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Hardcover 4000 Years of Christmas: A Gift from the Ages Book

ISBN: 1569750874

ISBN13: 9781569750872

4000 Years of Christmas: A Gift from the Ages

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

Carrying the reader around the globe, this book tells how exchanging gifts for the 12 days of Christmas started in Babylon, decking the halls was originally part of a Roman festival, and believing in... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

The hopes and fears of all the years

A quick, fascinating read into the anthropology of religion as seen through the lens of a single holiday. As Joseph Campbell would illustrate in much greater detail in his landmark work,"The Hero with a Thousand Faces," Dr. Count demonstrates the underlying unity in all the divergent historical religious sources of Christmas traditions. Humankind has shared common hopes, fears, and the need for redemption throughout history, which share resolution in remarkably parallel religious practices around the date set for Christmas. Rather than see this as a challenge to Christian primacy, Count sees the parallel hopes and fears behind these divergent practices finding their most complete resolution in the context of the Christian celebration. It is as Phillips Brooks wrote, "The hopes and fears of all the years are met [in Bethlehem]," in the birth of the Christ Child.

An Excellent Christmas Gift

This is a delightful, well-rounded explanation of the development of the holiday we know as Christmas. Readers interested in learning about the origins of our celebration will likely be well pleased with what these authors have to offer. Those who seek reinforcement of their own viewpoints or advocacy of particular religious interpretations of the season might look elsewhere.

An explaination of solstice and christmas celebration

I bought 4000 Years of Christmas because I'm very interested in the history of Christmas and winter solstice celebration and wanted some background on where it all began. Carl and Alice Count's book, 4000 Years of Christmas, answered much for me. It linked the pre-Christian Mesopotamian 12 days of merry-making and their need to have a rebirth of their king each year to fight the old gods who were reclaiming the earth in order to renew the land. The Counts then explained how these celebrations were adopted by the Greeks and Romans, and how separately these early Mesopotamian celebrations moved north via trade routes up the Danube River to an emerging Northern culture. The Counts further reveal that Christ's birth day was not celebrated for nearly 400 years, and that the Roman Saturnalia celebration -- a celebration developed out the Mesopotamian one, was held at the winter solstice to honor the renewing of light and the end of the long nights -- and that 4th Century Christians chose the finale day of Saturnalia (December 25) as the day of Christ's birth in hope of garnering peasant support. The interesting tie they make is that of the change in the perception of Gods -- from ones that are abitrary and sometimes vindictive to one like Jesus Christ who offers love, grace, kindness to all -- including children. After exploring the Christian development, the Counts explore the development of the Germanic god Woden and the Scandinavian god Odin, explaining how they evolved into Santa Claus and mixed with the Christian celebations, and how the history of St. Nickalus was developed. In short, this is good reading and it offers a nice, short synopsis of the development of our familar winter Christmas celebrations and how Christian and early pagan celebrations evolved.
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