Just before Christmas, Mark Hay published a piece over at Vice about certain accounts of Jesus' miracles as a child. Specifically, Hay discusses apocryphal (extra-biblical or non-canonical, different terms for these stories that aren't in the Bible) stories in which (in his words) "Lil' Jesus used his divine powers to terrorize teachers, kill Jewish children, and … Continue reading What Do We Learn about Baby Jesus From Apocrypha?
During the season leading up to Christmas known as Advent, the Christian story of Jesus' birth is often a centerpiece of Western culture. Yet many Christians also celebrate another miraculous story during this time: the Conception of the Virgin Mary, Jesus' mother. The feast day is traditionally observed on December 8, exactly nine months before the … Continue reading A Tale of Two Women: Anna & Mary in Advent
As someone who specializes in Anglo-Saxon literature, each year during the season of Advent, I'm reminded of a poem in the Old English Exeter Book titled Christ I. This poem, written in vernacular English (probably in the ninth century), is a series of reflections known as the Advent Lyrics, based on a Latin liturgical cycle sung … Continue reading Advent Reflections through Apocryphal Dialogue
This time of year, holiday symbols surround us on all sides. Some of these are fairly recent phenomena, like Santa Claus (a twentieth-century creation in his popular culture incarnation), electric lights, and decorated fir trees in many homes; some are much older, like Hanukkah menorahs and Nativity scenes. Among those associated with Christmas are a few that particularly … Continue reading An Ox, an Ass, and Three Kings: A History of Apocryphal Christmas Traditions