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December 12, 2008

Christmas in June?

Christmasballs1 Put the presents away and take the tree down. We've all been celebrating during the wrong month.

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Comments

Jason Taylor

I'm not sure I could believe a project that required so much travelling taking place in winter anyway. Even though the Middle East seasonal patterns may be different from other places.
Though perhaps not all that different: spring is the time when Kings go out to battle in Europe too.
Still a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed would probably come in summer.
What I wonder about is why it was necessary to travel? Did Caesar want to make sure that the local publicans couldn't give the inspectors a run-a-round? Were Mary and Joseph chosen as representatives of their village(unlikly-they wouldn't have chosen a pregnant women)? Did they have kin still living in Bethlehem that they needed to consult with for some reason? Perhaps only one member of the family was first in Roman law-and he lived in Bethlehem? Or were they making an appeal to the magistrate perhaps? Could it be that the "House and Lineage of David" needed witnesses in some case?

Luke

Perhaps someone else knows about this; how long did the conjunction last the article talks about? Because I imagine that if this really is the Star of Bethlehem, it wouldn't be a one-night thing. Based on the age of the children Herod had killed, and the fact that Mary and Joseph were living in a house at the time of their being found by the Magi, that star would had to have hung in the sky a full year, possibly longer. I find it more believable that God simply provided a miracle for the Wise Men, though he very well might have used this conjunction as well...

Jason Taylor

I looked it up a little. David Guzik in Blue Letter Bible believes it was increase the influence of local clan chiefs in alignment with the policy of indirect rule. Working on that, has anyone here had enough experience in Iraq to give a clue as to how that sort of thing works? I doubt the art of local diplomacy has changed all that much in two thousand years.

I also looked up the seasonal patterns. In the Middle East the winter winds blow in cold air from Asia causing precipitation. Toward summer there comes a blast from the desert regions westward-the infamous Khamsin, if I am not mistaken. So June would not be a good time to travel but spring would be. And June would be a likly time to be stranded in a city for months.

I am going on a bit. But I have been curious about it.

Samuel X

...They make a point of saying that Jesus was a Gemini.

I am suddenly smitten with a terrible case of apathy.

(Incidentally, this is one of about five different significant astronomical events that occurred between 4 BC and 1 AD, any or none of which could have been The Star.)

labrialumn

Of course the Magi were Chaldean and would have used their own astrology, not that of the Romans. Further, these astronomers seem to have forgotten that Herod was two years dead in 2 BC. We know from Scriptural sources and very simple calculations that Jesus was most likely born in late December to early January. This based upon Zachariah's division's service period in the Temple, and his wife being 6 months pregnant when Mary, having just conceived Our Lord by the Holy Spirit, visited her.

I would suggest _The Star of Bethlehem : The Legacy of the Magi_ by Michael R. Molnar for a better treatment than given by the Telegraph.

The early Christians weren't ignorant of when Christ was born.

Michael Snow

All birth dates are conjectures but this article is based on an error. It states, "Generally accepted research has placed the nativity to somewhere between 3BC and 1AD"

I don't know from where they dream this up, but Herod the Great died in 4 BC. And Jesus was born BEFORE that event, not after.

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