The Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star, is a star in Christian tradition that revealed the birth of Jesus to the magi, or "wise men", and later led them to Bethlehem. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the magi were men "from the east" who were inspired by the appearance of the star to travel to Jerusalem. There they met King Herod of Judea, and asked where the king of the Jews had been born. Herod then asked his advisers where a messiah could be born. They replied Bethlehem, a nearby village, and quoted a prophecy by Micah. While the magi were on their way to Bethlehem, the star appeared again. Following the star, which stopped above the place where Jesus was born, the magi found Jesus with his mother, paid him homage, worshipped him and gave gifts. They then returned to their "own country".
Many Christians see the star as a miraculous sign to mark the birth of the messiah. Some theologians claimed that the star fulfilled a prophecy, known as the Star Prophecy. In modern times, astronomers have proposed various explanations for the star. A nova, a planet, a comet, an occultation, and a conjunction (gathering of planets) have all been suggested.
Many scholars question the historical accuracy of the story and argue that the star was a fiction created by the author of the Gospel of Matthew.
The subject is a favorite at planetarium shows during the Christmas season, although the Biblical account suggests that the visit of the magi took place at least several months after Jesus was born.[nb 1] The visit is traditionally celebrated on Epiphany (January 6) in Western Christianity and on Christmas (December 25) in Eastern Christianity.
The Gospel of Matthew states that Magi (usually translated as "wise men" but in this context probably meaning "astronomer" or "astrologer") arrived at the court of Herod in Jerusalem and told the king of a star which signified the birth of the King of the Jews:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East [or at its rising] and have come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Herod was "troubled", not because of the appearance of the star, but because the magi told him that a "king of the Jews" had been born, which he understood to refer to the Messiah, a leader of the Jewish people whose coming was foretold in Old Testament prophecy. So he asked his advisors where the Messiah would be born. They answered Bethlehem, birthplace of King David, and quoted the prophet Micah.[nb 2] The king passed this information along to the magi.
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also. When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Matthew's account suggests that the magi knew from the star that the "king of the Jews" had already been born even before they arrived in Jerusalem. The magi presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In a dream, the magi were warned not to return to Jerusalem, so they "left for their own country by another road". When Herod realized that he had been tricked, he ordered the execution of all male children in Bethlehem age 2 and younger, based on the information the magi had given him concerning the time the star first appeared.[nb 3] Joseph, warned in a dream, took his family to Egypt for their safety. The Gospel links the escape to a verse from the Old Testament, interpreted as a prophecy: "Out of Egypt I called My Son." The Old Testament version refers to the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt under Moses, so the quote suggests that Matthew saw the life of Jesus as recapitulating the story of the Jewish people, with Judea representing Egypt and Herod standing in for pharaoh.[nb 4] After Herod died, God called Joseph and his family back from Egypt, and they settled in to Nazareth in Galilee. This is said to be a fulfillment of, "He will be called a Nazorean," (NRSV) a prophecy of unknown origin.[nb 5]
Interpretations and explanations
Fulfillment of prophecy
The ancients believed that astronomical phenomena were connected to terrestrial events. Miracles were routinely associated with the birth of important people, including the Hebrew patriarchs, as well as Greek and Roman heroes.
::I see Him, but not now;::I behold Him, but not near;::A Star shall come out of Jacob;::A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,::And batter the brow of Moab,Although evidently intended to refer to the immediate future, since the kingdom of Moab had long ceased to exist, by the time the Gospels were being written it had become widely seen as a reference to the coming of a Messiah. It was, for example, cited by Josephus, who believed it referred to Emperor Vespasian. Origen, one of the most influential early Christian theologians, connected this prophecy with the Star of Bethlehem:
- And destroy all the sons of tumult.
If, then, at the commencement of new dynasties, or on the occasion of other important events, there arises a comet so called, or any similar celestial body, why should it be matter of wonder that at the birth of Him who was to introduce a new doctrine to the human race, and to make known His teaching not only to Jews, but also to Greeks, and to many of the barbarous nations besides, a star should have arisen? Now I would say, that with respect to comets there is no prophecy in circulation to the effect that such and such a comet was to arise in connection with a particular kingdom or a particular time; but with respect to the appearance of a star at the birth of Jesus there is a prophecy of Balaam recorded by Moses to this effect: There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up out of Israel.
