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Showing posts from March, 2016

WoM: 'Easter' or 'Pasche'

Before the AND starts its well-deserved Easter break, let’s have a look at the word - Easter - in its medieval context of multilingual England. While Middle English used the word ester(n for this Christian festival of the Resurrection, Anglo-Norman had the term pasche cognate with Medieval Latin's pascha (DMLBS 2133a). There are clearly two different etyma involved here. The word Easter is remarkable in that is found only in English and German, which still uses Ostern to refer to the feast. [1] Other Germanic languages, and even most European languages, use some variant of pascha : e.g. Pâques (Modern French), pääsiäinen (Finnish), Pasua (Italian), Pasen (Dutch) and πάσχα (Greek). The etymology of that root is straightforward: the word derives from the Hebrew word pesah for ‘Passover’ (the Jewish commemoration of the Israelites' liberation from slavery and exodus from Egypt under Moses). There is evidence that already in the first century  Passover imagery and t