Friday, April 09, 2021

Book Review of Don’t Passover Easter, by Bryan Ross

A book review of Don’t Passover Easter: A New Defense of “Easter” in Acts 12:4, by Bryan C. Ross. Don’t Passover Easter is a recent (2020) religious non-fiction, available in paperback or e-book (78 pages) from Dispensational Publishing House, Inc. for $9.99. Ross is also the author of The King James Bible in America: An Orthographic, Historical, and Textual Investigation (2019) and Rightly Dividing E. W. Bullinger: Assessing His Life, Ministry, and Impact (2020).

Readers interested in Bible translation and words should find Ross’s Don’t Passover Easter quite fascinating. Some of the more adamant KJV-detractors will not welcome it. However, some KJV-supporters might not either. Ross challenges the two views that are more common that his – that Easter in Acts 12:4 represents a pagan holiday (he interacts with Samuel Gipp, pp. 5-8, on this) or a Christian holiday (he interacts with an article at KJV Today on this). He sees “Easter” simply as a reference to the Jewish Passover and not a mistranslation. He further rejects the influence of Alexander Hislop mistakenly tying Easter to the goddess Ishtar/Ashtarte – as well as KJV-detractors such as James R. White whose work also promotes such a view.

This work is “A New Defense” probably in the sense that no one defending the translation in Acts 12:4 has previously presented this explanation in writing in the late 20th and 21st centuries. It is not new is the sense of being unheard of or not previously demonstrated. Through good research, Ross shows that Easter meant pascha before there was such a word as Passover in English – and still meant that in 1611.

Ross looks at the etymology of the English word “Easter,” as well as reviewing English Bible translations made before the King James translation in 1611. One thing that surprised me – because I had failed to consider it – is that the 1557 Geneva New Testament, unlike its successor the 1560 Geneva Bible, uses some form of the word “Easter” 24 times (then Pascal Lambe twice, and Passover thrice).

At the end of the work, there are three appendices on the English words Easter and Passover. A fourth appendix reviews translation words related to the event in the Old and New Testaments.

I highly recommend the book. It is brief (78 pages, including appendices), well documented, well written, and has a little larger than normal type that is easier on old eyes. Ross holds a dispensational view (mid-Acts) that some readers could find a distraction, but, in my opinion, does not detract from the worth of the book.
“The King James Bible is, therefore, not in error with this rendering nor is it a mistranslation of the Greek word pascha. Rather it is a perfectly acceptable English way of referring to the Jewish feast, as attested by the etymological and translational evidence…” (p. 46)

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