biblical Joes include the 11th son of Jacob, famed for his Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Mary’s value-adding husband of the New Testament.
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Image 6 of 17:  6 / 17Joseph (En) v. Yousef (Ar) v. Yosef (Heb) – Think Joe Bloggs, Joe College, or Cup of Joe? Modern usage aside, the Old Testament’s Joseph means “He will add”. Famous Biblical Joes include the 11th son of Jacob, famed for his Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Mary’s value-adding husband of the New Testament.

Enlarge
Moses (En) v. Moussa (Ar) v.Moshe (Heb) -  The name of the prophet whose CV includes parting the Red Sea and receiving God’s Ten Commandments is found in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Its etymology is disputed, but the Mousas of Arabia, the Moshes of Israel, and the Moses’ of the West leave no doubt that this name has stood the test of time.
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Image 7 of 17:  7 / 17Moses (En) v. Moussa (Ar) v.Moshe (Heb) - The name of the prophet whose CV includes parting the Red Sea and receiving God’s Ten Commandments is found in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Its etymology is disputed, but the Mousas of Arabia, the Moshes of Israel, and the Moses’ of the West leave no doubt that this name has stood the test of time.

Enlarge
Isaac (En) v. Is'7aak (Ar) v. Yitzak (Heb) are common names throughout Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures. The name comes from the Hebrew word for laugh  צָחַק (yitzhak). The Arabic for “he laughs” is  ” يضحك” (Yidhak), a close cousin of the Hebrew pronunciation.
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Image 8 of 17:  8 / 17Isaac (En) v. Is'7aak (Ar) v. Yitzak (Heb) are common names throughout Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures. The name comes from the Hebrew word for laugh צָחַק (yitzhak). The Arabic for “he laughs” is ” يضحك” (Yidhak), a close cousin of the Hebrew pronunciation.

Enlarge
Jacob (En) v. Yakoub (Ar) v. Ya’aqov (Heb) – Biblically speaking, this was the father of the 12 founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.  If more Arabs knew that this star of the Bible later took the name of that Star of David ‘Israel’, they might be less keen on naming their sons Yakoub. The name also carries shades of “may God protect”.
Reduce

Image 9 of 17:  9 / 17Jacob (En) v. Yakoub (Ar) v. Ya’aqov (Heb) – Biblically speaking, this was the father of the 12 founders of the 12 tribes of Israel. If more Arabs knew that this star of the Bible later took the name of that Star of David ‘Israel’, they might be less keen on naming their sons Yakoub. The name also carries shades of “may God protect”.

Enlarge
Noah (En) v. Noo7 (Ar) v. Noach (Heb) – Rooted in the Hebrew word for “rest” and “comfort”, this name of the biblical boat-builder has made a comeback in the US, in fact it’s the most popular name for boys born in 2014. It is also used in Arabic-speaking countries for boys, though not nearly as popular as Mohammad.
Reduce

Image 10 of 17:  10 / 17Noah (En) v. Noo7 (Ar) v. Noach (Heb) – Rooted in the Hebrew word for “rest” and “comfort”, this name of the biblical boat-builder has made a comeback in the US, in fact it’s the most popular name for boys born in 2014. It is also used in Arabic-speaking countries for boys, though not nearly as popular as Mohammad.

Enlarge
David (En) v. Dawood (Ar) v. Dawid (Heb) - The name of the second king of Israel and vanquisher of giant Philistine Goliath, David is believed to be derived from the Hebrew Dawid, meaning “beloved”. Dave is a common name in the West, as is its Arabic equivalent - Daoud - in Arab countries.
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Image 11 of 17:  11 / 17David (En) v. Dawood (Ar) v. Dawid (Heb) - The name of the second king of Israel and vanquisher of giant Philistine Goliath, David is believed to be derived from the Hebrew Dawid, meaning “beloved”. Dave is a common name in the West, as is its Arabic equivalent - Daoud - in Arab countries.

