Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Pagan Origins of Christmas - 40 Books on CDROM

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Books Scanned from the Originals into PDF format

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Contents of Disk (created on a Windows computer):

Myths and Legends of Christmastide BY Bertha F. Herrick 1901

Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions by Thomas Doane 1882
"This shows that the heathen in those days, did as the Christians do now. What have evergreens, and garlands, and Christmas trees, to do with Christianity? Simply nothing. It is the old Yule-feast which was held by all the northern nations, from time immemorial, handed down to, and observed at the present day. In the greenery with which Christians deck their houses and temples of worship, and in the Christmas-trees laden with gifts, we unquestionably see a relic of the symbols by which our heathen forefathers signified their faith in the powers of the returning sun to clothe the earth again with green, and hang new fruit on the trees."

Cross-Examining Santa Clause in the Century Magazine 1922

Christmas & the Nativity of Mithras (Open Court) 1904

Bibliotheca Sacra - Religions and the New Testament 1908

The Christmas book: Christmas in the Olden Time, its Customs and their Origins 1859

The Religion of Mithra - Eclectic Magazine 1888

Primitive Culture: Researches Into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language by Edward Tylor 1889 Volume 2 "Two other Christian festivals have not merely had solar rites transferred to them, but seem distinctly themselves of solar origin."

Origin of the Sabbath by Parish Ladd in the Free Thought Magazine 1899

The Book of Christmas by Hamilton Wright Mabie 1910

The Christmas Tree in Taylor Trott Magazine 1907

On the Origin of the Celebration of Christmas from the New Monthly Magazine 1821

Early Christmas Carols and Customs in the Bostonian 1896
"Coming at practically the same time as the Roman Saturnalia and the Northern feast of Yule, the respective heathen customs of these two old festivals at once became inculcated into that of Christmas, almost as they stood."

Traditions of Eden; or, Proofs of the Historical Truth of the Pentateuch by Henry Shepherd 1871
"And in pursuance of this idea, the Christmas festival of the Sun-god — identical with Nimrod, Tammuz or Adonis, and also with Bacchus — was celebrated in ancient Babylon for ages before the Christian era. It was identical with the Saturnalia of Rome, and kept with similar scenes of drunkenness and revelry. The wassailing bowl of Christmas, of the dark ages in Popish countries, had its precise counterpart in the Drunken festival of Babylon."

Religion, Theology and Morals By Harvey W Scott 1917
"But every custom and every doctrine of long standing has departed far from its original. The Christinas festival, in its main featiires, relates more to paganism, so-called, than to Christianity. The genesis of the Holy Trinity is traceable, through ecclesiastical and personal disputes, through politics and speculative philosophy, back to Philo and Plato; and the paganism of old Rome, transformed more or less, is still reflected through the Vatican."

The Galaxy Magazine 1878
Christmas brings us, with its religious ceremonies, festivities, and pleasant customs which, it is to be hoped that advancing rationalism will never cause to be forgotten. Yet it is worth while, at least for descendants of the Puritans, to remember that the 25th of December is probably not the date of Christ's birth; there being reason for believing that he was born in the Spring of the year, a fitting season it would seem for such an event; and that our festivities at Christmas are of pagan origin— the dressing of houses with greens being a Druidical custom, and the giving of gifts being a remnant of the Roman Saturnalia. The feast of Yule, now confounded with that of Christmas, was observed at the Winter solstice by all the Northern nations long before the introduction of Christianity.

Article on the pagan origins of Christmas in the Christian Review 1840

Yule and Christmas, their Place in the Germanic Year by Alexander Tille 1899 (searchable PDF)

Folk Lore/Superstitious Beliefs in Scotland with an Appendix Showing the Probable Relation of the Modern Festivals of Christmas, May Day, St. John's Day, and Halloween to Ancient Sun and Fire Worship 1879 by James Napier

Sun Lore of All Ages, a Collection of Myths and Legends Concerning the Sun by William Tyler Olcott (searchable PDF) 1914

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge Vol. 12, 1912
"It has also been conjectured that the day was selected because of its significance in the Roman calendar, where it bore the name of dies invicti solia, "the day of the unconquered sun", since on this day the sun began to regain its power and overcame the night."

Sun Worship in Bihar - Calcutta Review 1904

Pagan & Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning by Edward Carpenter 1920

The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, excerpt: "It is in the last degree incredible, then, that the birth of Christ could have taken place at the end of December. There is great unanimity among commentators on this point. Besides Barnes, Doddridge, Lightfoot, Joseph Scaliger, and Jennings, in his "Jewish Antiquities," who are all of opinion that December 25th could not be the right time of our Lord's nativity, the celebrated Joseph Mede pronounces a very decisive opinion to the same effect. After a long and careful disquisition on the subject, among other arguments he adduces the following;--"At the birth of Christ every woman and child was to go to be taxed at the city whereto they belonged, whither some had long journeys; but the middle of winter was not fitting for such a business, especially for women with child, and children to travel in. Therefore, Christ could not be born in the depth of winter. Again, at the time of Christ's birth, the shepherds lay abroad watching with their flocks in the night time; but this was not likely to be in the middle of winter. And if any shall think the winter wind was not so extreme in these parts, let him remember the words of Christ in the gospel, 'Pray that your flight be not in the winter.' If the winter was so bad a time to flee in, it seems no fit time for shepherds to lie in the fields in, and women and children to travel in." Indeed, it is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties * that the day of our Lord's birth cannot be determined, ** and that within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance."

