Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Men's Hightops Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon David Ramirez $5 Off Fire TV Stick Grocery Shop Popular Services hog hog hog  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Deal of the Day
The Origins of Christmas and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Origins of Christmas has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Good readable copy. Worn edges and covers and may have small creases. The cover may have wear and if there is a dustjacket, it may have normal wear. There may be light writing or highlighting. All pages are present and item is in good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Origins of Christmas Paperback – August 3, 2004

20 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.95
$10.00 $0.24

The Battle Plan for Prayer
The Battle Plan for Prayer
Inspired by the Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, War Room,now in theaters.Learn more
$14.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Origins of Christmas + The Feast of Christmas + Christmas in America: A History
Price for all three: $55.03

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

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.
Theological Studies


This book would be an excellent 'all-household' read for the twelve days.
Alan Hommerding


This volume . . . serves well to dispel myths, explain legends, and name key figures for any reader interested in the subject.
Themelios


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.
Catholic Studies


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.
Prairie Messenger

About the Author

Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, chair of the department of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, is active in adult religious education in the Greater Cleveland area. The World of the Early Christians (1997), The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition (2002), and History and Heresy (2012) are among his nine previous books published by Liturgical Press.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 145 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814629849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814629840
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John P. Rooney on February 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Origins Of Christmas" by Joseph F. Kelly, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2004.

This book covers exactly what the title says, "The Origins of Christmas". Professor Kelly presents the establishment of Christmas as an important feast day in the Christian Church, with both eastern and western roots. Drawing heavily on the scriptural nativity stories, found in the Gospels of St Mark and St. Luke, the author shows the roots of story of the Three Kings, then Star over Bethlehem, the Flight into Egypt and many more commonly held aspects of Christmas as the present age knows it. Using historical analysis, Dr. Kelly makes it clear that Christ was probably born between 6 B.C,. to 4 B.C., (based upon the records for the death of Herod) and that the ancient Church chose December 25th as the date for celebrating the Birth of Christ as a holy remedy to Roman extravaganzas in that month of the year. Kelly shows how Christmas and Epiphany developed as competing feast days for the Nativity of Christ in Orthodox Catholic and Roman Catholic branches of Christendom. He also devotes some little time to St. Nicholas and how that saint's feast day metamorphosed into a gift giving day in certain countries (e.g. The Netherlands).

This is not, however, a book that deals with the tinsel: the origins of Christmas trees, or Christmas decorations or Christmas lights. Christmas carols are hardly mentioned, and the more modern aspects of Christmas, such Prince Albert's introduction of Christmas trees to England, are not emphasized in Kelly's book. If you want a bible-based analysis of the origins of Christmas, and how the biblical story grew into today's modern story of Christmas, then this is the book for you.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
In The Origins Of Christmas, Joseph F. Kelly (Professor of Religious Studies at John Carroll University) deftly traces the evolution of Christmas in Christian life and western culture. Readers will learn when Christmas was first celebrated as the birth of the Christ; how December 25th became the official date for Christmas; how the three "magi from the East" became the three kings known as Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar riding on camels and coming from three different continents to worship the newborn in a manger; why medieval and Renaissance artists tended to portray Joseph as an old man; when Christmas music first made its appearance; the real St. Nicholas and how he became the most well known of all the Christian saints. 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 in which Professor Kelly begins when Christmas did not yet exist, and concludes when Christmas had become an integral part of the world culture in general, and Christian communities in particular.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By PLano on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in search of a text that would illuminate the history of Christmas as a sacred holiday in the church -- versus as a secular holiday (there are other good books on that topic). Kelly's book was a perfect fit for what I was seeking.

Kelly recounts the history of the feast of the Nativity (Christmas) in the early church, examining the years from the end of the B.C. era through about the 6th century. He draws on scripture (the gospel accounts) as well as apocryphal literature to identify the sources of details for the modern day nativity story that we know. His discussion of identifying the date of Christ's birth is interesting and, frankly, really helpful for other Bible study efforts, as he explains the reckoning of time in ancient cultures. Really interesting stuff.

I appreciated that the author drew not only on the canon, but on other sources, as well as taking a look at the culture of the day to explain how Christmas came to be celebrated. He illuminates the connection between Christmas and pagan winter celebrations without diminishing the significance of the Nativity.

If you are interested in early Church history, particularly as it relates to Epiphany and the feast of the Nativity, you will find rich information in this text. If you are searching for the "meaning of Christmas" in the context of your Christian faith, this book may make you pause and reflect, and might possibly move you toward a richer and deeper experience of the holiday season.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zach Hinton on October 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for a Western Civ 101 class and read it in a weekend before the class. I thought the book was very well written. If your searching for the explanation as to why Santa is so popular at Christmas or why we sing the carols we sing, don't look for those answers in this book, but still read it. The book gives great historical insight into the religious tradition and historical precedence that manifests itself into today's Christmas holiday. It is very heavy in the church history and documents behind Christmas as an event (not simply the birth of Christ), as well as examining the legitamacy of having a Christmas in the first place. Overall, not bad. Im intrested in reading any more books the author writes on the history of Christmas or other holidays.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Origins of Christmas
This item: The Origins of Christmas
Price: $14.95
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: pagan christmas, catholic christmas feasts