According to Origen, the magi may have decided to travel to Jerusalem when they "conjectured that the man whose appearance had been foretold along with that of the star, had actually come into the world".
The magi are sometimes called "kings" because of the belief that they fulfill prophecies in Isaiah and Psalms concerning a journey to Jerusalem by gentile kings. Isaiah mentions gifts of gold and incense. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament probably used by Matthew, these gifts are given as gold and frankincense, similar to Matthew's "gold, frankincense, and myrrh." The gift of myrrh symbolizes mortality, according to Origen.
While Origen argued for a naturalistic explanation, John Chrysostom viewed the star as purely miraculous: "How then, tell me, did the star point out a spot so confined, just the space of a manger and shed, unless it left that height and came down, and stood over the very head of the young child? And at this the evangelist was hinting when he said, "Lo, the star went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was."
According to modern translations, the magi told Herod that they saw the star "at its rising", which suggests that they observed an astronomical object. The traditional translation of this phrase was "in the East," that is, when the magi were is still resident in their eastern homelands. This interpretation is less likely because the Greek word for "east" used in this passage is singular, yet plural in those passages where it refers to the magi's homelands.
In 1614, German astronomer Johannes Kepler determined that a series of three conjunctions of the planets Jupiter and Saturn occurred in the year 7 BCE. Although conjunctions were important in astrology, Kepler was not thinking in astrological terms. He argued (incorrectly) that a planetary conjunction could create a nova, which he linked to the Star of Bethlehem. Modern calculations show that there was gap of nearly a degree between the planets, so these conjunctions were not visually impressive. An ancient almanac has been found in Babylon which covers the events of this period, but does not indicate that the conjunctions were of any special interest.
Other writers suggest that the star was a comet. Halley's Comet was visible in 12 BCE and another object, possibly a comet or nova, was seen by Chinese and Korean stargazers in about 5 BCE. This object was observed for over seventy days with no movement recorded. Ancient writers described comets as "hanging over" specific cities, just as the Star of Bethlehem was said to have "stood over" the "place" where Jesus was (the town of Bethlehem).
Another Star of Bethlehem candidate is Uranus, which passed close to Saturn in 9 BCE and Venus in 6 BCE. This is unlikely because Uranus moves very slowly and is barely visible with the naked eye.
A recent hypothesis states that the star of Bethlehem was a supernova or hypernova occurring in the nearby Andromeda Galaxy. Although supernovae have been detected in Andromeda, it is extremely difficult to detect a supernova remnant in another galaxy, let alone obtain an accurate date of when it occurred.
Although magi (Greek μαγοι) is usually translated as "wise men," in this context it probably means "astronomer" or "astrologer". The involvement of astrologers in the story of the birth of Jesus was problematic for the early Church, because they condemned astrology as demonic; a widely cited explanation was that of Tertullian, who suggested that astrology was allowed 'only until the time of the Gospel'.
The magi linked the appearance of a star to the birth of a "king of the Jews." In Hellenistic astrology, Jupiter was the king planet and Regulus (in the constellation Leo) was the king star. As they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the star "went before" the magi and then "stood over" the place where Jesus was. In astrological interpretations, these phrases are said to refer to retrograde motion and to stationing, i.e., Jupiter appeared to reverse course for a time, then stopped, and finally resumed its normal progression.
In 3–2 BCE, there was a series of seven conjunctions, including three between Jupiter and Regulus and a strikingly close conjunction between Jupiter and Venus near Regulus on June 17, 2 BCE. "The fusion of two planets would have been a rare and awe-inspiring event", according to a paper by Roger Sinnott. This event however occurred after the generally accepted date of 4 BCE for the death of Herod. Since the conjunction would have been seen in the west at sunset it could not have led the magi south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
Astronomer Michael Molnar has proposed a link between a double occultation of Jupiter by the moon in 6 BCE in Aries and the Star of Bethlehem, particularly the second occultation on April 17. This event was quite close to the sun and would have been difficult to observe, even with a small telescope, which had not yet been invented. Occultations of planets by the moon are quite common, but Firmicus Maternus, an astrologer to Roman Emperor Constantine, wrote that an occultation of Jupiter in Aries was a sign of the birth of a divine king. "When the royal star of Zeus, the planet Jupiter, was in the east this was the most powerful time to confer kingships. Furthermore, the Sun was in Aries where it is exalted. And the Moon was in very close conjunction with Jupiter in Aries", Molnar wrote.[nb 6]
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Star of Bethlehem is not interpreted as an astronomical event, but rather as a supernatural occurrence, whereby an angel was sent by God to lead the Magi to the Christ Child. This is illustrated in the Troparion of the Nativity:
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shown to the world the Light of wisdom. For by it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee!
