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The myth that Easter was a German goddess, or actually Ishtar in disguise, is so profusely integrated into the remembrance of what Jesus did on the cross and His resurrection, that I am hoping it would be helpful to show sources to refute this common error in thinking/teaching.

Historically, the German/Norse/Teutonic/Scandinavian evidence, from where the “story” of Easter allegedly originates – shows that Easter was never worshiped or celebrated as a goddess.  In fact, there is no such goddess recorded anywhere in historical records in either European or Scandinavian cultures.

The name “Easter” is taken from the Spring month of Eostremonath on the German calendar – also known as the Norse/Teutonic/Scandinavian calendar.  In other words, Eostremonath is simply, the name of the Spring month.  It eventually evolved into the English “Easter” as brought to England by the Saxons [ancient Germans].  Easter was used as a convenience and accepted, morphed/coined as the word to indicate the time of year when Christians celebrated the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ >>> because it occurred in the spring. 

According to historical records, spring was not celebrated festively.  That was reserved for summer and winter celebrations.  Neither was Easter evolved from Roman/Green pagan spring festivals.  Although that has been added to the myth as part of the council of Nicea in 325 AD or to Constantine, the word Easter was unheard of until the 8th century AD.  I have noted that some translations of the Council of Nicea include the word “Easter”, but I believe it was added much later [after Bede – 9th century] as a substitute word for pascha, which does not mean Easter, but passover, but to differentiate between the Jewish feast and the resurrection of Christ.

The beginning of the myth, as originated by the Venerable Bede, a Catholic monk, wrote the following:

 From De ratione temporum 15. [approx 700AD] (The reckoning of time, tr. Faith Wallis, Liverpool University Press 1988, pp.53-54)

15.  The English Months

In olden time the English people — for it did not seem fitting to me that I should speak of other people’s observance of the year and yet be silent about my own nation’s — calculated their months according to the course of the moon.  Hence, after the manner of the Greeks and the Romans (the months) take their name from the Moon, for the Moon is called mona and the month monath.

The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath; May, Thrimilchi; June, Litha; July, also Litha; August, Weodmonath; September, Halegmonath; October, Winterfilleth; November, Blodmonath; December, Giuli, the same name by which January is called. …

Nor is it irrelevant if we take the time to translate the names of the other months. … Hrethmonath is named for their goddess Hretha, to whom they sacrificed at this time.  Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated “Paschal month”, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month.  Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.  Thrimilchi was so called because in that month the cattle were milked three times a day…

 

Reiterating, Bede had no historical information on which to base his supposition that Eostre was a goddess.  She cannot be found in any ancient writings or traditions in that entire part of the Norse/German world. 

A professor, Dr Elizabeth Freeman [BA (Hons), MA, PhD (University of Melbourne); Grad. Dip. Ed. (Sec), Grad. Cert.(Rel. Ed.) (Australian Catholic University)], teaches the history of Europe in the early Middle Ages (300-1000AD) and High Middle Ages (1000-1300AD). She also studies medieval Christianity, ancient nuns and monks. She has also written publically, that there was no such creature as a goddess name Eostre. From an article published in 2005 she concludes that the entire myth of Easter was made up – again, based on actual research:

Quote:

The goddess did not exist.

The earliest reference to goddess Ostara or Oestre is by a celebrated medieval intellectual — the monk known as the “venerable Bede”.

Working in north-east England in 730AD, Bede wrote a book about calculating time. Bede identified a pagan spring celebration called Eosturmonath. He said this celebration got its name from a pagan goddess called Oestre for whom they had a feast.

But when modern-day researchers scoured the history books they could find no prior reference to the goddess.

Researchers found many references to the spring celebration Eosturmonath but absolutely no mention of the goddess Bede reckoned the feast was named after. They suspect Bede fabricated the pagan goddess to suit his purposes.

“He has definitely made up that goddess,” Dr Freeman said. “Bede is the first one to mention it. German academics have found no evidence of the spring goddess Oestre anywhere else before Bede.”

Dr Freeman said Bede, who had been a monk since he was seven years old, was revered in an era where very few people were educated.

“Bede was extremely influential and his view has survived until the last 50 years when scholarship developed to the level it could show he was wrong,” she said.

Dr Freeman said Bede and his contemporaries constantly sought to find moral meaning for words and often made up definitions to suit their moral outlook.

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/10716/fur-flies-over-bunny-theory

From another source:

This was [Bede’s] attempted etymology of Easter – which is only called that in English of course. The problem is that as the Goddess in question, Eostre is completely unknown otherwise, … so  this proposed etymology is probably spurious. In the 19th century a German antiquarian invented Ostara, as the German form, using Bede as his source.

