Easter: The Resurrection of Spring

By D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

Author and Religious Scholar

Although it is believed to represent the time of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the festival of Easter existed in pre-Christian times and, according to the famous Christian saint Venerable Bede (672-735 AD/CE), was named for the Teutonic or German goddess Eôstre, who was the “goddess of dawn” and who symbolized the fertility found abundantly during the springtime of the year. (See CE, V, 224; Weekley, 491)  Regarding the ancient fertility goddess, in How the Easter Story Grew from Gospel to Gospel, Dr. Rolland E. Wolfe, a professor of Biblical Literature at Case Western Reserve University, relates:

“In the polytheistic pantheons of antiquity there usually was a king or chief of the gods, and also a female counterpart who was regarded as his wife. This mother goddess was one of the most important deities in the ancient Near East. She was called by the various names of Ishtar, Athtar [sic], Astarte, Ashtoreth, Antit, and Anat. This mother goddess always was associated with human fertility. In the course of time Mary was to become identified with this ancient mother goddess, or perhaps it should be said that Mary was about to supplant her in certain Christian circles.” (Wolfe, 234)

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