Christmas: Better Than a Lump of Coal

Christmas: Better Than a Lump of Coal

Paperback Philosophy for Everyone

Edited by Scott C. Lowe, Series edited by Fritz Allhoff, Foreword by Stephen Nissenbaum

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  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 229mm x 20mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 24 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Chicester
  • ISBN 10: 144433090X
  • ISBN 13: 9781444330908
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,861,946

Product description

From Santa, elves and Ebenezer Scrooge, to the culture wars andvirgin birth, Christmas - Philosophy forEveryone explores a host of philosophical issues raised bythe practices and beliefs surrounding Christmas. * Offers thoughtful and humorous philosophical insights into themost widely celebrated holiday in the Western world * Contributions come from a wide range of disciplines, includingphilosophy, theology, religious studies, English literature,cognitive science and moral psychology * The essays cover a wide range of Christmas themes, from adefence of the miracle of the virgin birth to the relevance ofChristmas to atheists and pagans

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Author information

Scott C. Lowe is professor of Philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. His current interest is in the political philosophy of Richard Rorty. He is the editor, along with Steven Hales, of Delight in Thinking: An Introduction to Philosophy Reader (2006).

Review quote

"Still, it contains several thoughtful and bruising entries, the perfect mix for this time of year". (CBC News, 21 December 2010) "This great new book, in fine Socratic fashion, probes the meaning of Christmas, asking challenging questions that help us reflect on how we celebrate the birth of Jesus." (The Englewood Review of Books, January 2011) "It seems that this time of year most of us are consumed with, well, consuming, whether it's indulgent holiday fare or gift giving. But if you've ever found yourself contemplating some of the deeper aspects of the season, Christmas Philosophy for Everyone offers insight into the season of giving with thought and humor". (Urban Baby, 17 December 2010) From Santa Claus, elves and Ebenezer Scrooge to rampant consumerism and controversial questions of multiculturalism and the virgin birth, this immensely entertaining and thought-provoking volume, in the oft-audacious Philosophy for Everyone series, explores a plethora of philosophical issues raised by the practices and beliefs surrounding Christmas." (, 16 December 2010) "It all goes to show that philosophy can engage comfortably with popular themes after all - in this case, by offering an antidote to festive semiotic overload, and bringing a little reason to the season". (Time Out, 16 December 2010)

Back cover copy

Some wise men, a stable, a few sheep, and a young virgin giving birth to the mortal son of a prefect God: Christmas is one of Christianity's holiest days, and yet it is also a major pagan festival, a secular, cultural celebration, and a commercial event of epic proportions. As consumerism runs rife, have we lost sight of its very essence? Is celebrating Christmas really a good idea? From elves and Ebenezer Scrooge, to the culture wars and virgin birth, "Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone" unwraps the religious and moral issues surrounding the Yuletide season, including: Should parents lie to their children about Santa Claus? What relevance does Christmas hold to atheists and pagans? What does the Bible actually say about the virgin birth? How does Santa know if we have been naughty or good - is there a darker side to our festive friend? "Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone" offers thoughtful and humorous philosophical and cultural insights into the festive season with plenty of goodwill and just a little bah humbug.

Table of contents

Foreword: Joining the Manger to the Sleigh? ( StephenNissenbaum). Editor's Introduction (Scott C. Lowe). Part I: Christmas: In the Beginning. 1. Jesus, Mary and Hume: On the Possibility of the Virgin Birth(Zachary Jurgensen and Jason Southworth). 2. The Virgin Birth: Authentic Christmas Magic (VictorLyons). 3. Putting the "Yule" Back in "Yuletide" (ToddPreston). Part II: Is Celebrating Christmas Really a Good Idea? 4. Armed for the War on Christmas (Scott F. Aiken). 5. Christmas Mythologies: Sacred and Secular (GuyBennett-Hunter). 6. The Significance of Christmas for Liberal Multiculturalism(Mark Mercer). 7. Crummy Commercials and BB Guns: Son-of-a-Bitch Consumerism ina Christmas Classic (Erin Haire and Dustin Nelson). Part III: Santa: A Deeper Look. 8. The Mind of Santa Claus and the Metaphors He Lives By(William E. Deal and S. Waller). 9. Making a List, Checking It Twice: The Santa ClausSurveillance System (Richard Hancuff and NoreenO'Connor). 10. You'd Better Watch Out (Will Williams). 11. Santa's Sweatshop: Elf Exploitation for Christmas(Matthew Brophy). Part IV: The Morality of Christmas. 12. Against the Santa Clause Lie: The Truth We Should Tell OurChildren (David Kyle Johnson). 13. Lying to Children about Santa: Why It's Just Not Wrong(Era Gavrielides). 14. Putting Claus Back into Christmas (Steven D.Hales). 15. Scrooge Learns it All in One Night: Happiness and theVirtues of Christmas (Dane Scott). Part V: Christmas Through Others' Eyes. 16. Holly Jolly Atheists: A Naturalistic Justification forChristmas (Ruth Tallman). 17. Heaven, Hecate and Hallmark: Christmas in Hindsight(Marion G. Mason). 18. Festivus and the Need for Seasonal Absurdity (CalebHolt). 19. Common Claus: Santa as Cross-Cultural Connection (CindyScheopner). Afterword (Santa Claus). Notes on Contributors (Santa's Elves).