Bede admits this idea is his speculation – he is not actually aware of a goddess called Eostre, he just thinks there was one. There is not a single reference to her, from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, any of the other writings we have from the period, or from inscriptions. No depiction – no amulets – nothing. Her Germanic version was invented completely in the 19th century, and again has no evidence whatsoever from history or archaeology to back it up.”

http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/eostre-never-existed-why-easter-is-not-a-pagan-holiday/

 

Another one of the most mangled, twisted, and downright ugly views of Easter is this one:

“Semiramis, the queen of heaven, was “born again” as the goddess Easter (Ashtarte) as she emerged from a giant egg that landed in the Euphrates river at sunrise on the “sun” day after the vernal equinox. To proclaim her divine authority, she changed a bird into an egg laying rabbit. As the cult developed, the priests of Easter would impregnate young virgins on the altar of the goddess of fertility at sunrise on Easter Sunday. A year later the priests of Easter would sacrifice those three-month-old babies on the altar at the front of the Sanctuary and dye Easter eggs in the blood of the sacrificed infants. (Michael John Rood, The Mystery of Iniquity, Chapter 8) [see more on the heresies and false teachings of Michael Rood here:  http://www.seekgod.ca/roodbreakup.htm ]

 Everything about that twisted version is completely and categorically false and sensationalized to appeal to people who are convinced Easter is evil and wicked.  Ashtarte is not Easter.  There is no such thing as eggs being dyed in babies’ blood at any time or anywhere in history, nor is there any evidence that priest impregnate virgins on the altar of a fertility goddess at sunrise on “easter sunday”. These things are designed to get people in fear and to hate Christians who are celebrating and remembering was Jesus did for us.  To mangle and pervert the Gospel in such a way is just plain heinous, in this writer’s opinion.

Although there are many articles and etymologies that link Easter/Eostre/Ostara with Ishtar, historically there is no connection.  The Gemanic religious culture [Norse deities] never mentions Eostre or Ostara as a goddess at all.

 Digging into the Germanic/Norse/Teutonic history reveals that Germany was once a Scandinavian Country and therefore, embraced the Norse deities. The main female deities were known as Frigga and Freyja with no mention of Eostre/Ostara. 

 The Columbia Encyclopedia gives a brief overview of the Germanic/Teutonic/Norse religious system:

The Germanic Pantheon

Germanic religion, like most ancient religions, was polytheistic. In early times there were two groups of gods-the Aesir and the Vanir. However, after a war between the rival pantheons (which perhaps reflects a war between two rival tribes), the defeated Vanir were absorbed into the Aesir, and the gods of both were worshiped in a single pantheon. This pantheon, which according to some accounts consisted of 12 principal deities, had Woden (Odin) as its chief god. Other important deities were Tiw (Tyr), Thor (Donar), Balder, Frey, Freyja, and Frigg. The gods dwelled in Asgard, where each deity had his or her own particular abode. The most beautiful of the palaces was Valhalla; there Woden, attended by the Valkyries, gave banquets to the dead heroes. The ancient Nordic gods, however, unlike the gods of most religions, were not immortal. They continually renewed their youth by eating the apples of Idun, but they were doomed, like mortals, to eventual extinction.

The gods were opposed by the giants and demons, representing the destructive and irrational forces of the universe. It was prophesied that at Ragnarok, the doom of the gods, the forces of evil and darkness led by Loki and his brood of monsters, would attack the gods of Asgard. After a ferocious battle, in which most of the gods and giants would be destroyed, the universe would end in a blaze of fire. However, it was also prophesied that from the ashes of the old world a new cosmos would emerge and a new generation of gods and humans would dwell in harmony.

http://www.answers.com/topic/germanic-mythology#ixzz1AlyyV5QZ

Also from this source – no mention of Ostara/Eostre:

The four main deities in Germanic religion and Asatru are:

Odin (Germanic Woden) – god of magic, poetry, riches and the dead; ruler of Valhalla (gave his name to Wednesday)

Thor – sky god who wields a hammer, controls the weather, and protects the law and the community (gave his name to Thursday)

Freyr – fertility god represented with a phallic statue and seen as the founder of the Swedish royal dynasty

Freyja – fertility goddess of love and beauty, sister of Freyr, known by many names (including Frigg, Odin’s wife and patron of families, who gave her name to Friday)

http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/asatru.htm

“According to Norse Mythology – The Myths and Legends of the Nordic Gods by Arthur Cotterell, Freyja is the daughter of the sea god Njord and sister of Freyr. She is an important fertility goddess …”

“Freyja flew over the earth, sprinkling morning dew and summer sunlight behind her. She shook spring flowers from her golden hair and wept tears which turned to gold or to amber at sea.”

“For she [Freyja] was the goddess of lust as well as love, a suitable partner for Odin who was the father of battles.”

“The goddesses were clearly important in northern religion, yet only Frigg and Freyja play any main part in the tales ….”

“Freyja kept up the sacrificing, for she alone lived on after the gods.”

