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Monday, March 16, 2020

"Easter" means "Resurrection"

A poster asked about Easter on SocialGalactic:
Why do churches say Easter? Isn’t Easter a pagan holiday? I’ve started to say Resurrection Sunday at church and ppl ignore me.
Easter is not a pagan holiday. That’s atheist nonsense that requires an almost-complete ignorance of literally every foreign language but one. While there is a possible etymological link to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eostre for whom there is absolutely no evidence outside of the writings of the venerable, but inventive Bede, but since the Germans use "Easter" too and English is partially derived from German, the word is much more likely linked to the old German word for resurrection, which is Erstehen.

One of the earliest appearances of "Easter" in English is in the Tyndale Bible, which actually refers to Ester. Remember, the conventional accusation about Easter being a pagan holiday concerned Ishtar, an Akkadian goddess of love and war, but that was never a viable explanation because none of the other European languages have any possible etymological link to a pagan holiday. Their Paschae, Pasqua, Pâques, Pascua, etc. all trace back to Passover.

So, the usual suspects dug around the history books and came up with Eostre, who was not a German goddess and for whom there is no evidence in the German linguistic record. But they did posit - or to put more clearly, made up - a nonexistent precursor goddess to a probably-invented goddess, whose nonexistent holiday could theoretically have been coopted by English and German Christians in the Sixteenth Century while celebrating the Erstehen on Paschae.

Needless to say, this makes absolutely no sense to anyone who is capable of understanding the conventional ordering of cause and effect. Note in particular that the first and only known reference to Eostre is in 725 AD, and the first known references to Ester and Passover, both of which are English neologisms popularized, if not necessarily coined by Tyndale, were in 1526 AD, centuries after Paskha (πάσχα) was first celebrated by Christians.

From Infogalactic's Eostre page: a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn is supported both by the evidence of cognate names and the similarity of mythic representation of the dawn goddess among various Indo-European groups... all of this evidence permits us to posit a Proto-Indo-European *haéusōs 'goddess of dawn' who was characterized as a "reluctant" bringer of light for which she is punished.

Since Easter most likely means Resurrection, it is unnecessary, redundant, and more than a little spergish to make a point of trying to force "Resurrection Sunday" on others.

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54 Comments:

Blogger Unknown March 16, 2020 7:44 AM  

I'd be interested to know if there's any surviving link through the Frisian dialect.

Blogger cyrus83 March 16, 2020 7:59 AM  

In the Latin text of the Roman Missal Easter Sunday is referred to as "Dominica Resurrectionis" with Paschatis being the term applied to the entire season from then until Pentecost. It seems reasonable to theorize that the German peoples were simply translating the Latin name of the Sunday even as most other Europeans named this Sunday after the season.

Blogger CM March 16, 2020 8:04 AM  

Even if Easter had been built on a pagan holiday (which is ridiculous because it is THE Christian holiday with a tentatively known time of celebration - passover), the time has been tied to rebirth and recreation from the beginning.

It's just more nature revealing God's truth. I don't understand why we need to get so tied into purity spirals that we refuse to see what Truth existed in the raw that the Gospel purifies and enhances.

Blogger MDN March 16, 2020 8:10 AM  

Hey Vox - Hope you and your family are doing as good as possible!

Just curious, do you know if the majority of those being infected and dying of CV19 in Lombardy are ethnic Italians or is it ethnic Chinese people living there?

Blogger Lazarus March 16, 2020 8:11 AM  

So, the usual suspects...

Egg laying rabbits?

Blogger RobertDWood March 16, 2020 8:13 AM  

Make a better celebration nomenclature crusade for yourself. Join the movement to stop calling it The Fourth Of July and rather call it Independence Day like we used to.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 16, 2020 8:28 AM  

Resurrection Basket would have cast a pall on those chocolate bunnies.

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz March 16, 2020 8:49 AM  

In Poland it is literally "Wielkanoc \ The Grat (or Glorious) Night"
In Chech or Slovak too.
Ukrainian and Bielorusian: (AFAIK) "The Grat Day"
Russian: "Pascha"
The Slavs were the last converted European pagans...

