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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(πάσχα , a Greek form of the Hebrews פֵּסִח , and so Latinized by the Vulgate pascha), i.e., Passover. Easter is a word of Saxon origin, and imports a goddess of the Saxons, or, rather, of the East, Estera, in honor of whom sacrifices being annually offered about the Passover time of the year (spring), the name became attached by association of ideas to the Christian festival of the resurrection, which happened at the time of the Passover: hence we say Easter-day, Easter Sunday,, but very improperly; as we by no means refer the festival then kept to the goddess of the ancient Saxons. So the present German word for Easter Ostern, is referred to the same goddess, Estera or Ostera. Calmet, s.v. The occurrence of this word in the A.V. of Acts 12:4 "Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people" is chiefly noticeable as an example of the want of consistency in the translators. (See AUTHORIZED VERSION). In the earlier English versions Easter had been frequently used as the translation of πάσχα . At the last revision Passover was substituted in all passages but this. It would seem from this, and from the use of such words as "robbers of churches" (Acts 19:37), " town-clerk" (Acts 19:35), " sergeants" (Acts 16:35), " deputy" (Acts 13:7, etc.), as if the Acts of the Apostles had fallen into the hands of a translator who acted on the principle of choosing, not the most correct, but the most familiar equivalents (comp. Trench, On the Authorized Version of the N.T. p. 21). Smith, s.v. For all that regards the nature and celebration of the feast referred to in Acts 12:4, (See PASSOVER).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Easter'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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