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Author Topic: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans  (Read 14373 times)

Juniperberry

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2012, 03:07:54 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;37061
.

 
 I really don't want to make a claim that Koi or the OP are superficial people in general or whatever- or that they wouldn't have more depth within discussion. I'm just adddressing this one post, it's possible discrepancies, and whether or not it should be a stand alone article as it was presented (which is the only reason I decided to post an Unpopular Opinion regarding it). Furthuring dialogue for those of us who weren't around 5+years ago would be an added bonus. :)

As to fact checking: one might scope out the Catholic Encyclopedia, for starters. Its also full of references/citations/sources to further study.
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Leeway

Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2012, 03:33:34 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;37230
Because this is a discussion and debate board, and uninformative responses are barely worth posting?

 
You've found the missing part, good job. Now let's examine the substantive part of your comment: "...uninformative responses are barely worth posting...".

Within the context of any given discussion topic, what is considered uninformative is going to depend on the reader. In this case specifically, it was an informative post as it stood, but now that it is being proposed to set it up as an article (thus removing it from the context it was originally created in), it seems to me that fact checking (as was previously mentioned) and attaching cites to the article would be good form, unlike this run-on sentence that just won't seem to stop despite my best ef...

AmberHeart

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2012, 04:35:17 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;37257
I really don't want to make a claim that Koi or the OP are superficial people in general or whatever- or that they wouldn't have more depth within discussion. I'm just adddressing this one post, it's possible discrepancies, and whether or not it should be a stand alone article as it was presented (which is the only reason I decided to post an Unpopular Opinion regarding it). Furthuring dialogue for those of us who weren't around 5+years ago would be an added bonus. :)

As to fact checking: one might scope out the Catholic Encyclopedia, for starters. Its also full of references/citations/sources to further study.


With all due respect to the author of the original ‘copied’ post, I don’t think it is up to the calibre of Wiki. The information to refute the one claiming Christmas was stolen is not presented in a scholarly format or tone, quite frankly. Nor is it referenced with suitable sources.

I might suggest that anyone who would like a researched condensed source for the subject might try Ronald Hutton’s "Seasons of the Sun".  This work is somewhat dry and very detailed (he is an Oxford Historian) but he researched all festivals celebrated in Britain and their traceable or theoretical origins including Christmas. I don’t have my copy handy but I think there is something like three fairly long chapters around this festival alone.

Hutton’s research strongly suggests that certain folk customs became associated with this holiday due mainly to Victorian commercialism, for example. The ubiquitous Christmas Tree (sorry Hallmark), carols, Christmas cards, even kissing under the mistletoe was a revived folk custom recorded here and there in certain areas of England. Much of this (with the exception perhaps of giving fancy paper cards) did exist before in other contexts and festivities certainly existed around this period throughout the medieval era. Yet what we would consider to be (pagan) Xmas customs appear to have been packaged up into ‘Christmas’ mainly in 19th century Britain before being exported out to the world.  

Does the earlier sources make these customs Pagan?  Myself, I always have an issue with anything being claimed as Pagan ‘back then’. In my experience, modern Pagan authors (not all but more than a few unfortunately) often seem to blend everything before or contemporary to early Christianity into some kind of a vast melting pot  conveniently considered to be pagan. Original contexts....apparently are not important. There is also an ongoing tendency to take whatever has been labelled as pagan back then and link it up with what has been revived, recreated, re-invented or re-purposed in the 20th century as Modern Paganism without considering the streams of transmission (as Hutton puts it) in-between that made such 'pagan' today in such different circumstances.

Inspirational certianly. Factual, not really.

Perhaps the discussion isn't so much about what the Christians supposedly 'stole' back then but rather about what we as Modern Pagans have been taught to consider 'ours' not 'theirs' today?

I do however agree with Koi's point about being disrespectful to Christians in claiming something integral within the context of their religion (their religious Christ-mas, not the commercialised secular version) is actually pagan. That is a point worth making from both directions.

Amber

Asch

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2012, 04:45:04 pm »
Quote from: AmberHeart;37268

I might suggest that anyone who would like a researched condensed source for the subject might try Ronald Hutton’s "Seasons of the Sun".  This work is somewhat dry and very detailed (he is an Oxford Historian) but he researched all festivals celebrated in Britain and their traceable or theoretical origins including Christmas. I don’t have my copy handy but I think there is something like three fairly long chapters around this festival alone.


I started reading this a few weeks ago. At least the first three chapters are devoted to Christmas: **1. The Origins of Christmas, 2. The Twelve Days, and 3. The Trials of Christmas. There are likely other mentions as well but I'm only halfway into the second chapter so can't say for sure. Regardless, the text is excellent.