Blogger rognuald March 16, 2020 9:00 AM  

I experimented with Wicca for a time. Their origins relied more upon wishful thinking than upon sound research. I couldn't get over how their "powerful" gods were replaced by Jesus whom they mocked and how their lives were not characterized by the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

Blogger FALPhil March 16, 2020 9:17 AM  

Egg laying rabbits?

When my children were toddlers, we engaged a part-time nanny from Denmark. She was puzzled at the rabbit thing too, and informed us that in Denmark, they had an Easter chicken. Which makes a lot more sense. I can't figure out the bunny angle.

Blogger Sargent.matrim March 16, 2020 9:22 AM  

Even if Easter could be shown to derive from a pagan goddess name who cares. All the days of the week have etymological links to pagan deities. But we all know Sunday is the Lord's day, and Easter is about the cross.

Christianity redeems culture as much as it redeems people.

Blogger Artisanal Toad March 16, 2020 9:34 AM  

The subject of various holidays was of particular interest too me years ago, because the hardest thing to change in a culture is the ingrained customs and traditions.

Keep in mind that when Moses came down off the mountain and found the people partying with the golden calf, he called out for support and sons of Levi rallied around him. He told them to kill the ones worshiping the golden calf. The Levites became the priests and they were literally the ones who would kill the transgressors. The priesthood of Phinneas (subset of the Aaronic priesthood) exists to kill the leaders who won't obey God.

Then God kept the people in the wilderness for 40 years with nothing but God's feasts, new moons and holy days, until all the people who had been exposed to the customs and traditions of Egypt were dead. Then they went into the promised land.

30 years ago I was taught that when the lands of Europe were Christianized by converting the King, the problem was the people had not necessarily been exposed to the Gospel and the pagan customs and traditions had their hooks in the people. The solution was to replace the pagan holy days with Christian holy days. The winter solstice became Christmas (Christmas is a story in and of itself), the feast of Ishtar (fertility) became Easter and various other pagan holidays became various saints days.

As to whether that theory is correct, I have no idea but it makes sense. The greatest king of Israel and Judah who ever lived dedicated his life to rooting out the paganism from the land, but failed. Tearing down the altars and high places and cutting the sacred groves wasn't enough. Custom and tradition is a tough nut to crack.

As to the pastors/teachers who get all spergy about the "pagan roots" of whatever holiday is under consideration, it's just a business model. They're differentiating themselves and developing a niche. The people get to feel special and extra-pure, but it's a waste of time and energy.

Blogger Warunicorn March 16, 2020 9:59 AM  

This is a lot like Kwanzaa since a lot of people believe it to be a holiday that was practiced in Africa for centuries. lol

As always, MPAI. Treat them as such.

Blogger Jill March 16, 2020 10:42 AM  

I almost fell for that when I was about 20 because someone gave me a book with all the citations and finding better sources in small-town libraries was not easy then. I had a sense that the book given me was wrong, though, and it was easy enough to ignore the bunnies and celebrate the Messiah instead. Also I had studied romance languages, which demonstrated that many people called it the Passover, anyway. So the word Easter was a non-issue for me. As soon as the internet came around (for me, in about 95), it was a game-changer. It wasn't that all info was available to me, but that I could connect with people with better info. I love how easy the internet has made finding info and resource materials...and yet if you don't have that active "sense" when something is false, it's still easy to be duped by someone with sources. Many people don't even check the sources. Sorry for this tangent. It's just I'm remembering the man who gave me the book in the first place. He had hundreds of books and had developed so many conspiracy theories, most of which turned out to be false. He was a highly intelligent, yet delusional man who had turned off his sense for true patterns. The average conspiracist isn't intelligent and doesn't read books or check sources. I don't know which is worse.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 16, 2020 10:56 AM  

Artisanal Toad wrote:

As to whether that theory is correct, I have no idea but it makes sense.

It's ahistorical Puritan nonsense.

Blogger Karen took the Kids March 16, 2020 11:19 AM  

This is the same sperginess that leads to "Hey bro, there's no proof that Jesus was born on the 25th of December" and pass that off as sterling detective work that only they have had the intelligence to unearth.

