Thursday, March 21, 2013

Research on Easter article

Research resources for articles on Easter in the Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies series. This is basically a note page and will change as research progresses.
Der Hochaltar des Münsters in Freiburg ist ein sogenannter Wandelaltar, der von Hans Baldung Grien zwischen 1512 und 1516 für das Freiburger Münster gemalt worden ist.

It may be a mess, but it's my mess.

The typical neo-pagan and anti-liturgical claptrap


Previous article on Easter for Word of the Week for January 2011 week 2


Bede 725

Bede 725
Beda Venerabilis: De Temporum Ratione, Patrologiae cursus completus: Series Latina, Bd. 90, Paris 1862

Chapter 15

The Complete Works of Venerable Bede, Bd. VI, London 1843 [ Seite 139 ff.}  pp. 178-179  Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina CXXIII B, Bedae Venerabilis Opera, Bd. VI,2, Turnhout 1977
Eostur-monath, qui nunc Paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a Dea illorum quæ Eostre vocabatur, et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit: a cujus nomine nunc Paschale tempus cognominant, consueto antiquæ observationis vocabulo gaudia novæ solemnitatis vocantes.
Translation by Alex Ring--it all depends on "cujus", could be this
"Easter-month, which is now called (translated as) “Paschal month”, was formerly called “Easter” after their goddess, and they celebrated a feast among themselves by that name. They now know it by the name 'Pascha', and have gotten used to the ancient observance being called by this joyful word, for the new solemnities."

or this: Bede: The Reckoning of Time (Liverpool University Press - Translated Texts for Historians) by Faith Wallis (Apr 1, 1999) p. 54

 Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated “Paschal month”, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.
Einhard (Mid 8th Century)

Claims are often made by fake quotations from Einhard (c. 775 – March 14, 840) in his work Vita Karola Magni 817 to 833 AD.

Examples of fake quotations:
"Easter - *Ôstara) was a goddess in Germanic
paganism whose Germanic month has given its
name to the festival of Easter. Ôstarmânoth
is attested as the month-name equivalent to
'April' that was decreed by Charlemagne,
but as a goddess Eostre is attested only
by Bede in his 8th century work De temporum
ratione. Bede states that Ēosturmōnaþ
was the equivalent to the month of April,
and that feasts held in Eostre's honor...
replaced the "Paschal" observance of
-- Einhard, Life of Charlemagne, §29.

"Some scholars have debated whether or not
Eostre is an invention of Bede's, and
theories Einhard, connecting Eostre with records of
Germanic Easter customs (including hares
rabbits and eggs)."
-- Einhard, Life of Charlemagne, §29.
Both from easter-origins

 Here is Einhard's section 29

[29] Post susceptum imperiale nomen, cum adverteret multa legibus populi sui deesse - nam Franci duas habent leges, in plurimis locis valde diversas - cogitavit quae deerant addere et discrepantia unire, prava quoque acperperam prolata corrigere, sed de his nihil aliud ab eo factum est, nisi quod pauca capitula, et ea inperfecta, legibus addidit. Omnium tamen nationum, quae sub eius dominatu erant, iura quae scripta non erant describere ac litteris mandari fecit. Item barbara et antiquissima carmina, quibus veterum regum actus et bella canebantur, scripsit memoriaeque mandavit. Inchoavit et grammaticam patrii sermonis.
Mensibus etiam iuxta propriam linguam vocabula inposuit, cum ante id temporis apud Francos partim Latinis, partim barbaris nominibus pronuntiarentur. Item ventos duodecim propriis appellationibus insignivit, cum prius non amplius quam vix quattuor ventorum vocabula possent inveniri. Et de mensibus quidem Ianuarium uuintarmanoth, Februarium hornung, Martium lenzinmanoth, Aprilem ostarmanoth, Maium uuinnemanoth, Iunium brachmanoth, Iulium heuuimanoth, Augustum aranmanoth, Septembrem uuitumanoth, Octobrem uuindumemanoth, Novembrem herbistmanoth, Decembrem heilagmanoth appellavit.
Ventis vero hoc modo nomina inposuit, ut subsolanum vocaret ostroniuuint, eurum ostsundroni, euroaustrum sundostroni, austrum sundroni, austroafricum sunduuestroni, africum uuestsundroni, zefyrum uuestroni, chorum uuestnordroni, circium norduuestroni, septentrionem nordroni, aquilonem nordostroni, vulturnum ostnordroni.
[Vita Karoli Magni -- Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, Latin text at The Latin Library]

