A New Argument for the Date of Jesus’ Birth

"Dr. De Caro says that astronomers now believe the 4 B.C. eclipse of the moon would not have been visible in Jerusalem after all, but other possible eclipses would suggest that Herod died in either 2 or 3 B.C., meaning that Jesus could have been born in the year One B.C." - Veith

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Don Johnson's picture

If Herod died in 2 or 3 BC, then Jesus couldn't have been born in 1 BC. 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Don Johnson's picture

It would be interesting to find the astronomical data behind this report. The problem with the report is that its basis is an interview with a Catholic researcher found here. The interview gives a little more detail than the Patheos article.

There are a couple of glaring errors or assumptions in the interview. One is the assumption that Joseph would have had contact with Zechariah and would have heard of Elizabeth`s pregnancy before the annunciation. Nothing in the text of the NT would lead to that conclusion.

But on the 1 BC date, a fundamental error is made when the death of Herod is said to be 2 or 3 BC but the birth of Christ is 1 BC. Christ`s birth has to be before Herod`s death, not after, which would make it either 3 or 4 BC.

That is a little nearer than 5 or 6 BC as per traditional reckoning, and might help with NT chronology. However, I would really like to know where to find the data about lunar eclipses. That would be immensely interesting

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

When it comes to the life of Christ, long ago, I decided to just go with whatever dates Harold Hoehner says in his Chronological Aspects in the Life of Christ! 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

that guided the magi was astronomical? Stars don't act the way Matthew 2 describes, first of all. Second of all, if an astronomical event were guiding the magi, any astrologer of the time would have known about it. Herod's seem to not know.

I suspect the "star" was a spiritual sign, not an astronomical one.

 

Don Johnson's picture

TylerR wrote:

When it comes to the life of Christ, long ago, I decided to just go with whatever dates Harold Hoehner says in his Chronological Aspects in the Life of Christ! 

Nice one. I wasn't aware of that book and just snagged it on Kindle for $4.99! (They want over $25 on amazon.ca!)

Working out the chronology of the NT is a fascinating puzzle to me.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

josh p's picture

I love that Hoehner book. I was really convinced reading it but man don’t read the first review on Amazon. The guy absolutely TRASHES it!

Mark_Smith's picture

does a star guide you to move in any direction when all stars that aren't circumpolar rise in the east and set in the west? How do you know where to go?

When the magi get to Jerusalem, Herod asks them when the star appeared. He and his astrologers had no idea what they were talking about! If it was a significant astronomical event, any king's astrologers would have noted the conjunction, or new star, or comet, etc.

Then, when the magi get to Bethlehem, they see the star again (v 10)! It shows them what house to go to!

Do stars, comets, planetary conjunctions, meteors, eclipses, or supernovae do any of this?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I got the book years ago for $2.99 on Kindle. Every time I need to know something about Jesus' life in a timeline, I look at it. It's just the best. I remember using it to consider when Jesus died (30 or 33?) and whether the Lord's Supper was a Passover meal.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Yeah it’s a great book. With all the vitriol against it from some in the reformed crowd, I have to say I find the 69 weeks prophecy pretty compelling. Far from forcing a theological system onto a text, it’s simply taking it a face value. Pretty inconvenient for some but nevertheless.