Friday, April 10, 2009

Pesach and Pascha

Hank celebrates Pesach, or Passover.

We celebrate Pascha, or Easter.

But where do these words come from?

According to some, you can blame it on William Tyndale, the publisher of the first English translation of the Bible. The Tyndale Bible is also known as the King James Bible.

King James I of England ordered the translation of the Bible which was to become the "official" Bible of the Church of England. English translations existed prior to the Tyndale Bible but King James wanted one that would be officially accepted by the Church of England.

The Old Testament was originally translated from Hebrew while the New Testament from Greek. Old Testament documents referred to Pesach which Tyndale translated into a word he coined . . . Passover. Prior to that time the word Passover did not exist.

When Tyndale encountered Pascha in the New Testament Greek, he sought to make a distinction in the traditional Jewish celebration of Pesach (now known as Passover) and the Christian celebration of Pascha. Supposedly he coined the word Easter as a transliteration of a pagan celebration of Ishtar which was held about the same time of the year as Pesach.

Ishtar was a celebration of the new birth of spring, or a new beginning. Similarly, the celebration of Easter is also a new beginning in the Christian faith.

So whether you celebrate Pesach or Pascha, we wish you well.
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