He is Risen! The Resurrection of Christ, by St. Isaac of Syria Skete (Boscobel, Wisconsin), credit: the Orthodox Wiki.
To all of my Eastern Orthodox friends, I say “He is Risen!” on this day when you celebrate Pascha.
For those evangelical friends who have no idea what I am talking about, Pascha is the original name for Easter. Pascha is essentially a transliteration of the Hebrew word for “passover,” or pesach. Way back at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., the famous church council that resolved the dispute over the deity of Christ, which made way for the mature formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, the council also established a uniform method for calculating the date for celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.
However, the church in those days used the Julian calendar, which proved to be flawed in its ability to keep track of the solar year. The Western churches later fixed this by going to the current Gregorian calendar. However, the Eastern churches still have retained the old, Julian calendar method of calculation for Pascha. Hence, this year, the celebration of Pascha falls on May 1st, instead of March 27.
There are some who reject Easter because of its supposed connection to Germanic paganism. But since Pascha is really the earlier name, maybe Christians in the West can drop “Easter” and adopt “Pascha” instead, for now on, and be rid of this fringe complaint.
How about this? I have an idea. Next year, Western Easter and Eastern Pascha will fall on the same date, April 16. How about if the West adopts the “Pascha” name and the East adopts the updated Gregorian calendar calculation system, so that we can all celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord on the same day, in future years? Would this not move us a step towards Christian unity?
Do I have any takers?
I blogged about this before in 2014.
Is there any archaeological evidence to support the Exodus of the Bible?
This week, Jews all over the world are celebrating the Passover, the annual feast remembering God’s deliverance of the Hebrew people from the bonds of slavery in ancient Egypt. Is there a genuine historical basis for these events surrounding the Passover?
After the release of Ridley Scott’s movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and a new documentary film by Timothy Mahoney, Patterns of Evidence, which seeks to re-examine the archaeological evidence, there is a renewed interest in understanding how the exodus of Moses and the Israelites from underneath the yoke of slavery in Egypt might have happened. This fascinating and highly recommended essay by Jewish scholar Joshua Berman explores the issue of the historicity of the Exodus. Berman takes a position similar to mine, in that once we dismiss the notion of a “massive” event involving 2 to 3 million people, that really should be numbered more in terms of several tens of thousands (see Numbers 3:43 for one additional piece of evidence that Berman cites), a lot of the intellectual hurdles to accepting the biblical story tend to fall off.
On the others side, over the years there have been a number of attempts made by some documentary filmmakers exploring these questions, often suggesting some rather controversial theories. How does one go about evaluating these different claims?
In a 2014 lecture, Egyptologist James K. Hoffmeier at Trinity Internation University and Wheaton College geologist Stephen Moshier consider some of the more controversial theories and review them in the light of Scripture and the available evidence. As a follow-up to this previous extensive Veracity posting on this topic, you might find Hoffmeier and Moshier as providing a more modest perspective that nevertheless still honors the biblical record. The bottom line: while there are a plethora of different proposals for resolving the questions surrounding the Exodus, there is enough evidence to rule out some of the more extravagant claims.