The Politics of Christmas

Posted on December 1, 2011

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I don’t usually highlight my own writing here, but since this is available for free, I thought I’d mention it.

I was commissioned by the excellent political thinktank Theos to write on ‘The Politics of Christmas’. The brief noted that we tend to assume that Christmas should be apolitical in our contemporary celebrations, but that the original gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus were perhaps less than apolitical, and that this invited some exploration. (If you know your recent NT scholarship and you’re thinking ‘shooting fish in small bucket; never mind barrel’ – well, yes, guess why I took the commission…)

The report was released today; it explores the reasons Christmas became depoliticised in the Victorian period, and (at least some of) the various political commitments and implications of the gospel narratives. It owes more than a little to my colleague Tom Wright’s ‘anti-imperial’ reading of the NT, but I think that most of the positions taken are accepted by all strands of contemporary scholarship.

As a result of press releases on the launch, I got to give a live interview with Kingdom FM. Every hairdresser and taxi driver in Fife is now convinced of my position…

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