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An interpretive biography of Saint Nicholas: Applying contextual analysis to the historical and mythological evolution of Santa Claus to create new teaching and learning paradigms

Gary Ogden Harper, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The legends and legacy of Saint Nicholas span across sixteen centuries, intimately entwined with historical events and its participants. This dissertation examines an approximately 200 year period (1600-1800) to demonstrate how the image of Santa Claus can be developed as a multidisciplinary teaching and learning vehicle. Connections to Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Sir William Edward Parry, Jim Crow, Pope Gregory XIII, Shakespeare, Washington Irving and Clemente Clarke Moore provide case studies on cultural diversity, language, philosophical disciplines, astronomy and economic development. The author argues that from these wider perspectives, religious topics are entirely appropriate for classroom discussion and a dynamic means of creating meaningful discussion, encouraging research and inspiring imagination.^

Subject Area

History, General|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Harper, Gary Ogden, "An interpretive biography of Saint Nicholas: Applying contextual analysis to the historical and mythological evolution of Santa Claus to create new teaching and learning paradigms" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3369345.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3369345

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