Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra

Article excerpt

The Saint Who Would be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra. By Adam C. English. (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2012, Pp.xii, 230. $24.95.)

With an almost boundless ability to readily retrieve informadon, it may be difficult to understand a time when accessing even the most ordinary manuscript was difficult, if not next to impossible. As one looks at an earlier time, the line between fantasy and historical fact rapidly blurs. Adam English's book addresses the tantalizing riddle of the mythicalhistorical figure of "Kriss Kringle, Sinterklaas, Santa Claus, Père Noël, Noel Baba, Father Christmas, Pelznichol, Nicoló, Nick, Nicola di Bari, Nicolaus thaumatourgos, and the myroblyte" (2). Through well-balanced prose interspersed with academic citations, The Saint Who Would be Santa Claus, is both easy to read and developed enough to satiate both the casual reader and the serious academician.

English offers both an overview of Santa Claus in contemporary society and details what we know about the historic Nicholas of Myra. In noting "most popular offerings on the subject of Nicholas are frustratingly uninformative" (9), English's goal is to be encouragingly instructive: a goal I believe he achieves. A survey of popular offerings about the historical Santa Clause and current research is provided. Over the course of six chapters the story of Nicholas is revealed in a surprising way. …

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