She [Freyja] was regarded as a giving goddess, bringing bounty to the fields, animals and mankind …”

http://www.valkyrietower.com/freyja.html

Some other sources about the Germanic gods and goddesses:

Idun, Ithunn – (Norse mythology) goddess of spring 

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Norse+mythology

Iduna/Idun/Iduun – Norse Goddess of eternal youth and spring

http://inanna.virtualave.net/slavic.html

“Idun, also spelled Idunn, or Iduna,  in Norse mythology, the goddess of spring or rejuvenation …”

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/282103/Idun

“In Norse* mythology, Idun (Iduna) was the goddess of spring and rebirth.”

http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ho-Iv/Idun.html

Interestingly, the sources above that list numerous Norse gods and goddesses include zero reference to either Eostre or Ostara.

And here again – Eostre/Ostara is missing:

 “Norse Goddesses

Iðunn (Idun, Idunn, Iduna)

Frigg (Frigga)

Freyja (Freya)

Nanna”

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Old_Norse_orthography#Goddesses

 Here are even more links here from historical sources that have written about the Norse /Gemanic/Teutonic religious systems, gods and goddesses, which show that Eostre/Ostara is not mentioned.

http://www.goddesses.com/index_files/AncientGoddesses.htm

http://www.enotes.com/topic/List_of_Germanic_deities_and_heroes

http://wuzzle.org/cave/lovegods.html

http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ni-Pa/Norse-Mythology.html

http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/names/godsnorse.htm

 

It’s important to explore Bede’s writings which have come under intense scrutiny as we see in these references:

 

This was [Bede’s] attempted etymology of Easter – which is only called that in English of course. The problem is that as the Goddess in question, Eostre is completely unknown otherwise, … so  this proposed etymology is probably spurious. In the 19th century a German antiquarian invented Ostara, as the German form, using Bede as his source.

Bede admits this idea is his speculation – he is not actually aware of a goddess called Eostre, he just thinks there was one. There is not a single reference to her, from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, any of the other writings we have from the period, or from inscriptions. No depiction – no amulets – nothing. Her Germanic version was invented completely in the 19th century, and again has no evidence whatsoever from history or archaeology to back it up.”

http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/eostre-never-existed-why-easter-is-not-a-pagan-holiday/

See this article also:  http://www.celtic-catholic-church.org/oak_tree/easter.html

More info on Bede:

It is equally valid, however, to suggest that the Anglo-Saxon “Estor-monath”simply meant “the month of opening”, or the “month of beginning”, and that Bede mistakenly connected it with a goddess who either never existed at all, or was never associated with a particular season, but merely, like Eos and Aurora, with the Dawn itself.” [The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain; Ronald Hutton; p.180]

http://books.google.com/books?id=0WhvTFmRDCQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=stations+of+the+sun&source=bl&ots=im0AMtfwfD&sig=8-v3klcjmM1HOCB8fgMkvJ-sa50&hl=en&ei=Kr_yTKKeNcGblgfPks3VDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

“Eostre is a very obscure Goddess, and uniquely Anglo-Saxon Heathen. She is not mentioned at all in the Norse corpus and only fleetingly in the Old English by Bede in De Temporum Rationale.  Her material is so scant that some scholars have speculated she was not a Goddess at all, but that Eostre was merely a name for the holiday.”

http://www.englatheod.org/eostre.htm

“No Norwegian, Icelandic or other Scandinavian primary source mentions ‘Ostara’. In fact, the name ‘Ostara’ isn’t found anywhere in connection with a goddess. ‘Ostara’ is simply the Old High German name for the Christian Festival of Easter. Because the word is cognate with Anglo-Saxon ‘Eostre’, and because we have Bede’s evidence that Eostre was a goddess, Grimm concluded that “This Ostara, like the Anglo-Saxon Eastre, must in the heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.” [Jacob Grimm, (trans. James Stallybrass) Teutonic Mythology, Dover Books, reprint of 1883 edition, volume one, p.291]

“All we know from Bede was that she was worshipped sometime in April. Bede also mentions another Anglo-Saxon goddess, Hredhe, who was honoured in March, and for whom the month of March was named. If the heathen Anglo-Saxons actually did worship a goddess at the Vernal Equinox, then according to the only historical evidence we have it would have been Hredhe, not Eostre.”

http://www.manygods.org.uk/articles/essays/Eostre.shtml

The connection of Easter with Ishtar was circulated mostly due to Alexander Hislop.  He has a rather lengthy section on Ishtar that is loaded with speculation.  This is how he begins his article: 

 

“Then look at Easter. What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country.”  [Aexander Hislop, TheTwo Babylons (1858) – Chapter III  Section II – Easter]

In that chapter, he connects Easter with Semiramis [completely false], and includes much conjecture and unsupported information about other goddesses, the definition of their names, and other non-historical opinion that he promotes as “truth”. 

