Thursday, April 2, 2015

Is Easter a pagan holiday?

The answer, of course, is no:
Let us begin with the Easter-Ishtar connection. Ishtar was a moon goddess worshiped in ancient Mesopotamia, and to a lesser degree, Palestine. The name Ishtar takes its origin from ancient Akkadian. Akkadian is a Semitic language; that is, it shares common roots with languages such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and ancient Egyptian. It was the language of Akkadian Empire and also was widely spoken in the old Babylonian and Assyrian Empires, which flourished from around 2000-1000 B.C. 
...The geography does not make sense. The chronology does not make sense. The linguistics do not make sense. There is simply no way that a phrase from old Akkadian could make its way into medieval Anglo-Saxon and thence to English. And there is no philologist or etymologist who takes the Ishtar-Easter theory seriously.
...Ultimately, then, we are talking only about the name of the feast, not whether the feast itself is pagan in character. This becomes even clearer when we look at the name of the feast in other languages, where it is more closely rooted to the Greek word Pascha, itself a form of the Hebrew Pesach, "Passover." In Latin the Feast is Pascha. In French it is Pâques, in Spanish Pascua, in Italian Pasqua, in Romanian Pasti, in Portuguese Pascoa. Even in England in the High Middle Ages certain monastic writers referred to it as Pascan and Pasches. The ubiquity of names derived from Pascha demonstrates that the feast itself is firmly rooted in the Paschal mystery of our Lord Jesus. The name Easter is unique to Germany ("Ostern") and England.
And ultimately, even if Easter is derived from Eostre, so what? Bede, the most eminent churchman of the age, sees this not as something to be ashamed of, but as something extremely fitting, "calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance" in the words of St. Bede. Given what we have examined, it seems there is no reason to suppose there ever was a goddess named Eostre; but even if there was, it no more signifies some sort of sinister residual pagan influence any more than the named Thursday signifies the influence of Thor worship.
Any old stick will do.

In my last entry I linked to an example of anarcho-tyranny. Within the Church, anarcho-tyranny is manifested when leaders ignore the rules and persecute those who observe the rules.

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