Christmas In Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles 1912

The Sacred Tree: Or, The Tree in Religion and Myth by J. H. Philpot, Isaline Philpot 1897

We can only offer a few additional remarks to what we have already
said elsewhere in these pages on the Pagan origin of Christmas. It
will make us grateful to remember that just as we have to go to the
Pagans for the origins of our civilized institutions--our courts of
justice, our art and literature, and our political and religious
liberties--we must thank them also for our merry festivals, such as
Christmas and Easter.

Christmas and the Saturnalia - Article from Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review 1855
"While, therefore, we would not say with Prynne, that all pious
Christians should abominate this festival, we do say that it has
neither the historic dignity, the moral significance, nor the sacred
associations, that every such institution should possess to command
the approval of the Christian world."

Observations on Popular Antiquities, Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions by John Brand Volume 1, 1813

Observations on Popular Antiquities, Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions by John Brand Volume 2, 1813

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by James George Frazer

The Star of the Wise Men - being a Commentary on the Second Chapter of St. Matthew by Richard Trench  1850

The Wise Men: Who They Were and how They Came to Jerusalem by Francis William Upham 1901

The Origins of Christianity by Charles Bigg, Thomas Banks Strong 1909 (Easter Controversy)

Excerpt: The pagan nations of antiquity always had a tendency to worship the sun, under different names, as the giver of light and life. And their festivals in its honor took place near the winter solstice, the shortest day in the year, when the sun in December begins its upward course, thrilling men with the first distant promise of spring. This holiday was called Saturnalia among the Romans and was marked by great merriment and licence which extended even to the slaves. There were feasting and gifts and the houses were hung with evergreens. A more barbarous form of these rejoicings took place among the rude peoples of the north where great blocks of wood blazed in honor of Odin and Thor, and sacrifices of men and cattle were made to them. Mistletoe was cut then from the sacred oaks with a golden sickle by the Prince of the Druids, between whom and the Fire-Worshippers of Persia there was an affinity both in character and customs."


Esoteric Christianity, Or, The Lesser Mysteries: Or, The Lesser Mysteries by Annie Wood Besant 1913
"The relation of the winter solstice to Jesus is also significant. The birth of  Mithras was celebrated in the winter solstice with great rejoicings, and Horus was also
then born: "His birth is one of the greatest mysteries of the [Egyptian] religion. Pictures representing it appeared on the walls of temples. . . . He was the child of
Deity. At Christmas time, or that answering to our festival, his image was brought out of the sanctuary with peculiar ceremonies, as the image of the infant Bambino is still brought out and exhibited at Rome." On the fixing of the 25th December as the birthday of Jesus, Williamson has the following: "All Christians know that the
25th December is now the recognised festival of the birth of Jesus, but few are aware that this has not always been so. There have been, it is said, one hundred and thirty-six different dates fixed on by different Christian sects. Lightfoot gives it as 15th September, others as in February or August.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages By Manly P. Hall 1928


"Frazer (Golden Bough, 2d ed., 1900, vol. iii, pp. 236-350) fully describes and discusses the dances, bonfires and festivals of spring and summer, of Halloween (October 31), and Christmas. He also explains the sexual character of these festivals."

Pagan Christs: Studies in Comparative Hierology by John Mackinnon Robertson 1903
"The Mithraic Christians actually continued to celebrate Christmas Day as the birthday of the sun, despite the censures of the Pope, and their Sunday had been adopted by the
supplanting faith. When they listened to the Roman litany of the holy name of Jesus, they knew they were listening' to the very epithets of the Sun-God...Others than
Mithraists, of course, would offend, Christmas being an Osirian and Adonisian festival also.

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1 comment:

  1. "Another interesting question is how we ever came to celebrate Christ's birth on December 25, when midwinter, even in Palestine, would not have been the best time for whole communities to be trekking to various towns to be registered, nor, for shepherds to be out all night watching their flocks. Neither Matthew nor Luke gives us a clue as to when the Nativity really took place. December 25th noneheless became gradually fixed (between A.D. 300 and 350) throughout the Roman empire as the feast of the Nativity.

    The reason seems to have been (most lucidly conjectured by Isaac Asimov in his Guide to the Bible) that December 25th, or near that date, is the time of the winter solstice; that is, the time when the sun has passed its decline and with all nature is poised to climb back to warmth, birth, and growth. This point of "sunstop" (which is "at solstice means in Latin) was an occasion for universal rejoicing. The Romans celebrated it in several days of holidaying called the "Saturnalia" in honor of Saturn the Titan-god of agriculture. When Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar, the winter solstice fell on December 25th. Later, in A.D. 244, at a time when the greatest rival to Christianity was the sunworshipping cult of Mithraism, the emperor Aurelian fixed December 25th as the birthday of the sun.

    Christians found it difficult and embarrassing to keep aloof from the explosion of celebration and partying that went on around them. So, very much in the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em join 'em," they gradually slid December 25th into their own celebrations to--as Asimov puts it--"greet the birth of the Son rather than the Sun."

    The Bible's Greatest Stories
    by Greek translator Paul Roche pp. 359, 360