To fast or feast? Celebrating Christmas in the eighteenth century


Many folk will be going to Christmas lunches and parties this week – including New College Library staff. Outside our office window the Edinburgh Christmas fair is in full (and noisy) swing, celebrating the season.

This eighteenth century pamphlet,  A discourse concerning the lawfulness and right manner of keeping Christmas,  gives an eighteenth century view on seasonal celebrations.  It takes the form of a dialogue between a master and scholar, prefacing the discussion with the quotation of Bible texts that urge sincere and temperate behaviour. It unpicks the theology of Christmas from an early eighteenth century Anglican point of view,  negotiating the scriptural and historical justifications of the observance of Christmas as a holy day and the contemporary differences in practice with other Protestant Churches. The author looks back on the abolishment of Christmas celebrations (including plum pudding) under Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan regime after the English Civil War. It is possible both this period and the Restoration of 1660 may have been…

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About bibliodeviant

This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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