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A fixed date for Easter?


MatthewG

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Interesting Story about the last Supper. Link

Humphreys believes a date could therefore be ascribed to Easter in our modern solar calendar, and working on the basis that the crucifixion took place on April 3, Easter Day would be on April 5.

Maybe we're on to something with that date

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I like Easter the way it is: along with bunnies and colored eggs, having Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox highlights the pagan origins of the spring fertility holiday.

The Catholics really knew how to convert!

The pagans i know would much rather Easter have it's own holiday and leave theirs alone though.

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I agree with Analytics' first statement, leave it where it is.  The moving date of easter, flowing with the dance of sun and moon and seasons is one of the last connections most westerners have with the real world outside their over-civilized, urban, materialistic, clock-driven, plastic box.

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I agree with Analytics' first statement, leave it where it is.  The moving date of easter, flowing with the dance of sun and moon and seasons is one of the last connections most westerners have with the real world outside their over-civilized, urban, materialistic, clock-driven, plastic box.

I would guess that most westerners have no idea why the date of Easter changes every year and that they feel no real connection to nature through observing the day.

I agree that that connection is important, i just don't know that celebrating Easter as we do now provides it.

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The Catholics really knew how to convert!

The pagans i know would much rather Easter have it's own holiday and leave theirs alone though.

That's fine with me, of course. But since the name "Easter" comes from the name of the Pagan fertility goddess Ēostre, it would be ironic if the Christians left the Pagan's holiday "alone", yet hijacked the Pagan name. Perhaps they can celebrate the resurection of Jesus on April 5, and name this new April-5 holiday something else?

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That's fine with me, of course. But since the name "Easter" comes from the name of the Pagan fertility goddess Ēostre, it would be ironic if the Christians left the Pagan's holiday "alone", yet hijacked the Pagan name. Perhaps they can celebrate the resurection of Jesus on April 5, and name this new April-5 holiday something else?

Perhaps. Maybe some kind of poll.....

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The Catholics really knew how to convert!

The pagans i know would much rather Easter have it's own holiday and leave theirs alone though.

That's fine with me, of course. But since the name "Easter" comes from the name of the Pagan fertility goddess Ēostre, it would be ironic if the Christians left the Pagan's holiday "alone", yet hijacked the Pagan name. Perhaps they can celebrate the resurection of Jesus on April 5, and name this new April-5 holiday something else?

Most pagans I know celebrate the relevant holiday on the equinox and call it Ostara or Alban Eiler. As for me, I try to celebrate both. I'd like to celebrate Passover, but I don't think it would work well doing it by myself.

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According to the article cited in the OP, it is the day Jesus was resurected and thus is the day that the Christian adoptation of the Pagan holiday "Easter" ought to be celebrated.

But why did the poster say "Maybe we're on to something with that date"?

What were you onto before the article?

(Has The LDS Church always taught that April 5th was the date of the resurrection?)

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It also is reminiscent of how Passover is determined.

Apart from the fact that both Passover and Easter now both take place in Springtime, their timing is unrelated.

Early Christians always celebrated "Pascha/Passover" (they never called it by the pagan name "Easter") on Jewish 14 Nisan. By the second century A.D. some Gentile Christians shifted this celebration to the Sunday following 14 Nisan as the day of Christ's Resurrection, with the immediately preceding Friday as the day of his Crucifixion. By the 4th century this was required Christian practice. Later our modern practice of observing Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox became normative.

Meantime, the Jews continue to employ a neo-Babylonian luni-solar calendar on a 19-year metonic cycle requiring regular intercalary years. Since their calendar floats with respect to the standard Gregorian Calendar, their festivals (including Passover) are usually out of synch with Christian festivals, such as Easter.

The whole point of the recent book by Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper (forthcoming at $75 from Cambridge Univ. Press in June 2011), is that the Jews of Jesus' day used more than one type of calendar, and he is apparently examining the possibility that Jesus and his Apostles used both calendars during Passion Week. Of course Annie Jaubert long ago broached the same idea, so it will be interesting to see whether Humphreys introduces any new and worthwhile observations.

The Book of Mormon introduces yet another calendar system into the mix -- upon which Humphreys' new theory can be tested.

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Personally, I would like to see Easter changed to a fixed Sunday. This would simplify things, but still keep the whole Holy Week thing intact. Preferably the 3rd or 4th week of April: late enough that the weather might actually be spring-like around here, plus it wouldn't overlap Conference or Fast Sunday.