Enlarge
Michael (En) v. Mikhail (Ar) v. Mikha’el (Heb) - In Hebrew, this name confers “who is like God?” That is to say, “nobody”, despite what Michael Jackson fans might tell you.  He’s an Archangel in the Bible and a key player in the battle depicted in the Book of Revelations - and also one of the most common English names for boys.
Reduce

Image 12 of 17:  12 / 17Michael (En) v. Mikhail (Ar) v. Mikha’el (Heb) - In Hebrew, this name confers “who is like God?” That is to say, “nobody”, despite what Michael Jackson fans might tell you. He’s an Archangel in the Bible and a key player in the battle depicted in the Book of Revelations - and also one of the most common English names for boys.

Enlarge
Elijah (En) v. Eliyyahu (Ar) v. Eliyahu (Heb) means “my God is Yahweh” in Hebrew, which makes sense, as all 3 Abrahamic faiths revere him for his miracles (such as raising the dead and making it rain fire!), and unflappable faith. The name ranks #11 in most popular boys’ names in the US in 2015.
Reduce

Image 13 of 17:  13 / 17Elijah (En) v. Eliyyahu (Ar) v. Eliyahu (Heb) means “my God is Yahweh” in Hebrew, which makes sense, as all 3 Abrahamic faiths revere him for his miracles (such as raising the dead and making it rain fire!), and unflappable faith. The name ranks #11 in most popular boys’ names in the US in 2015.

Enlarge
Hannah (En) v. Hanneh (Ar) v. Channeh (Heb) - Popular and palindromic, Hannah comes from the Hebrew Channah meaning Gift from God. Mother of the prophet Samuel in the Bible, this name is found in all three Abrahamic religions and pops up in plenty of languages. It’s also the origin of the even more common Anna, the girls’ name.
Reduce

Image 14 of 17:  14 / 17Hannah (En) v. Hanneh (Ar) v. Channeh (Heb) - Popular and palindromic, Hannah comes from the Hebrew Channah meaning Gift from God. Mother of the prophet Samuel in the Bible, this name is found in all three Abrahamic religions and pops up in plenty of languages. It’s also the origin of the even more common Anna, the girls’ name.

Enlarge
Solomon (En) v. Suleiman (Ar) v. Shlomo (Heb) - Derived from “shalom”, the Hebrew word for peace. Solomon was the great biblical king who built the temple in (hardly peaceful) Jerusalem. Though not so common in English, the Arabic variant “Suleiman” and Hebrew “Shlomo” are contemporarily popular in the Middle East.
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Image 15 of 17:  15 / 17Solomon (En) v. Suleiman (Ar) v. Shlomo (Heb) - Derived from “shalom”, the Hebrew word for peace. Solomon was the great biblical king who built the temple in (hardly peaceful) Jerusalem. Though not so common in English, the Arabic variant “Suleiman” and Hebrew “Shlomo” are contemporarily popular in the Middle East.

Enlarge
Dina/ Dinah (En) v. Dina (Ar) v. Dina (Heb) - In Arabic this name means 'believe', if you believe that. Its Hebrew meaning gets amped up as a force to be reckoned with, translated as 'avenged, judged and vindicated'. Namesakes include the famous Jordanian Queen Dina, and the biblical Dinah, Jacob's only daughter.
Reduce

Image 16 of 17:  16 / 17Dina/ Dinah (En) v. Dina (Ar) v. Dina (Heb) - In Arabic this name means 'believe', if you believe that. Its Hebrew meaning gets amped up as a force to be reckoned with, translated as 'avenged, judged and vindicated'. Namesakes include the famous Jordanian Queen Dina, and the biblical Dinah, Jacob's only daughter.

Enlarge
You might be surprised to learn that Issa, Jesus in the Quran, is hugely prolific in the Middle East. Jesus’ name in the Arabic Bible, Yesua’, derives from the Hebrew “Yeshua”, “God (Yahweh) is Salvation”. Yeshua also gives us Joshua, which, unlike 'Jesus' in English at least, you may have had in your classroom.
Reduce

Image 17 of 17:  17 / 17You might be surprised to learn that Issa, Jesus in the Quran, is hugely prolific in the Middle East. Jesus’ name in the Arabic Bible, Yesua’, derives from the Hebrew “Yeshua”, “God (Yahweh) is Salvation”. Yeshua also gives us Joshua, which, unlike 'Jesus' in English at least, you may have had in your classroom.