Blogger Richard Rahl March 16, 2020 11:26 AM  

In the same vein: Christmas is not pagan either. The Atheists and Prometheans are always looking to subvert Christianity.

https://www.thegoodshepherd.org.au/why-christmas-not-pagan

Blogger Falkenherz March 16, 2020 11:51 AM  

I always assumed (but never bothered to actually check) that Easter (German "Ostern") has something to do with East (German "Ost), since east is the direction in which the sun (son) is being resurrected every morning.

Blogger Matthew March 16, 2020 12:53 PM  

As far as I am aware, Easter eggs as a decoration are fairly old. Maybe the bunny was a spring symbol that somehow ended up being lumped together with Easter festivals?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 16, 2020 1:17 PM  

A lot of this BS was invented by the Judaizing Puritans. In their zealous desire to condemn Catholicism, and retained Catholic practices among Protestants, like religious feasts and fasting, they simply invented out of whole cloth justifications.
They functionally outlawed Christmas for a few years in parts of England. Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" was a rejoinder to that, and Scrooge was a parody of the miserly sort of Puritan who thought that way.
Puritanism is the grandmother of the Bluenose Yankee, and the SJWs of the current day.

Blogger Unknown March 16, 2020 2:05 PM  

"anyone who is capable of understanding the conventional ordering of cause and effect"

I can't wait to use this rhetorical nuke in online debate elsewhere.

Blogger HoosierHillbilly March 16, 2020 2:23 PM  

Bashing Catholics is great fun, and we try to find every instance of where they are wrong and mock them for it. But one will note, the Christmas issue is about the regulative principle and adding feast days...not if it is a pagan feast like the johnny come lately "modern atheist" likes to flounce around.

On this one, Snidely is right on it being nonsense.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 16, 2020 2:26 PM  

Come to think of it, there are multiple feasts in the Christian calendar, but all we are allowed is Christmas and Easter.

Blogger HoosierHillbilly March 16, 2020 2:28 PM  

Takes some powerful atheist bs to have Catholic and Calvinist unite, but well done...it's one of those days. Dirty normative principle folks will probably want to make it a feast day.

Blogger Chris McCullough March 16, 2020 2:59 PM  

Egg hunting is a redress of a passover game where children search around the house for pieces of unleavened bread.The eggs represent the stone rolling away from the tomb.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 16, 2020 3:09 PM  

Karen took the Kids wrote:This is the same sperginess that leads to "Hey bro, there's no proof that Jesus was born on the 25th of December" ...
I always reply that we know He was born on a day, so we should pick a day to celebrate His birth. The darkest time of year is a great time to have a cheerful celebration!
Snidely Whiplash wrote:A lot of this BS was invented by the Judaizing Puritans. In their zealous desire to condemn Catholicism, ...
After the religious wars between the Romans and the Reformers, it's easy to understand their zeal. There was a satanic element to it, but it's easy to see how Satan found an opening there.

Judaizing. What a foolish, self-destructive path for a Christian, to go against Paul's clear teaching against the Judaizers.

Blogger Unknown March 16, 2020 3:46 PM  

And they cut Christmas from 12 days to 1. Preceded by 3 shopping months.

Blogger OddTomson March 16, 2020 3:58 PM  

"English is partially derived from German"

English and German are cognate languages. You might as well say German is partially derived from English. This of course can be trivially true in that some words are borrowed between the languages. But trivially, by the same token, that would go for English and Japanese.

"the word is much more likely linked to the old German word for resurrection, which is Erstehen"

You need philological principles for the link or derivation. The two words begin with e, and that's about the end of it. OE ēastre/ēaster is from PrGmc *austraz. (PrGmc *au > OE ēa; loss of -az in PrWGmc; addition of parasitic vowel in OE; with or without metathesis in OE.) And yes, it's likely it referred also to a goddess.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 16, 2020 4:24 PM  

@30,
Take your lies back to hell. Does Christ rule or does your interpretation rule?

