Patriarchs of Time

Dualism in Saturn-Cronus, Father Time, The Watchmaker God, and Father Christmas

Title Details

Pages: 232

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 09/01/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3797-5

List Price: $29.95

Patriarchs of Time

Dualism in Saturn-Cronus, Father Time, The Watchmaker God, and Father Christmas

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  • Reviews

Exploring the personifications of time by which Western civilization has ordered its attitudes toward both earthly existence and eternity, Patriarchs of Time traces the lineage of time’s gods from the deities of ancient Mesopotamia and Persia through the pantheons of Greece and Rome, the Christian Father Time, and the brief reign of the Newtonian Watchmaker God to the consumerist Santa Claus who holds sway over the year’s end celebrations of our own day. Each of these patriarchs, Samuel L. Macey shows, has embodied dualisms that reflect the dilemma in the Western mind between the joys and woes of our brief time on earth and the promise of eternal life or eternal punishment in the hereafter.

Santa Claus is today, effectively, the sole inheritor of Saturn’s old midwinter festival, but Macey suggests that it remains to be seen whether he will fully manifest the dualism that has always characterized the West’s patriarchs of time, and whether our present consumerist saturnalia will regain the spiritual message of hope and eternal life that has always been a part of time’s dominion.

An original and pioneering study of the manner in which conceptions of time have been personi_x001F_fed as popular deities in various temporal/cultural contexts within the evolution of Western civilization. . . . A well-craft_x001E_ed book on a central but neglected aspect of popular culture, Macey’s innovative study is highly recommended for all religious studies libraries.

Religious Studies Review

Macey breaks new ground in tracing the connection between divine powers and time, applying his thesis to Christianity by arguing that the date of Christmas indicates a belief in Saturn as a cosmic power. . . . An important but idiosyncratic study, recommended for scholarly audiences.

Library Journal

About the Author/Editor

SAMUEL L. MACY is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Victoria, where he was also the Dean of Graduate Studies. He is founder of the English Literary Studies Monograph Series and a former president of the International Society for the Study of Time. Among his books are Clocks and the Cosmos: Time in Western Life and Thought, The Dynamics of Progress: Time, Method, and Measure (Georgia), Time: A Bibliographic Guide, and Encyclopedia of Time.