 

Ralph Woodrow, who wrote “The Babylon Mystery Connection” based on Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” and at one time promoted Hislop’s “facts” became aware of the errors, wrote another book “The Babylon Connection?” refuting his original book and Hislop’s.  It took a lot of guts to admit he was wrong!  He makes this comment about Hislop on his website, admitting that most of Hislop’s connections and so-called “information” is neither historical nor accurate – it is sensationalism:

“Hislop, for example, taught that mythological persons like Adonis, Apollo, Bacchus, Cupid, Dagon, Hercules, Janus, Mars, Mithra, Moloch, Orion, Osiris, Pluto, Saturn, Vulcan, Zoraster, and many more, were all Nimrod! He then formed his own “history” of Nimrod! He did the same thing with Nimrod’s wife. So, according to his theory, Nimrod was a big, ugly, deformed black man. His wife, Semiramis—also known as Easter, he says—was a most beautiful white woman with blond hair and blue eyes, a backslider, inventor of soprano singing, the originator of priestly celibacy, the first to whom the unbloody mass was offered! This is not factual history—it is more in the category of tabloid sensationalism.”

http://www.ralphwoodrow.org/books/pages/babylon-mystery.html

In the Hebrew Roots Movement, Hislop’s “facts” were snapped up by CJ Koster [“Come Out of Her My People” – referring to “Babylon”] and by Lew White [Fossilized Customs] which promote the most unglody associations with Christianity and it’s “Babylonian/pagan/Greek roots” further hammering into and spreading the conjecture and opinions to unsuspecting people.  Many others within Hebrew Roots have promoted these writings and then propagated the myths within their own teachings.

Both Bede’s and Hislop’s errors are discussed here, and quoted with permission:

Alexander Hislop, in his book The Two Babylons [1858], mistakenly equated the goddess Eostre with the Babylonian-Assyrian fertility goddess Ishtar, and with the Phoenician fertility goddess Astarte. Questionable etymology and the mistaken research of Hislop has led some to conclude that the festival of Easter is pagan in its name and its origins.

However, the annual spring celebration of the resurrection of Jesus was not even called Easter until centuries after Christians began celebrating it, and etymological authorities (those who study word origins) have cast doubt on Bede’s accuracy.

In a footnote in a circa 1850 edition of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, the translator, Isaac Boyle, suggested that “our word, Easter, is of Saxon origin, and of precisely the same import with its German cognate Ostern. The latter is derived from the old Teutonic form of auferstehn, auferstehung, i.e. resurrection.”

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Books, 1984) article on Easter, after mentioning Bede’s account, says it is “more likely” that the word Easter “came from a German root for dawn or east (the time and place of the rising sun).” The Oxford English Dictionary relates Easter and the east to a common root meaning dawn or morning. If these are accurate, Easter did not derive from the name of a spring goddess Eastre. Rather, both words came from a root that means “dawn,” or “morning/rising/new light,” or by extension, “resurrection.”

More likely than Bede’s explanation, it seems possible that the resurrection celebration was named Easter because the word described the promise of new light and new life brought to humankind by the new-risen Son.”

http://www.gci.org/jesus/celebrating

Jakob Grimm — of Brothers Grimm fame (1785 – 1863), in his 1835 Deustche Mythologie; further promoted the Easter myth and wrote that Ostarâ,must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applit to one of their own grandest anniversaries.” Again, scholars have noted his supposition, with no proof, based on what Bede surmised/made up.   Error begets error and is then promoted over and over again with hyper sensationalism in order to denigrate a title/word given to a Christian spring celebration of Jesus Christ. [see above quotes and footnotes

One other myth associated with Easter is that it is etymologically connected to estrus/oestrus giving it an even more sexual and derogatory meaning.  Easter has nothing to do with estrus as seen here in the etymology dictionary.  Please note that the word only goes back to the 1690s, and the definition of “frenzied passion” and “rut in animals” only goes back to the 1800s. Estrous > 1900. The word “Easter” is much older than that as seem in the various writings already sourced in this article.

estrus

1850, “frenzied passion,” from L. oestrus “frenzy, gadfly,” from Gk. oistros “gadfly, breeze, sting, mad impulse,” perhaps from a PIE *eis, forming words denoting passion (cf. Avestan aešma- “anger,” Lith. aistra “violent passion,” L. ira “anger”). First attested 1890 with specific meaning “rut in animals, heat.” Earliest use (1690s) was for “a gadfly.” Related: Estrous (1900).

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=estrus

Comparing Ostara/Eostre to Ishtar/Ashteroth/Semiramis/Astarte

The German Ostara does not come from nor is she related to Ishtar/Ashteroth/Astarte, etc.

Ishtar has a Semitic word root which may mean “to lead”.  Ostara is a German word that means dawn, rising sun and includes resurrection, which became the Anglo Saxton Eostre/Easter. 

    http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Ishtar

Ishtar is a goddess whose history goes way back to the beginning of civilizations and nations.  She is referred to in the OT as Ashteroth.  She is a Semitic goddess, not a Norse deity.  There is no connection between Ishtar/Astarte and Eostre/Ostara who was not even known until well into the Common Era.  Eostre/Ostara is not listed with the Norse deities of the Germanic/Teutonic culture.

