Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus
The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra
By Adam C. English
"... a fresh look at St. Nicholas ... English does an excellent job of fleshing out the life and ministry of this man who became a saint who still inspires today."
—Library Journal (Sept. 15, 2012)
"No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. But there was a St. Nick: Nicholas of Myra, that is. More than 1,500 years have passed since Nicholas, a religious rebel and social reformer, embarked on a life journey that led him to devote himself to serving the poor and suffering, and to give away much of the inheritance left to him by wealthy parents. Bishop Nicholas soon became a legendary figure, whose exploits—real and imaginary—live on in the jolly old man we call Santa Claus. But unlike Santa, Bishop Nicholas, understanding Christianity's responsibilities in a hurting world, jeopardized his own security in the service of his fellows. Never safe from his enemies nor understood by his friends, 'Nicholas' life testified to God's gracious hand protecting and providing.' The author, an associate professor of religion at Campbell University, contends that this mythohistorical figure can best be understood when studied in the context of his milieu, the volatile political and religious atmosphere of 4th-century Greece. He presents this understanding very well."
—Publishers Weekly (September 10, 2012)
"The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus is the best of hagiography combined with the best of secular history, all liberally spiced with the passion and verve of a good biographer in thrall to his subject. Thanks to English, we have tantalizing glimpses of what actually shaped the man into the saint, and both into an icon."
—Phyllis Tickle, bestselling author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why andThe Words of Jesus
"Adam English convinces us that the St. Nicholas we know is a cultural icon, as much Coca-Cola as Christian saint. But his 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
"A sensitive, erudite, and accessibly written introduction to the life and times of St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. Having devoted his life to serving Jesus Christ, the real St. Nicholas invites us to a truer and more joyful celebration of Christmas."
—Matthew Levering, Professor of Theology, University of Dayton