Inaccuracies regarding pagan origins

by AEnEm 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AEnEm

    Easter and Christmas have pagan origins. Many of us were told that since birth. The evidence? Snippets of quotes printed in the WT, from the Encyclopeadia Britannica (EB) and other unknown sources.

    The front page of the jw website currently quotes from the EB suggesting that the name Easter comes from the goddess Eostre (according to Venerable Bede). It then quotes an unidentified source suggesting an alternative "pagan" origin linked to Astarte.

    A quick online search identifies this second source as Alexander Hislop, in his book "The Two Babylons", and that his ideas are not supported by the majority of scholars.

    The JW article then goes on to say that customs around Easter are pagan too.

    If you take the time to read the EB quote, the article goes on to say that the idea that Easter and Christmas is pagan is a "dubious presumption".

    Regarding the name Easter it states:

    "There is now widespread consensus that the word derives from the Christian designation of Easter week as in albis, a Latin phrase that was understood as the plural of alba (“dawn”) and became eostarum in Old High German, the precursor of the modern German and English term."

    So is Easter pagan? I don't know (some sources do say that), but I do know that to suggest the EB supports that view is wrong and seemingly dishonest.

    Note to WT writers: please remove this misquote

  • Athanasius

    The Watchtower writers are famous for their scholastic dishonesty.

  • NotFormer

    Whenever Hislop is a source, you can be reasonably sure that you have a poor argument on your hands. Jack Chick's "Alberto" series of comics relied heavily on it, mainly to prove Catholicism's pagan origins.

    In certain circles you'll see the "Easter=Eostre=Ishtar" assertion.

    As pointed out above by the OP, the true origin of the term probably relates to a timetable, and not a goddess.

  • Vidiot

    Jeezus, go back far enough in history, and pretty much everything has “pagan” origins.


  • Phizzy

    " Jeezus, go back far enough in history, and pretty much everything has “pagan” origins."

    Absolutely ! and the Org. has always cherry picked which Pagan Origins it chooses to ignore.

    Even Passover itself has its roots in Canaanite Religion, and was practiced by the Israelites before YHWH entered their religious thought, and hence the Pantheon of gods they worshipped at the time.

    "Passover" is a total Fiction, as is the whole "Exile" Story.

    So, Jesus was celebrating something with Pagan Roots, and the "Memorial" does the same !

  • Jeffro

    Yahweh, originally part of Canaanite pantheon

    Exodus from Egypt adapted from Cushite myth

    Cherubs in Ezekiel adapted from Assyrian mythology

    Creation and flood myths adapted from Babylonian and earlier Sumerian myths

    The devil as a specific character (rather than ‘satan’ as a generic concept of opposition) from Persian religion

    Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a tree contains elements adapted from a Babylonian legend about Nabonidus

    The ‘Word’/logos from Greek philosophy

    But Christmas and Easter are apparently a bridge too far. 🤦‍♂️🤣

  • Vidiot

    To be fair…

    …back in the day, it took a deep dive into religious history to learn all that stuff…

    …and WT “theologians” were amateur researchers, at best.


    Besides, it was never really about avoiding anything “pagan”, it was to socially isolate JWs from non-members.

  • Scully

    It makes me laugh how WT cherry picks which pagan customs to keep and which others to throw away.

    Wedding rings, marriage celebrations (with white dress and bride being "given away") are also customs that according to them, are of pagan origin, but, hey let's look the other way, so we can offer some kind of fun to look forward to, otherwise the Sheep™ will become restless. We'll dress it up with a nice bow and even let them celebrate their wedding anniversaries.

    If you're going to do that, you may as well go whole hog.... since "a little leaven spoils the whole lump" etc.(Galatians 5:9)

  • TonusOH

    Jeffro: Yahweh, originally part of Canaanite pantheon

    For some reason, my brain initially read this as "Yahweh, originally part of Canadian pantheon."

    And I thought, 'wow, that explains SOOO MUCH.'

    Then I read it again.

  • Jeffro


    For some reason, my brain initially read this as "Yahweh, originally part of Canadianpantheon."

    But it’s true though (Trudeau).

    I’m sorry. I’ll show myself out.

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