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Christian History

Christmas

One of the most important holidays on the Christian calendar, Christmas is also the most controversial. The so-called "Christmas Wars" garner headlines every year for battles over manger scenes and the use of "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" (and other seasonal greetings). But Christmas is also a time for theological and spiritual reflection on important foundations of the Christian faith, including the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth.

February 21, 1142: Medieval French philosopher, teacher, and theologian Peter Abelard dies. Perhaps best known for his (chaste) love affair with nun Heloise, Abelard made his most important contribution in establishing a critical methodology for theology. Irritated with some of the unreasoning pietism of other monks, he wrote Yes and No, compiling the (sometimes conflicting) sayings of the Bible and church fathers on various controversial subjects (see issue 30: Women in the Medieval Church).

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