Posts Tagged “astarte”

Easter eggsThe religionists at World Net Daily have figured out that Easter is a pagan holiday. That’s right, a pagan holiday (locally cached page):

“Easter” is such a pretty-sounding word, isn’t it? …

It also brings to mind for countless millions the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. …

But brace yourself, because there’s a very dark side to this centuries-old tradition, and it has to do with the famous Ten Commandments of God.

The very first commandment of the Big Ten is perhaps one of the most overlooked in everyday life.

In just eight words, it states: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Most Christians, whether knowingly or unknowingly, violate this very first commandment of God each year by placing before God the actual name of a pagan goddess of fertility and the dawn.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, her name is — believe it or not — “Easter.”

That’s correct, folks. The word Easter is actually the name of an ancient, heathen goddess who represents fertility, springtime and the dawn.

The author even provides what he thinks is linguistic evidence of this:

In different languages and through a variety of cultures, the name of this deity — who in reality does not even exist – is spelled different ways, including Ishtar, Astarte, Ostara, Eostre and Eastre.

Even in the Bible itself, many of God’s own chosen people actually followed the customs of numerous Easter goddesses, with her name spelled in the King James Bible as “Ashtaroth” and “Ashtoreth.”

There are just a couple of problems with this:

  1. This association only works in Germanic languages wherein the name for the holiday is similar to English “Easter” (for instance, in German, it’s Ostern). But it doesn’t hold true in many other languages spoken by Christians; for instance, in Italian, Easter is Pasqua. In that language, and in many others, this association falls apart. The claim that “all” Christians celebrate a holiday named for a pagan goddess, is incorrect more often than it is true, since the majority of Christians worldwide speak non-Germanic languages!

  2. The proposed etymology is also incorrect. The English name “Easter” comes to us from Old English Eastre, which in turn comes from older Germanic roots, within the Indo-European language family, from the Proto-Indo-European root *aus- “to shine,” a reference to the dawn (yes, it’s also related to English “east,” the direction of the dawn). The names Astarte, Ashtoreth, and Ishtar all have a completely different derivation, within the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family; the former two derive from from the Akkadian name Ishtar, whose derivation is less certain but may be related to a Semitic root *assur meaning “leader” or “chief.” Thus, English “Easter” and Akkadian “Ishtar” are actually not related at all, except in appearance only.

These points of ignorance are compounded by the fact that WND is screeching about Easter’s pagan roots, but every Christmastime, they’re one of the outlets beating louder than most at the drum of the “war on Christmas” trope — and seem blissfully unaware of the pagan roots of some Christmas traditions. Then again, consistency is not really something one can reasonably expect of religionists.

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

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