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Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Time Event
9:22a
And now, for something completely different
Last night, one of my parishioners, who teaches 8th Grade History, asked me for some help identifying primary sources. She has a working group of students who have identified a thesis for a research paper which she feels unqualified to assist much with.

Their thesis is that there is a pagan origin to many Christian holidays. Now, this has been asserted many times. And it has been disputed many times. A month or so ago, we argued over the origins of Christmas here on LJ. I can find a fair assortment of scholars quoting other scholars back and forth.

But she requires her students to cite at least two primary sources; that is, quotations and such from back in the time when Christianity was expanding and solidifying its position in society, creating and/or adapting holidays and new customs for them.

I could think of only one primary source: Pope Gregory's letter to Abbot Mellitus, giving advice to pass on to Augustine of Canterbury. It was written in 601, and is preserved in Bede, who wrote a century or so later. My e-mail to the teacher and Gregory's letter are below the cut, if you're interested.

Anyway, can anybody else help with some primary sources that address this issue?

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