|Open Letter to Bob Griffin and Dean Kaliminou|
- Friday, April 27 2007, 7:34:58 (CEST)|
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To Bob Griffin and Dean Kaliminou,
Although I can't defend all of the points raised in the article I would like to respond to your origins of Easter letters and respond to the main hypothesis articulated in the article.
You are correct in stating that Venerable Bede was the first to mention the word Easter (Eostre) in his De temporum ratione where he wrote that the month Eostur-monath (April) was so named because of a goddess, Eostre, who had formerly been worshipped in that month. In recent years some scholars have suggested that a lack of supporting documentation for this Goddess might indicate that Bede assumed her existence based on the name of the month.
Those who question Bede's account of a goddess suggest that "the Anglo-Saxon Eostur-monath meant simply 'the month of opening' or 'the month of beginnings'."
Jakob Grimm took up the question of Eostre in his Deutsche Mythologie of 1835, noting that Ostara-manoth was etymologically related to Eostur-monath and writing of various landmarks and customs which he believed to be related to a putative goddess he named Ostara in Germany.
Critics suggest that Grimm took Bede's mention of a goddess Eostre at face value and constructed the parallel goddess Ostara around existing Germanic customs, noting the absence of any direct evidence for a goddess of this name.
Also the giving of eggs at spring festivals was not restricted to Germanic peoples and could be found among the Persians, Romans, Jews and the Armenians. They were a widespread symbol of rebirth and resurrection and thus might have been adopted from any number of sources.
So although there is no current etymological relationship between Eostre and the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar there are numerous similarities that can lead one to conclude that they are one and the same.
1. Spring Equinox - Both take place around the Spring Equinox and symbolise new beginnings or new year.
2. Venus - Both Goddesses symbolised the planet Venus.
3. Resurrection - Both symbolise the resurrection of a God.
4. Eggs - Both were used to symbolise the resurrection.
There is another German tradition that claims that the Christmas tree first originated in Germany yet there is clear evidence in the Jewish Old Testament that the ancient Mesopotamians were celebrating the birth of the God Tammuz using a "tree of life" during the Winter Solstice (December 21-23) years before the birth of Jesus.
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (KJV).
The myth of the fertility God dying in the Summer and being resurrected during the Spring and born during Winter may have been universal but the origin all points back to the ancient Ishtar and Tammuz myth first celebrated by the ancient Mesopotamians. The ancient Mesopotamian kings were considered divine – born of God – which is why they celebrated the Heiros Gamos during the Spring Equinox and gave birth during the Winter Solstice exactly 9 months later. The resurrected God symbolised by palm trees and the shepherd sacrificing himself for his people was a myth co-opted by the Romans after Jesus was crucified. This also explains why Christianity was “accepted” so readily by the people of the Middle East.
In response to Dean, there is no evidence that the ancient Assyrians practised Genocide and I challenge you or anyone else to provide it. Kings Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar may have had armies that were involved in isolated massacres during their long rule but the customary policy of resettlement of troublesome tribes, such as the ancient Jews, was the norm. This is unlike the Jews whose very own Holy Book the Old Testament documents the Genocide of the ancient Canaanites.
Samuel 15:3: "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and
sheep, camel and donkey."
 Hutton, Ronald (1996). Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. New York: Oxford Paperbacks. ISBN 0-19-285448-8.
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