I think, in the end, the point is that neither P(p)agans nor Christians have an exclusive claim to the holiday and its various traditions and snarling at one another over its 'theft' or legitimacy is an interested intellectual exercise but is too often taken past the point of relevance and well into the territory of pointless hurt and scoring points.

I still maintain that while Koi's post is clearly interesting it is not a be all and end all regarding the issue or argument of Christmas between P(p)agans and Christians and it's somewhat of a disservice to the post and its readers to attempt to shoehorn it into that role. Yes it is a nice rebuttal to fluffy arguments but it is also questionable and lacks citations in its own right. Basically, it seems to have been put on a pedestal it was never intended for.

Fireof9

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2012, 06:00:44 pm »
Quote from: AmberHeart;37268
I might suggest that anyone who would like a researched condensed source for the subject might try Ronald Hutton’s "Seasons of the Sun".  This work is somewhat dry and very detailed (he is an Oxford Historian) but he researched all festivals celebrated in Britain and their traceable or theoretical origins including Christmas. I don’t have my copy handy but I think there is something like three fairly long chapters around this festival alone.

 
Wow I totally read that name as Ronald Reagan. I was like - He wrote a book on all of this? He was an Oxford Historian?

Then I reread it LOLOL
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Riothamus12

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2013, 03:38:38 am »
Quote from: drekfletch;33425
On one of the lost archives, Staff theologian Koi was in a discussion regarding the claim by pagans that Christians stole Christmas.  It was once dubbed Koi's "infamous post 33," due to it's helpfulness and detail.

It was thankfully reposted in response to my trying to find it. So here I repost to keep it with us and share it with those who haven't seen it yet.  The message Koi was responding to is quoted completely in the text of her reply.
Archive Reposting

 
It still sounds like they stole it from us to me.

Click it or something.It just seemed like it would be fun to toy around with.

savvy

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2013, 04:39:30 am »
Quote from: Riothamus12;123618
It still sounds like they stole it from us to me.

 
How do you figure that one?
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RandallS

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2013, 08:13:43 am »
Quote from: Riothamus12;123618
It still sounds like they stole it from us to me.

Just how do you come to that conclusion?
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mandrina

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2013, 08:37:02 am »
Quote from: RandallS;123631
Just how do you come to that conclusion?

 
he didn't read the rest of the thread?
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Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2013, 08:40:55 am »
Quote from: Riothamus12;123618
It still sounds like they stole it from us to me.

When this came up again last March, I did some further rounding up of data and organisational foo (starting with Koi's work, but expanding). It also talks about what I think would be necessary criteria to consider the holiday 'stolen'.

That's over at http://gleewood.org/seeking/broader-questions/holidays-history-and-calendars/

I'd be interested in what you'd consider evidence it was 'stolen'.
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Asch

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2013, 08:46:29 am »
Quote from: Jenett;123634

I'd be interested in what you'd consider evidence it was 'stolen'.


A misguided sense of self righteous outrage?

Hee.

Seriously though I get why people are reluctantly to let go of this particular myth. The process is confusing from an outside perspective and it's so nice to imagine that Big Bad Christianity stole one of the most popular holidays (in the west) from wise noble Old Religion Pagans that...yeah.

But facts is facts.

Darkhawk

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2013, 09:14:42 am »
Quote from: Asch;123635
Seriously though I get why people are reluctantly to let go of this particular myth. The process is confusing from an outside perspective and it's so nice to imagine that Big Bad Christianity stole one of the most popular holidays (in the west) from wise noble Old Religion Pagans that...yeah.

 
Setting aside the Universal Paganism fallacy involved in the notion that any modern person could claim that something was stolen from "us", I am really actively uncomfortable with the ease with which many pagans can simply erase Judaism from the history of early Christianity.
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RandallS

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2013, 12:17:15 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;123637
....I am really actively uncomfortable with the ease with which many pagans can simply erase Judaism from the history of early Christianity.

Many Christians do as well, unfortunately -- many simply give what amounts to lip service to Judaism role in early Christianity, admitting there was one but downplaying it as much as possible.
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Darkhawk

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Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2013, 12:56:33 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;123644
Many Christians do as well, unfortunately -- many simply give what amounts to lip service to Judaism role in early Christianity, admitting there was one but downplaying it as much as possible.

 
Yeah, well, just because I live in an anti-Semitic culture doens't mean I have to like it. :/
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Jack

Re: Christmas wasn't stolen from the pagans
« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2013, 03:42:40 pm »
Quote from: Riothamus12;123618
It still sounds like they stole it from us to me.

 
So I actually misread that as "It still sounds like they stole it from me." and that results in a rather hilarious mental image of a handful of nuns stealing your Christmas presents. That totally made my day so far, so thank you.
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