Ishtar is a mother goddess, fertility goddess, the goddess of spring, a storm goddess, a warrior and a goddess of war, a goddess of the hunt, a goddess of love, goddess of marriage and childbirth, goddess of fate and a goddess who is the divine personification of the planet Venus.  She is also an underworld deity.  She is known predominately as the “mother goddess” and is connected to the earth’s fertility.

http://books.google.com/books?id=jEcpkWjYOZQC&pg=PA242&lpg=PA242&dq=ishtar+goddess+spring&source=bl&ots=OtCefQODD0&sig=k4CWOPv7hqFroGlkTUyx2jnsDvM&hl=en&ei=foDYTPjjE8OAlAeznZT9CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCYQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=ishtar%20goddess%20spring&f=false

 

Here are lists of names that represent Ishtar in other languages and cultures and please note, not one of them refers to Ostata/Eostre – nor is there any reference to bunnies and eggs, or even sacrificing infants and using their blood to dye “Easter eggs”:

 Ishtar – Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, sex and the divine personification of the planet Venus

Ashteroth [found in OT] is the Phoenician/Semitic for Ishtar

Inanna = Sumerian for Ishtar

Astarte = Akkadian for Ishtar

Athtar  = Arabian for Ishtar

Tanith  = Northern African for Ishtar

Mylitta = Babylonian and Assyrian Mythology > The goddess of love and fertility and war; also called Ishtar; the counterpart of Ashtoreth and Astarte.

Ishtar (Istar) – Assyro-Babylonian; Akkadia, Chaldea, Semitic, Sidon, Sumner.

Also known as: Absusu (Sumerian), Abtagigi (She Who Sends Messages of Desire), Agasaya, Ashtart, Ashtoreth, Athar (Arabic), Aya (Babylonian), Banitu (possibly), Belti (Semite), Bisi-Bisi, The Bride, Dilbar (The War-provoking Evening Star), Gamlat (Babylonian), Gumshea, Hanata (Middle Eastern), Inanna (Sumerian), Innini, Irnini (possibly), Kilili (Queen of Harlots), Meni (possibly), Minu-anni, Minu-ullu, Nin-kar-zi-da, Nin-khar-sagga Nin-si-anna, Ninkarrak (Sumerian), Ninkasi, Ninlil (Phoenician), Sharis (possibly an ancient name used by the Armenians), Shaushka (Hittite), Shimti (Akkadian; goddess of fate), The Shrieker, Zanaru (Lady of the Islands), Zib (evening star who stimulates sexual desire).

Ishtar is identified with the Sumerian goddess Inanna and with Astarte of the Phoenicians and the Babylonians.  She has been identified with Ninlil.  Ishtar corresponds to the Chaldean goddess Nintu. Ishtar parallels the ancient Sumerian goddess Anunit in numerous ways. The Hebrew goddess Tamar is equivalent to Ishtar,  The Hittite goddess Shaushka is known as the Hurrian Ishtar.  As Hanata, she is also a warrior.  The Babylonian goddess Gamlat eventually assimilated into Ishtar, as did the Babylonian Aya.  The war goddess Agasya eventually became Ishtar as the sky warrior.  The vegetation goddess Gumshea merged with Ishtar. 

Her titles of Minu-anni and Minu-ullu may link her with the Assyrian god or goddess, Meni.  Compare Ishtar to Isis (Egyptian), and the Inca goddess, Mama Allpa. Ishtar is depicted sometimes naked, with her hands clasping her breasts.  Often she is bedecked in jewelry and has an elaborate hairstyle. She is also shown reclining, wearing a crowned crescent set with a shining stone on her head.  Sometimes she is shown holding her symbol, the eight pointed star.  In her battle stance, she carries a bow and is depicted standing on a chariot drawn by seven lions.  The lion, bull, and dragon are Ishtar’s emblems.  The lion is her sacred animal and perhaps the dove.

 

See also Abtagigi; Allat; Allatu; Anat; Anta; Anu; Arinna; Ashur; Astarte; Asushunamir; Atargatis; Athar; Aya; Belti; Boann (Celtic); Chemosh; Ea; Enki; Enkidu; Ereshkigal; Gilgamesh; Igigi; Inanna; Innini; Khumbaba; Kilili; Namtar; Ninkarrak; Ninkasi; Ninlil; Papsukaal; Ramman; Saltu; Sammuramat; Semiramis; Shamash; Sharis; Sin; Tammuz; Tiamat; Venus; Zerpanitum.

Information taken from:

http://books.google.com/books?id=jEcpkWjYOZQC&pg=PA242&lpg=PA242&dq=ishtar+goddess+spring&source=bl&ots=OtCefQODD0&sig=k4CWOPv7hqFroGlkTUyx2jnsDvM&hl=en&ei=foDYTPjjE8OAlAeznZT9CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCYQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=ishtar%20goddess%20spring&f=false

 

The Relationship between Ishtar, Semiramis, and Tammuz:

Ishtar was the lover/husband of Tammuz

Dumuzi is the Babylonian Tammuz

Semiramis is the wife of Nimrod/Nimnus and the mother of Tammuz

More information on the Greek goddess Aprhodite and her connection to Ishtar:

“Astarte, Semitic goddess of fertility and love. Dominant in ancient Eastern religions, she was the most important goddess of the Phoenicians, corresponding to the Babylonian Ishtar and the Greek Aphrodite, also known as the Great Mother of the Gods.

