Program Nov. 8 to examine ‘How Christmas Got to be This Way’

A prominent scholar of religion in popular culture will explore “How Christmas Got to be This Way – For Christians and Jews” in a program that will be held at Luther Seminary in St. Paul and at St. John’s University in Collegeville.

Dr. Bruce Forbes, who holds the Arthur L. Bunch Chair in Religious Studies at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the chapel of Olson Campus Center at Luther Seminary. He will present the talk a second time at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the Centenary Room, Quadrangle 264, at St. John’s.

Dr. Bruce Forbes

The talk, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning at the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s, Luther Seminary, and the Department of Theology at St. John’s and the College of St. Benedict.

No holiday punctuates the American calendar like Christmas. It surrounds us – every space, every sound wave, every media source. This was not always the case. The story of how the festival made its way from Christian religious life to a ubiquitous presence in every American’s life is a fascinating tale – and important to both Christians and Jews.

Forbes will explore this journey. Rabbi Barry Cytron, director of the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning, will review the latest research on how this holiday affects American Jewish life.

Forbes currently is on sabbatical completing a new book about Christmas in American popular culture. He is the editor of two recently published books, Religion and Popular Culture in America and Rapture, Revelation, and the End Times: Exploring the Left Behind Series.

For more information about Center for Jewish-Christian Learning programs call (651) 962-5788 or visit the center’s Web site.