The Roman alphabet wasn’t always as it is now. There were letters that have been removed (more on that in a future post), and some were added.
The most recent addition to the alphabet dates back to 1524 and was the letter J. Before that time the letter i was used to express the sound for both the vowel and consonant currently represented by i and j respectively.
The letter J began as a swash, a typographical embellishment for the already existing I. With the introduction of lowercase letters to the Roman numeric system, J was commonly used to denote the conclusion of a series of one’s—as in “xiij” for the number 13.
Originally, it was pronounced like the letter y in yacht but later evolved into the form we use today.
Hold on, what about all those J names in the bible?
Jesus, Joseph, Joshua, James, Jonah, Job, Joshua, Jehovah – all seem to have a letter that wasn’t invented until the 16th century. WTF? It’s worth remembering that none of the people that lived in biblical times spoke English. These are all anglicized versions of names that for the most part started out as Hebrew names. For example, Joshua and Isaiah are derived from the Hebrew name Yeshua.