In Orthodox icons, the Star of Bethlehem is often depicted not as golden, but as a dark aureola, a semicircle at the top of the icon, indicating the Uncreated Light of Divine grace, with a ray pointing to "the place where the young child lay" . Sometimes the faint image of an angel is drawn inside the aureola.
Many scholars, seeing the Gospel Nativity stories as later apologetic accounts created to establish the Messianic status of Jesus, regard the Star of Bethlehem as nothing more than a pious fiction; there are several aspects of Matthew's account which give reason to doubt that an actual historical event is being portrayed. Matthew is the only one of the four gospels which mentions either the Star of Bethlehem or the magi. The author of the Gospel of Mark, considered by modern text scholars to be the oldest of the Gospels,[nb 7] does not appear to be aware of the Bethlehem nativity story. A character in the Gospel of John states that Jesus is from Galilee, and not Bethlehem. The Gospels often described Jesus as "of Nazareth," but never as "of Bethlehem". Some scholars suggest that Jesus was born in Nazareth and that the Bethlehem nativity narratives reflect a desire by the Gospel writers to portray his birth the fulfillment of a prophecy in the Book of Micah concerning a Bethlehem birth.
Matthew's description of the miracles and portents attending the birth of Jesus can be compared to stories concerning the birth of Augustus (63 BCE).[nb 8] Linking a birth to the first appearance of a star was consistent with a popular belief that each person's life was linked to a particular star. Magi and astronomical events were linked in the public mind by the visit to Rome of a delegation of magi at the time of a spectacular appearance of Halley's Comet in 66 CE, about the time the Gospel of Matthew was being composed. This delegation was led by King Tiridates of Armenia, who came seeking confirmation of his title from Emperor Nero. Ancient historian Dio Cassius wrote that, "The King did not return by the route he had followed in coming," a line echoed in Matthew's account.
Determining the year Jesus was born
One factor in interpreting the Star of Bethlehem is the year in which Jesus was born. Matthew wrote that Jesus was born when Herod was king. According to Josephus, Herod died shortly after a lunar eclipse. This is usually identified as the eclipse of March 13, 4 BCE. Coins issued by Herod's successors show that they dated their reigns as beginning in 4 BCE. Although the mainstream view is that Herod died that year, a recent journal article argues that Herod died in 1 BCE.
According to Matthew's account, Jesus must have been born sometime between the first appearance of the Star of Bethlehem and when the Magi arrived in Herod's court. As Herod ordered the execution of boys age 2 and younger, the star must have made its first appearance within the previous two years. There was, however, no Roman census in 6–4 BCE: the Census of Quirinius took place in 6–7 CE. Some scholars have suggested that the census Luke referred to could have been another event, such as a mass oath that took place under Augustus, or to an earlier, unrecorded census. However, according to Raymond Brown, most critical scholars believe that Luke was simply mistaken.
- ↑ . When the magi arrive, Jesus is a "child" (paidon) in a house, no longer an infant (brephos) in a manger, as when the shepherds arrive in Luke. (Patterson, Dorothy Kelly, Women's Evangelical Commentary: New Testament, p. 20) As he is with his mother, the forty day confinement period prescribed by Jewish law has already passed.
- ↑ . Matthew's version is a conflation of and .
- ↑ This is presented as a fulfillment of and echoes the killing of firstborn by pharaoh in .
