Joost mag het weten

Iedereen heeft het wel eens gezegd of horen zeggen: “Joost mag het weten”. Een spreekwoord waarmee bedoeld wordt dat een vraag die zojuist is opgeworpen in het ongewisse is en naar alle waarschijnlijkheid ook zal blijven. Degene die het spreekwoord uitspreekt heeft het vinden van het antwoord op de vraag in ieder geval niet hoog op de prioriteitenlijst staan. Maar wie is deze alwetende Joost nu eigenlijk? Waarom is Joost, en niet Henk of Pieter degene die het voorrecht toevalt alle wijsheid in pacht te hebben?

Voor deze vraag moeten we heel wat jaren terug in de tijd. De naam Joost is namelijk een verbastering van ‘Joos(je)’, welke op zijn beurt waarschijnlijk weer afkomstig is van het woord ‘dejos’, van ‘deos’, het Portugese woord voor god. Wordt met Joost dan god bedoeld? Nee, voor de precieze betekenis achter de naam moeten we naar de tijd dat Nederland nog koloniën had.

In Nederlands-Indië werden door Chinezen kaarsen gebrand ter verering van de vorst van de hel, die door hen als een god aanbeden werd. Wouter Schouten (1780) schrijft hierover in zijn boek ‘Reistogt’: “Den Schepper vreezen zij niet, wijl van Hem alles goeds komt; maar de Duivel, dien zij gemeenlijk Joosje noemen, is, zeggen zij, een machtig en geweldig vorst (…).” Van deze Joosje stamt het huidige spreekwoord naar alle waarschijnlijkheid af. Met het bovengenoemde spreekwoord wordt dus in wezen gezegd dat de duivel het mag weten.

De herkomst van het spreekwoord, en wie nu precies wordt bedoeld met ‘Joost’, is nu in ieder geval duidelijk. De reden dat het nu juist de duivel is die alles mag weten laat ik een open vraag, waarbij ik u allen uitnodig om uw ideeën hierover in een reactie hieronder te kennen te geven.

77 gedachten over “Joost mag het weten”

  1. Ik heb me altijd afgevraagd waarom Joost het altijd mag weten, dus dank voor deze startende verheldering! Naar aanleiding van dit verhaal ben ik toch geneigd om te denken dat ‘Joost’ afstamt van ‘Dejos’, oftewel vertaald naar ‘De Joost’ in het Nederlands, wat meer neigt naar een betekenis met godheid in bredere zin dan naar het specifiekere geval ‘duivel’. Alhoewel, als ik op internet verder zoek is de relatie met een heidense god of duivel wel vaak in uitleg voor dit spreekwoord beargumenteerd. Geconcludeerd: Joost mag het weten!

  2. Ik hoop inderdaad niet dat personen die Joost heten zich nu geassocieerd voelen met de duivel slechts omdat Joost vanwege de gelijkenis met het woord dejos soms als aanduiding voor de duivel werd gebruikt. De naam Joost is namelijk zelf afkomstig van de Latijnse naam Jodocus, wat de Latijnse naam was voor de Bretonse 7e eeuwse heilige Lodoc.

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