Enlarge

1

Adam (En) v. Adam (Ar) v. Adam (Heb) - This primordial ‘first man’ is something that all Abrahamic cultures can agree on. It's the Hebrew word for 'man', and in Arabic “Beni-Adam” means human being, literally “son of Adam”.

Image 1 of 17Adam (En) v. Adam (Ar) v. Adam (Heb) - This primordial ‘first man’ is something that all Abrahamic cultures can agree on. It's the Hebrew word for "man", and in Arabic “Beni-Adam” means human being, literally “son of Adam”.

2

John (En) v. Yahia (Ar) - for Muslims/Yo7anna (Ar) - for Christians v. Yochanan (Heb) – Means 'gracious'. The name pops up several times in the Bible; we’ve got John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ; and the apostle John eponymously named for his Gospel.

Image 2 of 17John (En) v. Yahia (Ar) - for Muslims/Yo7anna (Ar) - for Christians v. Yochanan (Heb) – Means "gracious". The name pops up several times in the Bible; we’ve got John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ; and the apostle John eponymously named for his Gospel.

3

Zachary (En) v. Zakaria (Ar) v. Zechariah (Heb) - Signifies that ‘God has remembered’. The Arabic name too preserves the root of memory. In Biblical geneology, ‘Zach’ was the father of John the Baptist (see slide no. 2).

Image 3 of 17Zachary (En) v. Zakaria (Ar) v. Zechariah (Heb) - Signifies that ‘God has remembered’. The Arabic name too preserves the root of memory. In Biblical geneology, ‘Zach’ was the father of John the Baptist (see slide no. 2).

4

Mary (En) v. Mariam (Ar) v. Miriam (Heb) – Many know this name as the mother of Jesus, and the muse behind the Hail Mary or the Salam Mariam; but its origins may go back as far as ancient Egypt: Mary was a sister of Moses, derived in part from “beloved”. The name also connotes a bit of wild child, with meanings of  'rebelliousness'.

Image 4 of 17Mary (En) v. Mariam (Ar) v. Miriam (Heb) – Many know this name as the mother of Jesus, and the muse behind the Hail Mary or the Salam Mariam; but its origins may go back as far as ancient Egypt: Mary was a sister of Moses, derived in part from “beloved”. The name also connotes a bit of wild child, with meanings of "rebelliousness".

5

Sarah (En) v. Sara (Ar) v. Sara (Heb) - This name goes stretches back to the Old Testament, held by Abraham's wife who had her first baby at age 90!  Originally Sarai, now seen as Sara, and Sarah, this ubiquitous moniker appears in more languages and cultures than we can reel off in a caption.

Image 5 of 17Sarah (En) v. Sara (Ar) v. Sara (Heb) - This name goes stretches back to the Old Testament, held by Abraham's wife who had her first baby at age 90! Originally Sarai, now seen as Sara, and Sarah, this ubiquitous moniker appears in more languages and cultures than we can reel off in a caption.

6

Joseph (En) v. Yousef (Ar) v. Yosef (Heb) – Think Joe Bloggs, Joe College, or Cup of Joe? Modern usage aside, the Old Testament’s Joseph means “He will add”.  Famous Biblical Joes include the 11th son of Jacob, famed for his Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Mary’s value-adding husband of the New Testament.

Image 6 of 17Joseph (En) v. Yousef (Ar) v. Yosef (Heb) – Think Joe Bloggs, Joe College, or Cup of Joe? Modern usage aside, the Old Testament’s Joseph means “He will add”. Famous Biblical Joes include the 11th son of Jacob, famed for his Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Mary’s value-adding husband of the New Testament.

