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Africa  

Joel Cabrita

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
This chapter focuses on Southern Africa, examining how the transformation of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand into the region’s industrial gold-mining hub has shaped the Christmas culture ... More

Ancient Sanctuaries  

Rubina Raja

Print publication date:
Nov 2018
Online publication date:
Dec 2018
This chapter is concerned with ancient sanctuaries and their spaces as places where rituals were performed. It discusses various aspects of sanctuaries and their materiality, and the ways ... More

Anglicanism  

Martyn Percy

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
The Anglican tradition had a particular role to play in the elevation of Christmas, moving it from a contested liturgical and cultural day, to a publicly celebrated festival and season—a ... More

Asia  

Joseph Tse-Hei Lee

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
The widespread acceptance of Christmas in Asia hinges on several factors, such as the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the influence of Christian missionary evangelization and local ... More

Associations, Guilds, Clubs  

John S. Kloppenborg

Print publication date:
Nov 2018
Online publication date:
Dec 2018
Life in the cities and towns of the Hellenistic and Roman periods was organized around two poles: the polis or town, and the family, each with its distinctive structure, organization, ... More

Bethlehem and the Census  

Leroy A. Huizenga

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
The Lukan author is regarded as an ancient historian of the first rank, and yet in Luke 2 he seems to have committed a gross error in placing Jesus’ birth during a census conducted by ... More

Bethlehem and the Middle East  

Elizabeth Monier

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
Bethlehem is the backdrop to many of the Christmas scenes we associate with the season, but what is it like to celebrate Christmas in the place where Christ was born? In the West, many ... More

The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Virgin Birth  

Katherine G. Schmidt

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
This chapter surveys the place of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the Christian tradition. It examines her place in the New Testament, with particular focus on her role in the infancy ... More

Carols and Music Since 1900  

Todd Decker

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
This chapter defines and describes a core repertory of seventy-five Christmas songs that have been frequently recorded for popular consumption in the United States since 1900. Song titles ... More

Carols and Music to 1900  

Tova Leigh-Choate

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
From the beginning, music has played an important role in the celebration of Christmas as both a holy day and a holiday, its various expressions reflecting different religious, cultural, ... More

Catholic Europe  

Nadine Cretin

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
At Christmas, European Catholics celebrate the Nativity, Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem. For almost all Europeans, believers or not, Christmas is a family feast. It takes place over the winter ... More

Children and Childhood  

Marcia J. Bunge

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
Even though children play a central role in Christmas traditions worldwide and have been members of Christian communities since the early Church, little scholarly attention has been paid to ... More

Christian Initiation  

Maxwell E. Johnson

Print publication date:
Sep 2008
Online publication date:
Sep 2009
To study the rites of Christian initiation in the early church is to encounter not one but several liturgical traditions in development. This article seeks to provide an introductory ... More

Christian Initiation  

Paul F. Bradshaw

Print publication date:
Nov 2018
Online publication date:
Dec 2018
The limited evidence for Christian initiation practices in Syria and North Africa in the third century suggests ritual patterns that differed from each other in some ways but followed the ... More

Clean/Unclean, Pure/Impure, Holy/Profane  

Jonathan D. Lawrence

Print publication date:
Sep 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
This chapter explores the biblical ideas of purity and the related concepts of cleanness and holiness. It discusses some of the terminology used for these concepts in the Bible and related ... More

Commercialism and Consumerism  

John Schmalzbauer

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
This chapter explores the role of commercialization and consumerism in creating the modern American Christmas. It begins with a theoretical discussion of the capitalist disenchantment ... More

Communal Meals  

Richard S. Ascough

Print publication date:
Nov 2018
Online publication date:
Dec 2018
This chapter begins by briefly discussing the prevalence of communal meals in the Roman world and then turns attention to the form and setting of communal dining. Such meals were framed as ... More

The Cult of Saints  

David L. Eastman

Print publication date:
Nov 2018
Online publication date:
Dec 2018
Veneration of holy people was a significant feature of early Christian piety. Through a collection of ritualized practices, Christians both received traditions handed down to them and ... More

The Cult of Saints and Pilgrimage  

Yousef Meri

Print publication date:
Oct 2015
Online publication date:
Nov 2015
This chapter explores the intertwined themes of pilgrimage and the cult of saints in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, highlighting similarities and differences as well as issues of ... More

Culture Wars  

Gerry Bowler

Print publication date:
Oct 2020
Online publication date:
Oct 2020
As the most significant annual cultural event on the planet, it is inevitable that Christmas becomes entangled with social movements, religious arguments, nationalism, constitutional ... More

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