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But why did the poster say "Maybe we're on to something with that date"?

What were you onto before the article?

(Has The LDS Church always taught that April 5th was the date of the resurrection?)

I personally was taught that Christ was born and was crucified about the same time. And the Church was Restored on the 5th of April if I'm not mistaken because that date was important.

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I personally was taught that Christ was born and was crucified about the same time. And the Church was Restored on the 5th of April if I'm not mistaken because that date was important.

Thought it was the sixth.

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I personally was taught that Christ was born and was crucified about the same time.

That is not right. I know there were about 33 years intervening.

And the Church was Restored on the 5th of April if I'm not mistaken because that date was important.

It was the 6th, and the date is important.

Lehi

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Well, let's see:

The Nephites started counting time from the sign of Christ's birth. So, assume the first day of the first month corresponds to April 6. We are told in 3 Nephi 8:5 that the signs of His death happened on the 4th day of the first month. So, April 9. Therefore, the first Easter happened on either April 11 or April 12, depending on whether the crucifixion took place on Thursday or Friday.

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The Nephites started counting time from the sign of Christ's birth. So, assume the first day of the first month corresponds to April 6. We are told in 3 Nephi 8:5 that the signs of His death happened on the 4th day of the first month. So, April 9. Therefore, the first Easter happened on either April 11 or April 12, depending on whether the crucifixion took place on Thursday or Friday.

That presumes that the year was intercalated (like ours with 366 days once every four years), and that the interaclation was frequent enough to make the year and the calendar worked just as ours do today. This is far from a given.

If we were to assume the Nephites had a 360-day year plus five days that were not included in their months, but no intercalation. That gives us a "loss" of about eight days which means the Resurrection happened a few days before His birthday.

We also have to adjust for the discrepancy between Jerusalem and Zerahemla. It's about nine hours, so the birthday may have been a day off (early) according to the Nephite reckoning, but maybe not, depending on what time of day He was born. We know when He died (~3:00 pm in Jerusalem), and the signs in America would have started about the same time, although early in the morning for Nephi.

After raising these ideas, I am close to convinced that the time frame you propose is reasonable, but not beyond critique. I see it as showing Easter's occurring within two days of "Christmas", probably earlier, not later.

Lehi

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That presumes that the year was intercalated (like ours with 366 days once every four years), and that the interaclation was frequent enough to make the year and the calendar worked just as ours do today. This is far from a given.

If we were to assume the Nephites had a 360-day year plus five days that were not included in their months, but no intercalation. That gives us a "loss" of about eight days which means the Resurrection happened a few days before His birthday.

We also have to adjust for the discrepancy between Jerusalem and Zerahemla. It's about nine hours, so the birthday may have been a day off (early) according to the Nephite reckoning, but maybe not, depending on what time of day He was born. We know when He died (~3:00 pm in Jerusalem), and the signs in America would have started about the same time, although early in the morning for Nephi.

After raising these ideas, I am close to convinced that the time frame you propose is reasonable, but not beyond critique. I see it as showing Easter's occurring within two days of "Christmas", probably earlier, not later.

The trouble is, Lehi, that none of these assumptions can work in real time.

As I explain in JBMS 5/2 (1996), 98-99, "within the predominant Mesoamerican calendar, 'reckoning was not by those [365-day] years, but by tuns (360 days),'1 i.e., 600 Mayan tuns = 591.4 solar years, as correlated with the Book of Mormon first by Professor John L. Sorenson." This not only takes us comfortably from the first year of the reign of Zedekiah of Judah (597-598 BC) to the birth of Christ in 6-5 BC, which is required by history and by the 600 year prophecy integral to Book of Mormon annals, but it also requires that the specific 33 years and 3 days of life of Jesus in the Book of Mormon (birth to death) would lose about 6 months in our solar year count based on the 360-day year used in Mesoamerica -- thus requiring a birth of Christ at the Jewish New Year on 1 Tishri (4 Oct 5 BC), the same exact Jewish calendar date on which Joseph took the plates from the hill in AD 27.

Indeed, the earliest Christian liturgy for the birth of Jesus is coterminous with the Autumnal New Year. That liturgy is moved wholesale to the Winter solstice a few centuries later2 so as to coincide with the Saturnalia, the pagan birthday of Mithra and Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun.

1 J. E. S. Thompson, "Chronology," in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., Macropaedia, 4:581a.

2 Eric Werner, The Sacred Bridge: Liturgical Parallels in Synagogue and Early Church (N.Y.: Schocken, 1970), 79.

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