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[Facts] Question for Lumia: Where & when did the Spanish use of Jesus start?
I'm asking this on the board because I thought everyone would be interested.I am trying to track down information on how Jesus (or Jesús) came to be regularly used as a name for boys in Spanish speaking countries. I have run across comments that Jesus was NOT used as a given name in medieval Spain, but this usage only developed after 1492. Some of the comments I've read claim that the use of Jesús actually began in Mexico among Native American converts, and then spread back to Spain from Latin America. Another theory seems to be that people in Spain began to use Jesus on the analogy of Muslims naming their sons Mohammed, after the remaining Muslims in Spain were forced to convert to Christianity.
The fact that within Spain today Jesús is most common in Andalusia is used to support that theory.Unfortunately there are no references given to any of the comments above. So: do real historians and language experts in Spain agree with the above? Just when did it become acceptable in Spanish culture to name sons Jesús? Did this custom begin in Andalusia? Is there any evidence that it began in Mexico or elsewhere in Spain's American colonies and then was exported back to Spain? Or is there any evidence that the custom began with the Moriscos, the former Muslim converts to Christianity? Thanks to Lumia or any other Spanish expert who can help with these questions.

This message was edited 4/28/2009, 8:15 AM

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Funny that today you ask about Jesúsbecause yesterday night I was working on this name. First of all, at my knowledge (but I'm still searching) there is not any specific evidence of when or where the custom started and usually the onomastics books don't comment the question; the only reference is in García Gallarín's book where it is said that the use of Jesús is late and that in the 17th c. it was not in the baptismal books in Madrid.According to the earlier references that I found it seems probable that Jesús started to be used as given name as devotional religious name in the compound form "de Jesús" (in Spanish, but also in Catalan). The most notorious case is saint Teresa de Jesús (1515-1582), but I have also found early Catalan examples of this use: Joan de Jesús Roca (16th c.-17th c.) and Bernat de Jesús Maria (c. 1559-1637), both Carmelitan religious. In 17th c. the use "de Jesús" is also found, at least in Catalan, among civil people: Nicolau de Jesús Belando (1699-1747), writer and historian.As in other cases of compound names (María del Pilar, Francisco de Javier, María de la Concepción...), the recurrent use of Jesús would finish with that being a "normal" given name. In the 19th c., the name was used regularly as independent given name.This use of the name Jesus in the compound form "of Jesus" is also known in Portuguese (Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos), but perhaps because of a lesser use, the name has not independized yet.One comment that I read in a board, suggested that the use started in 1571, when a papal bull (from Pius V), gave to the Spanish the privilege of using Jesus as reward for their victory on the Battle of Lepant. But I didn't find any papal bull from 1571 (or later) about this privilege or similar and it would be surprising because the Venetian Republic was crucial in that battle and they would merit the same privilege.

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