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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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The Origins of Easter

The Origins of Easter

Chapter:
(p.179) 17 The Origins of Easter
Source:
The Stations of the Sun
Author(s):

Ronald Hutton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.003.0017

This chapter discusses the origins of Easter. As the execution and resurrection of its founder were the principal events upon which Christianity has based its claims in Messianism, it was inevitable that the annual commemoration of them would be the principal festival of the Christian year. ‘Pesach’, the proper Hebrew name for that festival, forms the basis for most of the terms for the Christian Feast of the Resurrection used across Europe. The Council of Nicaea agreed upon a means of reckoning its date, compromising between the churches in Asia's custom of calculating it according to the phases of the moon, and the practice of the Church in Rome, of fixing it upon a particular Sunday in the calendar. Not until the eighth century were all these in the British Isles agreed upon the rule that was becoming standard in Western Europe, of the first Sunday after the moon had achieved its fullness.

Keywords:   Easter, Christianity, Messianism, Pesach, Resurrection, Europe, Council of Nicaea, churches, Asia, British Isles

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