29. Reforms
It was after he had received the imperial name that, finding the laws of his people very defective (the Franks have two sets of laws, very different in many particulars), he determined to add what was wanting, to reconcile the discrepancies, and to correct what was vicious and wrongly cited in them. However, he went no further in this matter than to supplement the laws by a few capitularies, and those imperfect ones; but he caused the unwritten laws of all the tribes that came under his rule to be compiled and reduced to writing . He also had the old rude songs that celeate the deeds and wars of the ancient kings written out for transmission to posterity. He began a grammar of his native language. He gave the months names in his own tongue, in place of the Latin and barbarous names by which they were formerly known among the Franks. He likewise designated the winds by twelve appropriate names; there were hardly more than four distinctive ones in use before. He called January, Wintarmanoth; February, Hornung; March, Lentzinmanoth; April, Ostarmanoth; May, Winnemanoth; June, Brachmanoth; July, Heuvimanoth; August, Aranmanoth; September, Witumanoth; October, Windumemanoth; Novemher, Herbistmanoth; December, Heilagmanoth. He styled the winds as follows; Subsolanus, Ostroniwint; Eurus, Ostsundroni-, Euroauster, Sundostroni; Auster, Sundroni; Austro-Africus, Sundwestroni; Africus, Westsundroni; Zephyrus, Westroni; Caurus, Westnordroni; Circius, Nordwestroni; Septentrio, Nordroni; Aquilo, Nordostroni; Vulturnus, Ostnordroni.
Life of Charlemagne -- Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, 19th century English translation by Samuel Epes Turner]
 Other Einhard sources.
Eosterwine. (650 – 7 March 686) was the second Anglo-Saxon Abbot of Wearmouth in Northumbria (England).

Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 1, p. 290

At Scribd Vol-1882 ed.


  • Göttingen: Dieterich, 1835.
  • 2nd ed., 2 vols. Göttingen: Dietrich, 1844.
  • 3rd ed., 2 vols. Göttingen: Dieterich, 1854.
  • 4th ed., curated by Elard Hugo Meyer. Berlin: F. Dümmler, 1875–78, 3 vols. Reprinted Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1965.
  • James Steven Stallybrass (trans.) [1] (1888); Dover Publications (1966, 2004)

Grimm's Teutonic Mythology Translation Project

Wikipedia on Grimm

Jacob Grimm, *Ostara, and Easter customs

In his 1835 Deutsche Mythologie, Jacob Grimm cites comparative evidence to reconstruct a potential continental Germanic goddess whose name would have been preserved in the Old High German name of Easter, *Ostara. Addressing skepticism towards goddesses mentioned by Bede, Grimm comments that "there is nothing improbable in them, nay the first of them is justified by clear traces in the vocabularies of Germanic tribes."[6] Specifically regarding Ēostre, Grimm continues that:
We Germans to this day call April ostermonat, and ôstarmânoth is found as early as Eginhart (temp. Car. Mag.). The great christian festival, which usually falls in April or the end of March, bears in the oldest of OHG remains the name ôstarâ ... it is mostly found in the plural, because two days ... were kept at Easter. This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.[7]
Grimm notes that "all of the nations bordering on us have retained the Biblical pascha; even Ulphilas writes paska, not áustrô, though he must have known the word" Grimm details that the Old High German adverb ôstar "expresses movement towards the rising sun", as did the Old Norse term austr, and potentially also Anglo-Saxon ēastor and Gothic áustr. Grimm compares these terms to the identical Latin term auster. Grimm says that the cult of the goddess may have worshiped an Old Norse form, Austra, or that her cult may have already been extinct by the time of Christianization.[8]
Grimm notes that the Old Norse Prose Edda book Gylfaginning attests to a male being called Austri, who Grimm describes as a "spirit of light." Grimm comments that a female version would have been *Austra, yet that the High German and Saxon peoples seem to have only formed Ostarâ and Eástre, feminine, and not Ostaro and Eástra, masculine. Grimm additionally speculates on the nature of the goddess and surviving folk customs that may have been associated with her in Germany:
Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian's God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy ... Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing ... here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess.[9]
In the second volume of Deutsche Mythologie, Grimm picks up the subject of Ostara again, connecting the goddess to various German Easter festivities, including Easter eggs:
But if we admit, goddesses, then, in addition to Nerthus, Ostara has the strongest claim to consideration. To what we said on p. 290 I can add some significant facts. The heathen Easter had much in common with May-feast and the reception of spring, particularly in matter of bonfires. Then, through long ages there seem to have lingered among the people Easter-games so-called, which the church itself had to tolerate : I allude especially to the custom of Easter eggs, and to the Easter tale which preachers told from the pulpit for the people's amusement, connecting it with Christian reminiscences.[10]
Grimm comments on further Easter time customs, including unique sword dances and particular baked goods ("pastry of heathenish form"). In addition, Grimm weights a potential connection to the Slavic spring goddess Vesna and the Lithuanian Vasara.[10]