Aphrodite, in Greek mythology, goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She was either the daughter of Zeus and Dione, or she emerged from the sea foam. Married to Hephaestus, she loved and had children by other gods and mortals, e.g., Harmonia was fathered by Ares, and Aeneas was the son of Anchises. Aphrodite was awarded the apple of discord by Paris, leading to the Trojan War. Probably of Eastern origin, she was similar in attributes to the goddesses Astarte and Ishtar. The Romans identified her with Venus.

Some have even tried to connect Artemis to Ishtar, but in Greek mythology, she goddess of the hunt. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. Artemis is associated with chastity, marriage, children, wildlife, and, as a complement to the sun god Apollo, with the moon. The Romans identified her with Diana.”

Information from:

http://deoxy.org/gaia/goddess.htm

 

In conclusion, and reiterating:  Bede and Grimm are the only sources that connects Easter with a goddess named Eostre/Ostara – which has never been proven or authenticated – and by their own admissions and writings, supposed that she was an ancient German goddess.  The name “Easter” is a simple word “evolved” from the German “Eostre/Ostara”, into the Angle-Saxon culture taken from the names of the German spring months of Eostremonat and Ostaramanouth and traditionally applied to the Christian spring celebration of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection as the English, Easter.  In other words, there is no pagan connection. Easter was always a Christian celebration, it was never a pagan festival, because there is zero archaeological or ancient literary evidence to support that Easter was ever a goddess or that there were ever festivals in her honor [before the current wiccan/celtic movements] in either Germany or England/The UK/Ireland.

 

 

 

 

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The word Easter comes from the German, eostre which means “east”, having to do with the dawn or sunrise.  There is only one old source [Bede] that connects it with a goddess named Eostre [which appears to be exaggerated], but there is zero historical proof that she even existed.  The only possibility is an obscure and minute region of German folklore which is referred to by Bede with no records or references of any kind of worship or festivals in her honor from that time period.

Bede, c.700

Eostur-monath has a name which is now translated Paschal month, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance. [Christian monk Bede, De temporum ratione (“On the Reckoning of Time”), Ch. xv, “The English months”

This was [Bede’s] attempted etymology of Easter – which is  only called that in English of course. The problem is that as the Goddess in question, Eostre is completely unknown otherwise, … so  this proposed etymology is probably spurious. In the 19th century a German antiquarian invented Osatra, as the German form, using Bede as his source.

Bede admits this idea is his speculation – he is not actually aware of a goddess called Eostre, he just thinks there was one. There is not a single reference to her, from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, any of the other writings we have from the period, or from inscriptions. No depiction – no amulets – nothing. Her Germanic version was invented completely in the 19th century, and again has no evidence whatsoever from history or archaeology to back it up.” 1

It is equally valid, however, to suggest that the Anglo-Saxon “Estor-monath”simply meant “the month of opening”, or the “month of beginning”, and that Bede mistakenly connected it with a goddess who either never existed at all, or was never associated with a particular season, but merely, like Eos and Aurora, with the Dawn itself.” [Stations of the Sun, p.180]

“Eostre is a very obscure Goddess, and uniquely Anglo-Saxon Heathen. She is not mentioned at all in the Norse corpus and only fleetingly in the Old English by Bede in De Temporum Rationale.  Her material is so scant that some scholars have speculated she was not a Goddess at all, but that Eostre was merely a name for the holiday.” 2

“All we know from Bede was that she was worshipped sometime in April. Bede also mentions another Anglo-Saxon goddess, Hredhe, who was honoured in March, and for whom the month of March was named. If the heathen Anglo-Saxons actually did worship a goddess at the Vernal Equinox, then according to the only historical evidence we have it would have been Hredhe, not Eostre.” 3

Ostare is simply the German word for “Easter” ….

“No Norwegian, Icelandic or other Scandinavian primary source mentions ‘Ostara’. In fact, the name ‘Ostara’ isn’t found anywhere in connection with a goddess. ‘Ostara’ is simply the Old High German name for the Christian Festival of Easter.” 4

The “word” Eostre may have been borrowed from a pagan source, but the celebration of Easter is not pagan.  The concept of Easter in Christianity comes from the Jewish Passover as fulfilled by Christ, not because of the pagan festivals of the spring equinox.  If this were so, then Passover should also be connected to paganism because it is celebrated in the Spring as well.

Although Hebrew Roots has really tried foisting off Easter/Eostre as Ishtar, Asheroth,  [Greek goddesses from Greek mythology] or from Semiramis and Tammuz in the OT – they are unrelated to  Easter.   Easter is the English word that comes etymologically from the German Ostare.  Unfortunately, along with that, the myth about the egg laying “Easter rabbit” comes from the erroneous connection to Ashtarte/Ishtar [also known as Asheroth] and Semiramis, which are mistakenly assigned to “Easter” by the likes of Michael Rood.  This “teaching” has made the rounds through the Messianic Hebrew Roots movement as “truth”.  In fact, the way he presents these things is a sensationalized attempt to make Christians look like pagan worshiping heathens.

