[b-greek] Re: Easter at Acts 12:4

From: Bill Barton (phos@prodigy.net)
Date: Wed Apr 18 2001 - 23:27:57 EDT

Wes Williams wrote:

WW>At Acts 12:4 the KJV translates PASXA as "Easter".>

This is possibly a carry-over from Tyndale.

There are 29 occurrences of "pascha" in the NT. In referring to the feast
Tyndale translates as "Easter" all 15 times. In referring to the lamb he
translates as "paschal lamb" 3 times and "Easter lamb" 11 times.

Tyndale's translations "Easter lamb" versus "paschal lamb" don't seem to
follow any particular rule. For example, in Mark 14:12 he says paschal
lamb and then Easter lamb in the same verse.

The KJV translators use "passover" to refer to the feast and the lamb 28
times. But for some reason they follow Tyndale at Acts 12:4 and translate
as Easter.

WW>I read some research many years ago that linked the English word
"Easter" with the name of the Goddess Astarte (Greek Aphrodite).>

The Oxford English dictionary credits Bede with the first occurrence of
"Easter" in the English language. It notes the word is simply the English
equivalent of the Greek pascha, Hebrew pesach. I assume this is how
Tyndale was using Easter in his translation.

Today this usage is obsolete and Easter is associated with the Christian
celebration of the resurrection rather than passover per se.

WW>I am unable to find a direct connection between the names Easter and

The Oxford English dictionary relates "Easter" to the dawn goddess whose
festival occurred at the vernal equinox.

WW>I was wondering if someone knew of some insightful research on the
subject while staying focused on the language issue.>

Finegan, "Myth and Mystery," Baker 1989, notes the following of
Mesopotamian religion:

"Next are three celestial deities, Inanna, Nanna, and Utu, who are
associated, respectively, with the planet Venus, the moon, and the sun.

"Inanna (the Sumerian name goes back to the form Ninanna, from nin, "lady"
or "queen," and anna, "heaven"; Akkadian, Ishtar), the queen of heaven, is
associated with the planet Venus as the morning and evening star. She is
the goddess of love, being always young and beautiful, and is yet again a
warrior goddess dangerous to her enemies and the enemies of Sumer. In her
many-faceted character Inanna is the chief feminine deity of the Sumerian
pantheon, and as identified with the Akkadian Ishtar (Hebrew, Ashtoreth;
Greek, Astarte) is widely known throughout the Semitic world." (p. 26)

Some of the internet sites relate Easter to Astarte, for example,


Bill Barton

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