Blogger Unknown March 16, 2020 4:24 PM  

In spanish and other romance languages "Pascua", derives directly form the jewish Pesach (Passover). Not pagan at all.

Blogger Grime Knight March 16, 2020 4:54 PM  

@30 - Your abysmal exegesis is only matched by your graphic design skills. "Counterfeit.jpg" is a _very_ appropriate name for it.

Blogger Ahărôwn March 16, 2020 5:16 PM  

Take your lies back to hell. Does Christ rule or does your interpretation rule?

It's as if they've never actually read Acts 2, with Pentecost being on the first day of the week, and it's probably the easiest one in the list!

Blogger rikjames.313 March 16, 2020 6:14 PM  

The confusion is because much of the church year observations are arranged to aid in forgetting pagan holidays. However, Easter is based on the actual event, though decoupled from Passover.

Fun fact, after 326 the power to set Easter was given to a Bishop--which city was later lost to Islam, and the resulting argument as to who got to set the date was cited as a big part in the East/West Christian conflict, which then led to the sacking of Constantinople by Crusaders which weakened it for when Islam invaded

Blogger Fargoth March 16, 2020 6:19 PM  

Gaelic and Hebrew are related. It's unfair to say there's no possible etymological link between Ishtar and Easter.

Blogger Coyote Man March 16, 2020 6:29 PM  

"venerable, but inventive Bede"

Bede was born around 672 AD, so in his day there likely would have been some pagan Anglo-Saxons still around. He would have describing some elements of his society as it was in his time or at least of recent memory, and its perfectly reasonable he would have had contact with other similar and related northern Germanic peoples who might have worshipped that goddess. In any event, why would he totally invent a pagan goddess for the sole reason of including it in a passage describing the names of the months?

Pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon society was mostly illiterate so its unremarkable that only one reference to Eostre survives.


"One of the earliest appearances of "Easter" in English is in the Tyndale Bible, which actually refers to Ester."

That's not significant since at that time English spelling wasn't regularized and showed a lot of variations from text to text.

"English is partially derived from German"

Not true. English is related to German--it is in the same language family--but is not derived from it, partially or otherwise.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 16, 2020 6:32 PM  

P. Carroll wrote:Gaelic and Hebrew are related.
No, they are not, not since the Tower of Babel. There's no shared vocabulary, except that lifted from the bible, and there no shared grammar.
Irish is closer to Punjabi than to Hebrew. Much closer.

Blogger Macs March 16, 2020 7:18 PM  

I like a little paganism in my holidays anyhow.

Blogger Rex Little March 16, 2020 7:41 PM  

Regardless of the origin of the word, why does the actual celebration of the holiday have so little to do with Christ and the Resurrection? Outside of church services, all you ever see are eggs and rabbits and such. At least with Christmas, there are nativity scenes (on people's lawns if not in the town square), and half the songs are about Christ rather than Santa Claus.

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 16, 2020 8:47 PM  

@38 such a bold assertion, Snids. Do you know both Irish and Hebrew? Spoken and written? Over the past 200 years many have noted close resemblances between the Celtic languages and Hebrew. Where is your expertise to outweigh theirs?

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 16, 2020 9:14 PM  

@34 hey hasbara, Pentecost on first day of the week? Citation please. Not in Acts 2.

Blogger VD March 16, 2020 9:19 PM  

Stop trying to comment here, Dean Haskins.

Blogger Ahărôwn March 16, 2020 10:01 PM  

Pentecost on first day of the week? Citation please. Not in Acts 2.

With trolls getting deleted, I'm not certain if you're replying to me. The Jewish feast of weeks is 50 days after Passover Sabbath, hence the Greek name, so yes, it would be a Sunday.

That's not explicitly found in the text of Acts 2, though, so my mistake.

Blogger Student in Blue March 16, 2020 10:08 PM  

What's striking is how much energy is being expended by these people in their efforts to declare that Christianity is really totally usurping pagan holidays, and that this is somehow important.