Michael Rood:

“Semiramis, the queen of heaven, was “born again” as the goddess Easter (Ashtarte) as she emerged from a giant egg that landed in the Euphrates river at sunrise on the “sun” day after the vernal equinox. To proclaim her divine authority, she changed a bird into an egg laying rabbit. As the cult developed, the priests of Easter would impregnate young virgins on the altar of the goddess of fertility at sunrise on Easter Sunday. A year later the priests of Easter would sacrifice those three-month-old babies on the altar at the front of the Sanctuary and dye Easter eggs in the blood of the sacrificed infants. (Michael John Rood, The Mystery of Iniquity, Chapter 8)

Bunnies/hares/rabbits were not originally associated with Eostre.  The Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore bluntly states:

“Nowadays, many writers claim that hares were sacred to the Anglo-Saxon [goddess] Eostre, but there is no shred of evidence for this.”

The association of rabbits with Easter began with the myths surrounding Eostre.  Because of the brief words of Bede, folklore and traditions were more than likely started about hares and eggs and their association with Eostre.  Bede’s comments about the legend of Eostre as a spring goddess [which historically cannot be proved] provided the “breeding ground” for a goddess who cavorted with hares [rabbits].  These legends began in the early 1600s in Germany and were eventually spread to England via the Saxons.

The Grimm Brothers took Bede’s short comments as “factual” and embellished them along with the legends of the day and wrote fairy tales about hares and eggs.  One of the stories is that Eostre found a bird half dead in the middle of winter and turned it into a furry hare to save its life.  Other stories morphed from that into an Easter bunny delivering eggs. 5

More German folklore says the Easter bunny and egg tradition came from the 17th century:

“The character of the “Easter bunny” first appeared in 16th-century German writings, which said that if well-behaved children built a nest out of their caps or bonnets, they would be rewarded with colored eggs. This legend became part of American folklore in the 18th century, when German immigrants settled in the eastern U.S.” 6

“The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the United States in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhas,” sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws.” “Hase” means “hare”.  According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. In 1835, Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Noting many related landmarks and customs, Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of Ostara.

The German and Amish legends were most likely rooted in European folklore about hares’ eggs  which seems to have been a confusion between hares raising their young at ground level and the finding of plovers‘ nests nearby, abandoned by the adult birds to distract predators. Hares use a hollow called a form rather than a burrow. Lapwings nest on the same sort of ground, and their nests look very similar to hare forms. So in the Spring, eggs would be found in what looked like hare forms, giving rise to the belief that the hare laid eggs in the spring.” 7

The coloring or dying of Easter eggs is of unknown origin.  Some evidence goes back to the early Egyptians and Persians.  Christianity adopted the practice of dying the eggs red as a symbol of Christ’s blood shed on the cross.  Early Catholicism required that eggs be given up for lent fasting, so there were an abundance of eggs at Easter, which is a possible source for their popularity on Easter morning.

There is no historical source that shows worshipers of Ishtar took the blood of sacrificed babies and used their blood to dip eggs, although this information can be found on numerous websites – with no sources.  As Ishtar has nothing to do with Easter, it is obvious that the more sensational Hebrew Roots adherents punctuate Easter with bizarre pagan practices, the more they feel vindicated to demote and denigrate the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The word pesach comes from the Aramaic/Chaldean word pasah – so it’s origin is “pagan”, which makes it as “pagan” as “Easter”.  The Greek paschal also comes from the Aramaic.

From the online etymological dictionary:

paschal

1427, “of or pertaining to Easter,” from L.L. paschalis, from pascha “Passover, Easter,” from Gk. pascha “Passover,” from Aramaic pasha “pass over,” corresponding to Heb. pesah, from pasah “to pass over” (see Passover). Pasche was an early M.E. term for “Easter” (see Easter).

In light of the etymology, it would be incorrect to say that Christians “mistranslated” the word pascha [particularly Acts 12:4]. History shows that pascha and Easter have been used interchangeably for centuries. 8 Easter is simply the English translation for pascha.  There is no conspiracy, no Greek paganism involved.  The celebration of the resurrection of Christ came to be known as Easter.

William Tyndale, in the 1500s coined the word Passover in his translation and used also used Easter fourteen times, which shows that the English word was in use in the middle ages.  Tyndale was an expert in German, so he knew the translation of Ostare to the English Easter. Some of the earlier translations also used Easter.  That the world and Christians have added other traditions to their festivities in no way lessens what Easter means to those who love Jesus Christ and worship Him, their risen Lord and Savior.

Judaism often uses the word Passover, which as noted, comes from a “pagan” translator, from a Hebrew Roots perspective.  The Jewish people have historically taken practices and words from other cultures and tongues and made them their own, with a new slant.  Like synagogue and affikomen – both Greek words connected to Greek/Hellenistic culture.