7

Moses (En) v. Moussa (Ar) v.Moshe (Heb) -  The name of the prophet whose CV includes parting the Red Sea and receiving God’s Ten Commandments is found in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Its etymology is disputed, but the Mousas of Arabia, the Moshes of Israel, and the Moses’ of the West leave no doubt that this name has stood the test of time.

Image 7 of 17Moses (En) v. Moussa (Ar) v.Moshe (Heb) - The name of the prophet whose CV includes parting the Red Sea and receiving God’s Ten Commandments is found in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Its etymology is disputed, but the Mousas of Arabia, the Moshes of Israel, and the Moses’ of the West leave no doubt that this name has stood the test of time.

8

Isaac (En) v. Is'7aak (Ar) v. Yitzak (Heb) are common names throughout Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures. The name comes from the Hebrew word for laugh  צָחַק (yitzhak). The Arabic for “he laughs” is  ” يضحك” (Yidhak), a close cousin of the Hebrew pronunciation.

Image 8 of 17Isaac (En) v. Is'7aak (Ar) v. Yitzak (Heb) are common names throughout Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures. The name comes from the Hebrew word for laugh צָחַק (yitzhak). The Arabic for “he laughs” is ” يضحك” (Yidhak), a close cousin of the Hebrew pronunciation.

9

Jacob (En) v. Yakoub (Ar) v. Ya’aqov (Heb) – Biblically speaking, this was the father of the 12 founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.  If more Arabs knew that this star of the Bible later took the name of that Star of David ‘Israel’, they might be less keen on naming their sons Yakoub. The name also carries shades of “may God protect”.

Image 9 of 17Jacob (En) v. Yakoub (Ar) v. Ya’aqov (Heb) – Biblically speaking, this was the father of the 12 founders of the 12 tribes of Israel. If more Arabs knew that this star of the Bible later took the name of that Star of David ‘Israel’, they might be less keen on naming their sons Yakoub. The name also carries shades of “may God protect”.

10

Noah (En) v. Noo7 (Ar) v. Noach (Heb) – Rooted in the Hebrew word for “rest” and “comfort”, this name of the biblical boat-builder has made a comeback in the US, in fact it’s the most popular name for boys born in 2014. It is also used in Arabic-speaking countries for boys, though not nearly as popular as Mohammad.

Image 10 of 17Noah (En) v. Noo7 (Ar) v. Noach (Heb) – Rooted in the Hebrew word for “rest” and “comfort”, this name of the biblical boat-builder has made a comeback in the US, in fact it’s the most popular name for boys born in 2014. It is also used in Arabic-speaking countries for boys, though not nearly as popular as Mohammad.

11

David (En) v. Dawood (Ar) v. Dawid (Heb) - The name of the second king of Israel and vanquisher of giant Philistine Goliath, David is believed to be derived from the Hebrew Dawid, meaning “beloved”. Dave is a common name in the West, as is its Arabic equivalent - Daoud - in Arab countries.

Image 11 of 17David (En) v. Dawood (Ar) v. Dawid (Heb) - The name of the second king of Israel and vanquisher of giant Philistine Goliath, David is believed to be derived from the Hebrew Dawid, meaning “beloved”. Dave is a common name in the West, as is its Arabic equivalent - Daoud - in Arab countries.

12

Michael (En) v. Mikhail (Ar) v. Mikha’el (Heb) - In Hebrew, this name confers “who is like God?” That is to say, “nobody”, despite what Michael Jackson fans might tell you.  He’s an Archangel in the Bible and a key player in the battle depicted in the Book of Revelations - and also one of the most common English names for boys.

Image 12 of 17Michael (En) v. Mikhail (Ar) v. Mikha’el (Heb) - In Hebrew, this name confers “who is like God?” That is to say, “nobody”, despite what Michael Jackson fans might tell you. He’s an Archangel in the Bible and a key player in the battle depicted in the Book of Revelations - and also one of the most common English names for boys.