As if there's some sort of magical resonance by holding a feast day on one particular day of the year rather than the other, so clearly we 'must not hold Christmas on December 25th!' Yeesh. And why is that? Will your powerless pagan goddess throw a little tiffy?

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 16, 2020 10:41 PM  

@42 yes it was a reply to you. Sadly I don't think Dean was trolling. Sacred Namers have a lot of overlap with Flat Earthers. Binary thinking doesn't even begin to... I'm starting to understand why Martin Luther was so hard on the Anabaptists of his day. The Devil always has a backstop. You discover one lie, so instantly an equal and opposite lie is waiting to trap you again. Like the layers of an onion.

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 16, 2020 10:43 PM  

@42 By lunar sabbath reckoning, Pentecost is always at the end of the week. Its position in the week is a matter of reckoning, not explicit Scriptural referencing.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 16, 2020 10:46 PM  

Vaughan Williams wrote:@38 such a bold assertion, Snids. Do you know both Irish and Hebrew? Spoken and written? Over the past 200 years many have noted close resemblances between the Celtic languages and Hebrew. Where is your expertise to outweigh theirs?
I do have quite a bit of Gaelic. Sadly very little Hebrew. On the other hand, I've been studying philology and comparative linguistics for decades, unlike any of your "researchers", and I managed to raise a fully-accredited linguist.
So do you speak Gaelic? Hebrew? Or are you just reporting something you read on the internet?
Comparative linguistics is not a new science. It's been around since the 18th century. The established language families were not proposed based on the presence of a few cognates, but by the systematic analysis of both grammar and vocabulary. There is plenty of contention and controversy within the field, as for example whether Nahuatl is related to Finno-Ugric or Polynesian languages But for the European and Levantine languages, there is no controversy whatsoever. The relationships are pervasive and systematic. And there is no relationship between the Semitic Languages and the Indo-European more than can be accounted for by the two language families living close proximity for a couple of thousand years.
Any two languages will have false cognates, simply because of the limited ways in which people can construct words. The phoneme dog by the purest of coincidence means exactly the same thing in English and Maylay. Listing a couple of dozen of them proves nothing whatever.
The many that have noted "many resemblances" found exactly what they set out to find, in order to prove their ahistorical nonsense theories. It is literally the opposite of lingusitics.

Blogger Berk March 17, 2020 1:25 AM  

Easter or "Eostre" as an indigenous Northern European festival for spring was held later than mediterranean Easter spring festivals like "Ester" due to the different climate.

Easter using a lunar calendar also is a mediterranean relic, the solar calendar was far more important in the north where the sun moved far more throughout the year in the sky.

Blogger JamesB.BKK March 17, 2020 3:54 AM  

That's so some sooper smart four year old boy (likely but could be a bossy girl too) can tell all the other kids that, "Rabbits are placental mammals. Placental mammals don't lay eggs. And besides, rabbits don't have arms and hands for carrying eggs." And all the other kids can identify the tool in the group that's going to probably be a pain in the ass for years to come. It's a kind of public service.

Blogger JamesB.BKK March 17, 2020 3:59 AM  

If they would've just taken in some Ann Coulter wisdom almost any year at Christmastime by defying instructions of their "thought leaders," they'd know better.

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 17, 2020 6:03 AM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Vaughan Williams wrote:@38 such a bold assertion, Snids. Do you know both Irish and Hebrew? Spoken and written? Over the past 200 years many have noted close resemblances between the Celtic languages and Hebrew. Where is your expertise to outweigh theirs?

I do have quite a bit of Gaelic. Sadly very little Hebrew. On the other hand, I've been studying philology and comparative linguistics for decades, unlike any of your "researchers", and I managed to raise a fully-accredited linguist.

So do you speak Gaelic? Hebrew? Or are you just reporting something you read on the internet?


I've had training in Hebrew over the years, and it has come in quite handy. I often feel like I'm wearing those glasses from the movie "They Live". I don't speak Hebrew fluently, but have learnt enough to be useful.

