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This brief monograph investigates a fascinating subject--the Venerable Bede's [672/673-735 CE] mention of two Anglo-Saxon goddesses, Eostre and Hreda, who give their names to two of the months of the calendar in chapter 15 of De Temporum Ratione ("On the Reckoning of Time").
Chapters 4 and 5 are devoted to Eostre and Hreda. Shaw reviews earlier scholarship, such as that of Jacob Grimm [1785-1863], identifying problems with the assumptions that underlie such interpretations and then examining the etymology of the names from a linguistic viewpoint, and attempts to connect the most probable meaning(s) with geography and place-names.
The chapter on Hreda is less confident in its conclusion, in that Eostre's connection with the name of the Christian festival of Easter is relatively uncomplicated, whereas the actual meaning of Hreda is difficult to pin down, with a number of possible etymologies, none of which are conclusive.