13

Elijah (En) v. Eliyyahu (Ar) v. Eliyahu (Heb) means “my God is Yahweh” in Hebrew, which makes sense, as all 3 Abrahamic faiths revere him for his miracles (such as raising the dead and making it rain fire!), and unflappable faith. The name ranks #11 in most popular boys’ names in the US in 2015.

Image 13 of 17Elijah (En) v. Eliyyahu (Ar) v. Eliyahu (Heb) means “my God is Yahweh” in Hebrew, which makes sense, as all 3 Abrahamic faiths revere him for his miracles (such as raising the dead and making it rain fire!), and unflappable faith. The name ranks #11 in most popular boys’ names in the US in 2015.

14

Hannah (En) v. Hanneh (Ar) v. Channeh (Heb) - Popular and palindromic, Hannah comes from the Hebrew Channah meaning Gift from God. Mother of the prophet Samuel in the Bible, this name is found in all three Abrahamic religions and pops up in plenty of languages. It’s also the origin of the even more common Anna, the girls’ name.

Image 14 of 17Hannah (En) v. Hanneh (Ar) v. Channeh (Heb) - Popular and palindromic, Hannah comes from the Hebrew Channah meaning Gift from God. Mother of the prophet Samuel in the Bible, this name is found in all three Abrahamic religions and pops up in plenty of languages. It’s also the origin of the even more common Anna, the girls’ name.

15

Solomon (En) v. Suleiman (Ar) v. Shlomo (Heb) - Derived from “shalom”, the Hebrew word for peace. Solomon was the great biblical king who built the temple in (hardly peaceful) Jerusalem. Though not so common in English, the Arabic variant “Suleiman” and Hebrew “Shlomo” are contemporarily popular in the Middle East.

Image 15 of 17Solomon (En) v. Suleiman (Ar) v. Shlomo (Heb) - Derived from “shalom”, the Hebrew word for peace. Solomon was the great biblical king who built the temple in (hardly peaceful) Jerusalem. Though not so common in English, the Arabic variant “Suleiman” and Hebrew “Shlomo” are contemporarily popular in the Middle East.

16

Dina/ Dinah (En) v. Dina (Ar) v. Dina (Heb) - In Arabic this name means 'believe', if you believe that. Its Hebrew meaning gets amped up as a force to be reckoned with, translated as 'avenged, judged and vindicated'. Namesakes include the famous Jordanian Queen Dina, and the biblical Dinah, Jacob's only daughter.

Image 16 of 17Dina/ Dinah (En) v. Dina (Ar) v. Dina (Heb) - In Arabic this name means 'believe', if you believe that. Its Hebrew meaning gets amped up as a force to be reckoned with, translated as 'avenged, judged and vindicated'. Namesakes include the famous Jordanian Queen Dina, and the biblical Dinah, Jacob's only daughter.

17

You might be surprised to learn that Issa, Jesus in the Quran, is hugely prolific in the Middle East. Jesus’ name in the Arabic Bible, Yesua’, derives from the Hebrew “Yeshua”, “God (Yahweh) is Salvation”. Yeshua also gives us Joshua, which, unlike 'Jesus' in English at least, you may have had in your classroom.

Image 17 of 17You might be surprised to learn that Issa, Jesus in the Quran, is hugely prolific in the Middle East. Jesus’ name in the Arabic Bible, Yesua’, derives from the Hebrew “Yeshua”, “God (Yahweh) is Salvation”. Yeshua also gives us Joshua, which, unlike 'Jesus' in English at least, you may have had in your classroom.

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Arabic’s “foreigness” and supposed “harshness” may startle some Westerners, causing passengers to be booted from planes or for working out math problems. But is it really that alien? Consider that some of the most common names in English exist as staple Christian (and Muslim) names in Arabic - there is more to bind us together than to tear us asunder. From Peter, Paul, and Luke to Lara, Jasmine, and Mary, the common origins and recycled contemporary usage of names found throughout the West, Israel, and across the Arab World bridges political gaps.  After all, if we can share names, can’t we at least share plane rides together [or share land]?

 

 

 

 

 

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