Sadly I don't know any Gaelic. When I report that Gaelic and Hebrew have been connected for hundreds of years, this isn't information from the internet, or from direct knowledge. This is the statement of British scholars going back hundreds of years, such as Charles Edwards in 1675. You can find a partial list of such statements here: http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/0105/0105nn.html


Comparative linguistics is not a new science. It's been around since the 18th century. The established language families were not proposed based on the presence of a few cognates, but by the systematic analysis of both grammar and vocabulary. There is plenty of contention and controversy within the field, as for example whether Nahuatl is related to Finno-Ugric or Polynesian languages But for the European and Levantine languages, there is no controversy whatsoever. The relationships are pervasive and systematic. And there is no relationship between the Semitic Languages and the Indo-European more than can be accounted for by the two language families living close proximity for a couple of thousand years.


There is no controversy about the connection between Indo-European and Semitic languages in the same way there is no controversy about Global Warming. That is, those who would make controversy were pushed out. The connection used to be obvious and known, but it started to be covered over at the same time that Uniformitarianism came in to support Evolution, and covered over the evidence for Catastrophism and a young universe. I'd say it was for the same reason, to discredit the Bible, but another reason came up today, in Miles Mathis most recent paper on the Phoenicians. He actually mentioned this glaring gap in modern linguistics, and connects it to the Phoenician "mystery Babylon" hidden empire keeping their presence in history on the down low. Phoenician and Hebrew are essentially the same language, and even Egyptian, Syrian, and Arabic are close enough that it is like Spanish and Portuguese. For anyone with an IQ over 115, practically the same language.

http://mileswmathis.com/phoenper.pdf

Continued in next comment...

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 17, 2020 6:04 AM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote: Any two languages will have false cognates, simply because of the limited ways in which people can construct words. The phoneme dog by the purest of coincidence means exactly the same thing in English and Maylay. Listing a couple of dozen of them proves nothing whatever.

The many that have noted "many resemblances" found exactly what they set out to find, in order to prove their ahistorical nonsense theories. It is literally the opposite of lingusitics.


Yes, any two languages will have false cognates. Isaac Mozeson's work is a continuation of classical linguistics, and he continues the work of Robert Govett, who wrote English derived from Hebrew in 1869. While Pastor Govett thought English unique, Isaac Mozeson shows that the well known processes of consonant and vowel shifts, and other types of linguistic drift documented in classical linguistics, are enough to explain the derivation of all languages from Hebrew. The thing about knowing Hebrew, and the method of "confusion" that God used at Babel is, you can see the connections more and more. The sheer volume of meaningful cognates, a list that expands each year, is beyond simple coincidence or accident.

Now, back to Gaelic. The Phoenicians spoke a language identical to Hebrew, and they had colonies in Britain going way back. A recent find of tin ingots from Cornwall shows the Phoenicians were there in the time of Moses and Abraham. So for Welsh, or Irish, or even English to show strong links to Hebrew is plausible even without going back to Babel. The work done on consonant and vowel shifts took a really interesting turn when Mozeson's Edenics helped identify similar things at work with the tonal languages in Asia, and the click languages in Africa. It seems the farther from Israel and its God, the wierder and more different the langauges got... but the Babel confusion mechanism kept ticking. Knowing how consonants and vowels were "confused" into clicks and tones helps a lot with reverse engineering.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 17, 2020 9:35 AM  

Of course there were trading links. The presence of trading links doesn't demonstrate anything about languange. Does the documented trade in tin from Cornwall to Greece mean that the Cornish spoke Greek? Do we speak Chinese?
In this case, the conclusion was made beforehand, and the evidence cherry picked, strained, and in some cases beaten until it provided the answer sought.

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 17, 2020 5:10 PM  

I said colonies, not trade links. A colony of course is a trade link, but it is also much more than just a mere trade link. As for your statements about conclusions being made beforehand and evidence contorted, well, right back at you. You argue like a Scotsman.

Blogger Vaughan Williams March 17, 2020 5:13 PM  

As for "do we speak Chinese" come to Canada and see for yourself. Many Celts did speak Greek according to historians, and there are large Chinese colonies in Canada. What of it. The phenomenon is recent, compared to the Phoenicians and their thousands of years of trade domination and colonization.

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