Java, as a language, is not interpreted. Byte code is not the written language.
Scripting languages are not well defined, I utilize D as my scripting language, but it is fully compiled to machine code. Then you through in JIT and things get more confusing.
To better understand, it is best to look at the term for the time it was emerging. You had C and Bash, Lisp and Fortran. Languages like perl and php follow closer to the style for bash, these languages start execution at the file entry and don't define a special entry (main).
As for inferiority of scripting over a real language, we need to look at the level of understanding necessary to use the language.
Bash required writing your shell commands to a file then calling bash on it. Similarly languages like visual basic would add container iteration. C required learning pointers and memory layout. While scripts could easily build the description of a task, but would be limited in performance. Today machines are resource abundant and optimization techniques are identified.
C++ was long considered a compiled language, but it wasn't until Walter that the first compiler to build machine code instead of C existed.
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