"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Oxford Handbook of Christmas

I feel very confident in saying that everybody who has lived through 2020 so far would like to rocket forward to Christmas and the end of this horrendous year, when we find under our trees not just vaccines and economic recovery, but many other gifts as well too lovely to imagine at this difficult hour.

Well one such gift is currently slated for January 2021 release, which will likely work for those keeping Christmas on the Julian calendar; but perhaps that date will change. In any event, here at least is a foretaste of The Oxford Handbook of Christmas, ed. Timothy Larsen (Oxford UP, 2021), 640pp.

About this collection the publisher tells us this:
The Oxford Handbook of Christmas provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary account of all aspects of Christmas across the globe, from the specifically religious to the purely cultural. The contributions are drawn from a distinguished group of international experts from across numerous disciplines, including literary scholars, theologians, historians, biblical scholars, sociologists, anthropologists, art historians, and legal experts. The volume provides authoritative treatments of a range of topics, from the origins of Christmas to the present; decorating trees to eating plum pudding; from the Bible to contemporary worship; from carols to cinema; from the Nativity Story to Santa Claus; from Bethlehem to Japan; from Catholics to Baptists; from secularism to consumerism.
Christmas is the biggest celebration on the planet. Every year, a significant percentage of the world's population is draw to this holiday--from Cape Cod to Cape Town, from South America to South Korea, and on and on across the globe. The Christmas season takes up a significant part of the entire year. For many countries, the holiday is a major force in their national economy. Moreover, Christmas is not just a modern holiday, but has been an important feast for most Christians since the fourth century and a dominant event in many cultures and countries for over a millennium. The Oxford Handbook of Christmas provides an invaluable reference point for anyone interested in this global phenomenon.

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