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From the Publisher
This brief, but well researched book is recommended not only for academic readers, but also appeals to public interest. Kelly succeeds in emphasizing the secular element of Christmas which flourishes alongside the religious element. Early Christians brought pagan elements into the celebration of their Christmas celebrations, thereby adding value to the Christmas season.
This book would be an excellent 'all-household' read for the twelve days.
This volume . . . serves well to dispel myths, explain legends, and name key figures for any reader interested in the subject.
What a wonderful little book this is—full of historical and scriptural information! It is readable and accessible to all. But best of all—what a splendid antidote to the commercialism of the Christmas season to be reminded of the true meaning of this happy, holy day.
Catholic Library World
One of the many pleasures this book has to offer is the chance to recognize familiar faces--whether those of Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar or those of the ox and the ass--and to learn more about where they come from and why they are now so much a part of our understanding of Christmas. It shows the power of a good story, a story that Kelly calls 'a delight to research and tell.' That delight, so evident throughout this book, makes it a pleasure to read.
Any historian of the origins of Christmas confronts bewilderingly complex and uncertain evidence, and the need to be in command of a good many disciplines. The state and breadth of the evidence, moreover, would seem to make it impossible to convey a sense of the holiday's beginnings without misleading oversimplification. In The Origins of Christmas, however, Joseph F. Kelly does an outstanding job of making difficult material accessible to a non-academic audience, and of giving a perfectly clear account of what in less certain hands would surely be murky. Kelly's selection of passages to illustrate and explain the holiday's development is exemplary, and even the reader with no background in the Bible, early Christianity, or the ancient and medieval worlds, will know exactly what is going on and why at each point in his book. Most readers' questions about the origins of the holiday, such as why we think of three kings when the biblical Nativity accounts mention neither kings nor a
The diverse origins of Christmas will come as a fascinating surprise to most who know only the Sunday School version of the Christmas story from their childhoods. The Origins of Christmas is very highly recommended and informative reading.
Midwest Book Review
With its colorful binding, interesting illustrations, wide coverage of topics, and modest cost, the book is a valuable source of information and makes a fine Advent-Christmas gift.