November 8, 1308: John Duns Scotus, the hard-to-follow Scottish theologian who first posited Mary's immaculate conception (that she herself was born without original sin), dies in Cologne, Germany. Mary's immaculate conception was declared dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854 (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas).
November 8, 1674: English poet John Milton, author of Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained (1671), and many other works, dies at age 65.
December 9, 1608: English poet John Milton is born in London. Though most famous for his epic Paradise Lost, he also penned an exposition of Christian doctrine, a plan for Christian education, and various political writings.
December 9, 1840: Unable to go to China, David Livingstone sets sail from London as a missionary to southern Africa (see issue 56: David Livingstone).
December 9, 1843: The first Christmas cards—actually more like postcards—are created and sold for a shilling.