The Saint Who Would be Santa Claus
The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra
by Adam C. English
“Adam English’s real gift is in resurrecting through his painstaking historical detective work a flesh-and-blood St. Nicholas, whose courage and Christian generosity are worthy of emulation.” —Greg Garrett, author of One Fine Potion
Beyond the myth and folklore, Saint Nicholas radically influenced the formation of Western history and Christian thought.
The history of Saint Nicholas is a tantalizing riddle of myth, folklore, and historical facts.
"Thanks to English, we have tantalizing glimpses of what actually shaped the man into the saint, and both into an icon." Read what Phyllis Tickle and others are saying about this new book.
"St. Nicholas was a political leader and social activist of his time." Watch an interview with Adam English from Book Expo America.
"A blog site dedicated to chasing theological rabbits and sometimes catching a few. I am a university professor in the Baptist tradition (broadly speaking) who thinks that thinking matters."
Adam C. English
Adam English's blog series on what he's learned from the real Santa Claus in the course of researching his book.
Just about every aspect of this holiday has pagan origins. The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus, which traces the development of legends around Nicholas of Myra (now regarded as jolly old St. Nick), demonstrates many of these juxtapositions.
Who was this patron saint of children, patron saint of sailors, our primary image of gift-giving and generosity?
If you're someone who has a penchant for learning history, and you've wondered if anything historical stands behind the Santa Claus legend, this is probably the best book you'll find on the subject.
Ellen Painter Dollar
How can we allow the original St. Nicholas to inform our modern-day merrymaking?
English cites heavily to Scripture, and the discussion of the Council at Nicea (where my man Nick punched a heretic, because Santa don’t play dat) certainly involves important theological doctrines.
As English points out, a saintly action "need not be miraculous, angelic, or incredible." Nicholas is a saint we can all successfully emulate.
English invites me to stand with the saints that came before, and to try for just a moment to feel the excitement, the risk, and the calling that must have been true for those who struggled to protect and grow the fledgling faith that I now share with them.