Wise Men HeaderThe Theories.

By Rev. Phil Greetham. © Copyright 1996. This Version, 2012.

Criteria for the Star of Bethlehem.

Although the birth date of Jesus can only be estimated for arguments sake we assume the death of Herod was either late 5 or early 4 BC. We also estimate that the magi gave Herod a date of between 18 months and 2 years previous to their meeting. (Some people have said that the star was seen at Christ's conception - ok, I'll extend that from a year to 2 years) Along with the time of year estimate This gives us a precarious birth date of the 4th October 7 BC. (or the year after.)

The magi saw the star again as they approached Bethlehem. This must have been between 1 and 2 years later than the first appearance.

The star was originally seen 'at its rising'; somewhere in the eastern part of the sky. The approach road to Bethlehem would give a south to west direction of the second appearance of the star if it was to appear over Bethlehem

The Christian Church, and Judaism before it, condemned astrology. It severely weakens a star theory if it relies on an astrological explanation. I have been criticized on this point but whether we like it or not astrology is condemned in the Bible. Stars are used in a metaphorical sense in the Bible but not in any codified rules to predict future events.

Historic/Scientific credibility
Any theory should be supported by known or estimated historic accounts/ archaeology etc. It ought to fit in with known scientific principles. Any observations or calculations must be within the capability of 1st century science and technology.

It might be worth saying at this point that none of the astronomical explanations I have yet found fit all the criteria satisfactorily.
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