The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra

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by Adam C. English
     
 


The real story of Santa--and why he became a SaintSee more details below

Overview


The real story of Santa--and why he became a Saint

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. But there was a St. Nick: Nicholas of Myra, that is. More than 1,500 years have passed since Nicholas, a religious rebel and social reformer, embarked on a life journey that led him to devote himself to serving the poor and suffering, and to give away much of the inheritance left to him by wealthy parents. Bishop Nicholas soon became a legendary figure, whose exploits—real and imaginary—live on in the jolly old man we call Santa Claus. But unlike Santa, Bishop Nicholas, understanding Christianity’s responsibilities in a hurting world, jeopardized his own security in the service of his fellows. Never safe from his enemies nor understood by his friends, “Nicholas’ life testified to God’s gracious hand protecting and providing.” The author, an associate professor of religion at Campbell University, contends that this mythohistorical figure can best be understood when studied in the context of his milieu, the volatile political and religious atmosphere of 4th-century Greece. He presents this understanding very well. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. But there was a St. Nick: Nicholas of Myra, that is. More than 1,500 years have passed since Nicholas, a religious rebel and social reformer, embarked on a life journey that led him to devote himself to serving the poor and suffering, and to give away much of the inheritance left to him by wealthy parents. Bishop Nicholas soon became a legendary figure, whose exploits--real and imaginary--live on in the jolly old man we call Santa Claus. But unlike Santa, Bishop Nicholas, understanding Christianity's responsibilities in a hurting world, jeopardized his own security in the service of his fellows. Never safe from his enemies nor understood by his friends, 'Nicholas' life testified to God's gracious hand protecting and providing.' The author, an associate professor of religion at Campbell University, contends that this mythohistorical figure can best be understood when studied in the context of his milieu, the volatile political and religious atmosphere of 4th-century Greece. He presents this understanding very well. (Nov.)"
--Publishers Weekly (September 10, 2012)

"[English] ... contends that this mythohistorical figure can best be understood when studied in the context of his milieu, the volatile political and religious atmosphere of 4th-century Greece. He presents this understanding very well."
--Publishers Weekly (September 10, 2012)

"The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus is the best of hagiography combined with the best of secular history, all liberally spiced with the passion and verve of a good biographer in thrall to his subject. Thanks to English, we have tantalizing glimpses of what actually shaped the man into the saint, and both into an icon."
--Phyllis Tickle, bestselling author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why and The Words of Jesus

"... a fresh look at St. Nicholas.... English does an excellent job of fleshing out the life and ministry of this man who became a saint who still inspires today."
--Library Journal (Sept. 15, 2012)

"Adam English convinces us that the St. Nicholas we know is a cultural icon, as much Coca-Cola as Christian saint. But his real gift is in resurrecting through his painstaking historical detective work a flesh and blood St. Nicholas, whose courage and Christian generosity are worthy of emulation."
--Greg Garrett, author of One Fine Potion

"A sensitive, erudite, and accessibly written introduction to the life and times of St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. Having devoted his life to serving Jesus Christ, the real St. Nicholas invites us to a truer and more joyful celebration of Christmas."
--Matthew Levering, Professor of Theology, University of Dayton

Library Journal
Serving up a fresh look at St. Nicholas of Myra—of Santa Claus fame—English, (religion, Campbell Univ.; Theology Remixed: Christianity as Story, Game, Language, Culture) reexamines new evidence about the personal life and ministry of the saint whose acts of charity led to the legend of St. Nick. While joining other recent books on the subject, e.g., Joe L. Wheeler's Saint Nicholas, English's work includes copious notes and illustrations which separate it from the others because of his substantial scholarly focus. Although the generosity of Nicholas's famous gifts are explored, English focuses more on the struggles Nicholas of Myra faced as a bishop, and his service on the Council of Nicaea. VERDICT Expertly weaving through the web of historical facts and legend, English does a solid job of fleshing out the life and ministry of this man who became a saint who still inspires today. This academic work is best suited for those who have knowledge of early church history. A worthy addition to any religion collection that focuses on early church leaders in Christianity.—Holly S. Hebert, Brentwood Lib., TN

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781602586345
Publisher:
Baylor University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2012
Pages:
242
Sales rank:
1,183,247
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Adam C. English is Associate Professor of Religion at Campbell University where he teaches on the philosophy of religion, constructive theology, and the history of Christian thought. He lives near Raleigh, North Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

"The history of Nicholas presents a tantalizing riddle. At first, there is nothing--no writings, disciples, or major acts. Then, curiously, story fragments and rumors begin to surface like driftwood in the water. A church is built in his honor at Constantinople and the next thing you know, he's an international symbol of holiday cheer and goodwill, an absolutely essential part of the Christmas tradition, and the joy of boys and girls everywhere ...."
--from the Introduction

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