- ↑ "An Exodus motif prevails in the entire chapter." (Kennedy, Joel, Recapitulation of Israel, p. 132, http://books.google.com/books?id=byeQn2T93LAC&pg=PA156&dq=Matthew+recapitulates+story+of+Jewish#PPA132,M1, retrieved 2009-07-04 ) The story of the Jewish people began with God showing Abraham the stars in the sky.( )
- ↑ Septuagint ναζιραιον (Nazirite) resembles Matthew's Ναζωραῖος (Nazorean). But few scholars accept the view that Jesus was a Nazirite. Matthew's plural attribution "spoken by the prophets" may acknowledge the lack of a specific source. (France, R. T., The Gospel of Matthew, pp. 92-93.) Although Matthew understands a "Nazorean" to be a person from Nazareth, the form is irregular. In , a Nazorean is a follower of Jesus, i.e. a Christian. So it may derive from a Semitic word that was later conflated with Nazareth, for example נצר (netser), meaning "branch", which was used as a messianic title on the basis of . (Bromiley, Geoffrey W., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, pp. 499-500.) Mark uses the more regular form Ναζαρηνός (Nazarene, of Nazareth). ( ) is sometimes identified as the source for because
- ↑ This set of planetary conditions reoccurs every sixty years.
- ↑ The traditional view, presented by Augustine and others, was that Matthew was written first and that Mark was redacted from Matthew. (Perkins, Pheme, (2007) Introduction to the synoptic gospels, p. 55)
- ↑ The god Apollo was said to have conceived with Augustus' mother and there was a "public portent" indicating that a king of Rome would soon be born. (Suetonius, C. Tranquillus,, 94., "The Divine Augustus", The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, http://www.princeton.edu/~champlin/cla219/augiesuet.htm#1 ).
- ↑ A Christmas Star for SOHO, http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast16May_1.htm, retrieved 2008-07-04
- ↑ For example, Paul L. Maier, "Herod and the Infants of Bethlehem", in Chronos, Kairos, Christos II, Mercer University Press (1998), 171; Geza Vermes, The Nativity: History and Legend, London, Penguin, 2006, p22; E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, 1993, p.85; Aaron Michael Adair, "Science, Scholarship and Bethlehem's Starry Night", Sky and Telescope, Dec. 2007, pp.26-29 (reviewing astronomical theories).
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 John, Mosley. "Common Errors in 'Star of Bethlehem' Planetarium Shows". http://www.ips-planetarium.org/planetarian/articles/common_errors_xmas.html. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- ↑ Ratti, John, First Sunday after the Epiphany, http://www.episcopalchurch.org/sermons_that_work_6772_ENG_HTM.htm, retrieved 2008-06-05
- ↑ Raymond Edward Brown, An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories, Liturgical Press (1988), p. 11; Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Eerdmans (2000), p. 844.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Matthew 2:2. This is the New Revised Standard Version.
- ↑ New King James Version (1982).
- ↑ Thomas G. Long, Matthew (Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), page 18.
- ↑ .
- ↑ .
- ↑ .
- ↑ 14.0 14.1
- ↑ .
- ↑ The OT version is at .
- ↑ Vermes, Geza (December 2006), "The First Christmas", History Today 56 (12): 23–29, http://www.historytoday.com/MainArticle.aspx?m=31928&amid=30235606, retrieved 2009-07-04
- ↑ Freed, Edwin D. (2001), The Stories of Jesus' Birth: A Critical Introduction, Continuum International, p. 93
- ↑ Josephus, Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2850, retrieved 2008-06-07 Translated by: William Whiston.
Lendering, Jona, Messianic claimants, http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messianic_claimants13.html, retrieved 2008-06-05
- ↑ Adamantius, Origen. "Contra Celsum". http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf04.vi.ix.i.lx.html. Retrieved 2008-06-05. , Book I, Chapter LIX.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Adamantius, Origen. "Contra Celsum". http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf04.vi.ix.i.lxi.html. . Book I, Chapter LX.
- ↑ France, R.T., The Gospel according to Matthew: an introduction and commentary, p. 84. See and .
- ↑ Isaiah 60:6 (Septuagint)
- ↑ Schaff, Philip (1886), St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., p. 36, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.VI_1.html, retrieved 2009-07-04
- ↑ Nolland, John, (2005) The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary on the Greek text, p. 109.
