“Easter” Does Not Derive from “Ishtar”

Steve Rafalsky:

“Ishtar and Easter

The Indo-European roots of our languages have the prefix aus-, which means to shine, important derivatives of which are the words east, Easter, aurora. It has the idea, “the direction of the sunrise.” The Old High German ostan – east – derives from this root. That the dawn-goddess Eastre or Oestar derives from the same root does not mean they are the same word with the same meaning. The Indo-European ausos- refers to the dawn, and also to the Indo-European goddess of the dawn. [Taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 3rd Ed, the section, “Indo-European Roots”, p. 2095.]

Greek philosophers gave the word logos certain meanings, while the apostle John imbued it with an entirely different (though related) significance. Because Easter has etymological roots in common with a dawn goddess, does not negate its own peculiar etymology and associations, among which are east, shining, rising, resurrection, as noted below.

The English word Easter is of German/Saxon origin and not Babylonian as Alexander Hislop falsely claimed. The German equivalent is Oster. Oster (Ostern being the modern day equivalent) is related to Ost which means the rising of the sun, or simply in English, east. Oster comes from the old Teutonic form of auferstehen / auferstehung, which means resurrection, which in the older Teutonic form comes from two words, Ester meaning first, and stehen meaning to stand. These two words combine to form erstehen which is an old German form of auferstehen, the modern day German word for resurrection.

In English etymology the word Ester coming from the German Oster, morphed into the modern day term Easter. Similarily in German the word Oster in Luther’s Day has now become Ostern, which are the same words but with different spelling. Tyndale with his expertise in the German language knew of the Ester – Oster association. Luther obviously considered Oster as both a synonym for the Jewish Passover and a phrase used for the resurrection of Christ. In Luther’s German New Testament we find Ostern, Osterlamm, Osterfest, Fest, and only once das Passa (Heb. 11.28). In His Old Testament he used the German word Passaopffer, Osterfest, Ostern, and Osterlamm once each.

In Exodus 12.11 Luther rendered Passah with a marginal note referring to the ‘Osterlamm’. Even in contemporary German the phrase “das jüdische Osterfest” (the Jewish Passover) demonstrates that the German Oster can mean both the Jewish and Christian festivals. In fact the meaning of the German word Ostern is today just as the English word Easter was until the KJV translators skillfully put it in it’s correct semantic range, thus separating forever the Old Easter and the New Easter. After 1611 the Old Testament Easter became Passover, a trend Tyndale had begun to accomplish. –excerpted from Nick Sayers article.

(Caveat: I don’t agree with Passantino’s views below on holidays) Apologist Gretchen Passantino remarks,

Easter is an English corruption from the proto-Germanic root word meaning “to rise.” (We see this in the contemporary German cognate “öst-” and the English cognate “east,” the direction from which the sun rises in the morning.) It refers not only to Christ rising from the dead, but also to his ascension to heaven and to our future rising with him at his Second Coming for final judgment. It is not true that it derives from the pagan Germanic goddess Oestar or from the Babylonian goddess Ishtar — both fertility symbols signifying the coming of spring images of fertility, new life, and renewal.

From the article, Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Easter,  1999 by Gretchen Passantino, Answers In Action website

C. F. Cruse remarked, “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 auferstehen / auferstehung, that is – RESURRECTION.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Translated by C. F. Cruse, Hendrickson Publishers, p 437)”

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87452-quot-Easter-quot-in-Acts-12-4%28AV%29-is-it-justifiable, Comment #9



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