Handworterbuch DES Deutschen Aberglaubens,10 Bde. 1927-1942,BD 6,Mauer-Pflugbrot
Eduard Hoffmann-Krayer,
Hanns Baechtold-Staeubli (Editor),
Hanns Bachtold-Staubli

Short note on the references: Wesche 1973 is an error, that should read 1937, it is a dissertation from 1929 (a bit obvious from the title, isn`t it?); similar for de Vries; the 1970 edition is a reprint (de Vries died in 1964!) of 1956. ( critical reading of references does no harm). Simek`s German edition at least references also Udolph, J. "Ostern" 1999, who declares Ostara with Eostre as invention and deducts "Ostern / Easter" from a Nordic root "ausa" (pour water) (accepting a proposal by Siegfried Gutenbrunner 1966) thus originating from the main baptism service during Easter night. Has this part of the debate not yet arrived in English?
The presentation of Ostara in the present form thus is misleading; I repeat: in the German debate I do not see anyone including Simek who advocates historical substance for Ostara. (as per your quote; cf. else for the new German research J. Udolph, "Ostern", in: Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Volume 22, 2000) That should be made clear. Can we agree? Kipala (talk) 08:01, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Wiki Talk
----- -----


Ostern. Geschichte eines Wortes by Jürgen Udolph D. H. Green The Modern Language Review Vol. 96, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 247-249
JSTOR Edition


Images and Sources Claiming to Original Pagan Use

Bodleian Manuscript 264 Folio 21
Contexts where image is used to demonstrate pagan origins of Easter Bunny:

Drawing on left is from:
Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick's 1997 A History of Pagan Europe, a polemic against Christianity reads like a Neopagan revisionist history.

Actual source for the image: An illustration from 1344 by Flanders artist Jehan De Grise in collection of mediaeval romances about Alexander the Great.  The original context is at the foot of the page. The Manuscript is available in digital form at the Oxford University and the page may be viewed following this link.

View Folio 21
Link to presentation of entire Manuscript

 Throughout this manuscript the margins are filled with creatively bizzarre and exotic animal and animal/human figures which the tale implies Alexander encountered in his conquests in the east. On this particular page there are three gilded scene illustrations layered above this marginal illustration. The upper level has Alexander and his forces preparing to meet the enemy and the beasts of the enemy. The second layer has the battle. The third layer has the conclusion of the battle. The margin below has what looks to be the Virgin and baby Jesus on the left facing right toward a bird cage from which birds are being released. Toward the middle are two women who may be receiving their husbands back from battle. At the right is the scene depicted in the drawing. Only, the drawing in the book by Jones and Pennick also lacks the Priest with hyssop at the far right looking left over the dancers. The text above the margin drawing describes the scenes from Alexander's story in the three layered drawings.

Images and Sources for Christian Use
Charles Elton Origins of English History 1882 (408)

The Madonna of the Rabbit is an oil painting by Titian, dated to 1530 and now held in the Louvre in Paris.

check also

"on page 780 of Stallybrass' 1882 translation of volume II of Teutonic Mythology, Grimm continues his commentary about Eostre/Ostara; he mentions folk customs in connection to Eostre/Ostara, including Easter eggs, and proposes potential Slavic and Lithuanian cognates for the goddess." Bloodfox Eostre Talk