THE origins of Christmas will be discussed at a public lecture.

Professor Martin Wallraff, professor of church history at Basel University in Switzerland, will discuss the origins of Christmas and New Year on Wednesday (December 5) at Durham University.

He said "Christmas is neither the oldest nor the most important Christian festival.

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"However, it will be argued that the festival is particularly significant for the development of a Christian concept of time.

"The lecture will not only speak about the origins of the feasts on 25th December and 6th January, but also on the dates of New Year.

"The origins are seen against the background of the religious culture of Late Antiquity in general, and sun worship in particular."

The free lecture will take place in Seminar Room B at Abbey House, on Palace Green, in Durham City at 6.15pm.