Of course Christians took pascha/Passover/Easter and refocused it on the fulfillment of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Christians are more than aware of Passover and the commands of God pertaining to it in the OT.  On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the disciples and Jesus were celebrating Passover, having killed the Passover and were eating the supper.  This is when Jesus pointed out that He was the bread and wine – the entrance of the New Covenant, bought in His blood.  He said: “This do in remembrance of Me” – referring to the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, which had replaced the feast of Passover.  It is clearly there in the Gospels.  It is not difficult to grasp.

Mat 26:26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Mat 26:27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

Mat 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

****

Luk 22:15  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

Luk 22:16  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Luk 22:17  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

Luk 22:18  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

Luk 22:19  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Luk 22:20  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

******

Joh 6:48  I am that bread of life.

Joh 6:49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

Joh 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Joh 6:53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Joh 6:54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Joh 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Joh 6:57  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

Joh 6:58  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

That night Jesus also washed the disciple’s feet.  Something that Hebrew Roots appears to leave out of their feasting.  Perhaps because it obviously conveys that Passover was completed and fulfilled in Christ, with the emphasis on serving.  It’s interesting that HR says nothing about this practice as part of the “Seder” – it was obviously left out.  Jesus actually said that we should serve others as He served us and gave His life for us.  Instead of moving forward in the grace and love of Christ, HR wants to go under the Law to keep feasts and totally forget what Jesus implemented.

Joh 13:4  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

Joh 13:5  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Joh 13:6  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

Joh 13:7  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

Joh 13:8  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Joh 13:9  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Joh 13:10  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Joh 13:11  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

Joh 13:12  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

Joh 13:13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Joh 13:14  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Joh 13:15  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Joh 13:16  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Passover was given by God as a remembrance of when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt.  The original rendering is told in Exodus 12.  When God gave the commandments to Moses at Mt Sinai, seven feasts were also commanded to be kept by Israel during the year.  Passover was the first of these. Passover/Unleavened Bread was also one of the three required feasts for males to return to Jerusalem to keep.  We can see evidence of this is the NT when Mary and Jospeh took Jesus to Jerusalem to keep Passover when He was twelve years old.  The Passover seder was not implemented at this point in history – it is a much latter Rabbincial addition.

Passover also includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Passover is a one day observance with Unleavened Bread for eight days.  By the time of the New Testament, Passover and Unleavened Bread were incorporated as one Feast.  We can see by the testimony of the Gospels that Unleavened Bread was actually the beginning of Passover and interestingly appears to occur inclusive of Passover, which begs the question of how did Jesus die at the exact moment that the lambs were sacrificed when they were eating the Passover [lamb] the night before Messianics are convinced that Jesus was actually crucified?

Mat 26:17  Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

Mar 14:12  *And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover*, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

Luk 22:1  Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.

Luk 22:7  Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

It is obvious from the NT that Jesus fulfilled the Passover with His death.  Although some Messianics state that Jesus did not die as “sin offering” in remembrance of Passover.   Paul stated specifically that Jesus was the Passover Lamb!  If one looks at the Mosaic Law, it is clear that Passover also required a sin offering – once again proving that Jesus did in fact fully fulfill Passover.

Num 28:16  And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.

Num 28:17  And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.

Num 28:18  In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:

Num 28:19  But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:

Num 28:20  And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram;

Num 28:21  A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs:

Num 28:22  And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.

Num 28:23  Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.

1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [the word Passover = Lamb]

Mar 14:12  *And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover*, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

Luk 22:7  Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

Unleavened Bread is an integral part of Passover. The escape from sin and bondage is allegorical to Egypt throughout the Bible.

Deu 16:3  Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

Deu 16:4  And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.

Exo 34:25  Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1Co 5:8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Luk 12:1  In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Gal 5:9  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

The Passover Seder called the Haggadah, is the Talmudic interpretation of how Judaism keeps the feast of Passover. The Seder is a set of “late” instructions and traditions that have been fully incorporated into Judaism, that were Hellenistic in their origins.  The Seder was not yet practiced in the first century.  They have nothing to do with Jesus Christ, although Messianics and many Christians are convinced there are “hidden” meanings with the practices of the Seder that point to Christ, and that He observed the Seder at the Last Supper. The Talmud denies Christ, and therefore its decisions and instructions are not associated with Him.  How can a system that denies who He is give any insight as to His fulfillment through His death and resurrection by way of a feast that is perceived to be unfulfilled and ongoing – and has nothing to do with Him?

*** Stay tuned for Part 2 [The historical Hellenistic origins of the Passover Seder] and Part 3 [Why the Passover Seder is not allegorical of Jesus Christ].


http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/eostre-never-existed-why-easter-is-not-a-pagan-holiday/ and:

http://www.celtic-catholic-church.org/oak_tree/easter.html

http://www.englatheod.org/eostre.htm

3   http://www.manygods.org.uk/articles/essays/Eostre.shtml

4  ibid

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre

http://www.answers.com/topic/the-easter-bunny

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Easter_Bunny

7  ibid

http://www.easterau.com/

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