The History of Religions and the Chronology Theory attempt to explain why Christians in the Roman Empire began to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th and whether there is a relationship between the celebration of the birth of Christ and the pagan celebration of the birth of Sol Invictus. The origins of Christmas and Epiphany are somewhat murky, but do shed light on the life of early Christians.
Image: Image of the Adoration of the Magi from 4th century sarcophagus
History of Religions Theory presented by Joseph F. Kelly in “The Birth of Christmas”
The Calculation Theory presented by Andrew McGowan in “How December 25 Became Christmas”.
Pope Benedict presents his support of the Calculation Theory in “The Spirit of the Liturgy” pp. 107-109.
Kurt Simmons in The Origins of Christmas and the Date of Christ’s Birth argues against both the History of Religions and Calculation theories – instead asserting that Biblical and historical evidence show likelihood of 25th of December date for Christ’s birth.
Susan K. Roll, “Towards the Origins of Christmas”, 1995.
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#329 – A History of the Catholic Church – The Manifestation of our Lord