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Durham e-Theses
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The origins of Christmas and epiphany, and the position of the feasts in the Christian calendar

Roberts, Mark (1996) The origins of Christmas and epiphany, and the position of the feasts in the Christian calendar. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis primarily seeks to discuss the arguments concerning the origins of Christmas and Epiphany and the dates on which the feasts came to be celebrated in the liturgical year. This study is not concerned with what form the liturgy of the feasts took in the Early Church, nor what this liturgy might have contained, rather the objective is to assess the evidence and arguments concerning when, where and why the feasts were first celebrated. As the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany, feasts of birth and baptism respectively, sprang from Christian communities in the last days of hellenism, an epoch when polytheism was giving way to monotheism, the nature of the Graeco-Roman world in relation to the Christian Church is examined, considering the culture and religion of the pagan society in which primitive Christianity existed. Judaism also had great influence upon the formation of the primitive Church and its influence upon the origins of the Christian calendar is examined. In the preface to The Origins of the Liturgical Year', Thomas J Talley considers his work to be an updated replacement for A Allan McArthur's 'The Evolution of the Christian Year’. This thesis does not pretend to be a further development of the work of these noted scholars, rather, it seeks to develop and discuss further certain questions raised by Talley and McArthur concerning not only the historic origins of Christmas and Epiphany, but also how pagan religion and culture coloured and influenced the feasts as Christianity developed.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1996
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 15:08

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