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Mark, Kidger. "Chinese and Babylonian Observations". http://www.astrosurf.com/comets/Star_of_Bethlehem/English/Chinese.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- ↑ For the contrary view, i.e. that the almanac does show the conjunction was considered significant, see Ashgrove, Triple Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, http://www.public.iastate.edu/~lightandlife/triple.htm, retrieved 2008-06-05
- ↑ Colin Humphreys, 'The Star of Bethlehem', in Science and Christian Belief 5 (1995), 83-101.
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 35.2 Jenkins, R.M. (June 2004). "The Star of Bethlehem and the Comet of AD 66". Journal of the British Astronomy Association (114): pp. 336–43. http://www.bristolastrosoc.org.uk/uploaded/BAAJournalJenkins.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- ↑ Kidger, Mark (2005). Astronomical Enigmas: Life on Mars, the Star of Bethlehem, and Other Milky Way Mysteries. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 60.
- ↑ Tipler, F.J.,The Star of Bethlehem: a Type Ia/Ic Supernova in the Andromeda Galaxy. Dept. of Mathematics and Dept. of Physics, Tulane University; New Orleans, LA 70118. 20 March 2005.
- ↑ Raymond Edward Brown, An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories, Liturgical Press (1988), p. 11.
- ↑ S. J. Tester, A History of Western Astrology, (Boydell & Brewer, 1987), page 111-112.
- ↑ Molnar, Michael R., Revealing the Star of Bethlehem, http://www.eclipse.net/~molnar/index.html, retrieved 2009-07-04
- ↑ Sinnott, Roger, "Thoughts on the Star of Bethlehem", Sky and Telescope, December 1968, pp. 384–386.
- ↑ Kidger, Mark (2005), Astronomical Enigmas: Life on Mars, the Star of Bethlehem, and Other Milky Way Mysteries, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 63, ISBN 9780801880261
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 Molnar, Michael R. (1999), The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 0-8135-2701-5, http://www.eclipse.net/~molnar/index.html
- ↑ Kidger, Mark (December 5, 2001), "The Star of Bethlehem", Cambridge Conference Correspondence, http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc120501.html, retrieved 2007-07-04
- ↑ Stenger, Richard (December 27, 2001), Was Christmas star a double eclipse of Jupiter?, http://edition.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/12/27/star.coverup/index.html, retrieved 2009-07-04
- ↑ Markus Bockmuehl, This Jesus (Continuum International, 2004), page 28; Vermes, Géza (2006-11-02). The Nativity: History and Legend. Penguin Books Ltd. p. 22. ISBN 0-14-102446-1. ; Sanders, Ed Parish (1993). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Allen Lane. p. 85. ISBN 0-7139-9059-7. ; Believable Christianity: A lecture in the annual October series on Radical Christian Faith at Carrs Lane URC Church, Birmingham, October 5, 2006
- ↑ Brown, Raymond E. (1993), The Birth of the Messiah, Anchor Bible Reference Library, p. 188
- ↑ Witherington, Ben (2001), The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, Eerdmans, p. 8
France, R. T. (2002), The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text, Eerdmans, p. 16
Head, Peter M. (1997), Christology and the Synoptic Problem: An Argument for Markan priority, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN 0-521-58488-4, http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Head/Christology.htm, retrieved 2009-07-04 For a case against Markan priority, see Peabody, David B.; Cope, Lamar; McNicol, Allan J. (2002), One Gospel From Two: Mark's Use of Matthew and Luke, Trinity Press International, ISBN 1-56338-352-7, http://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/3015_3211.pdf, retrieved 2009-07-04
- ↑ See , , and .
- ↑ In Greek, Nazarēnos (Nazarene) or Nazōraios (Nazorean).
- ↑ Nikkos Kokkinos, "The Relative Chronology of the Nativity in Tertullian", in Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman and others, eds., Chronos, Kairos, Christos II, Mercer University Press (1998), page 125–6.
Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus, HarperSanFrancisco, 1999, ISBN 0-06-062979-7. pp. 499, 521, 533.
Paul L. Maier, "Herod and the Infants of Bethlehem", in Chronos, Kairos, Christos II, Mercer University Press (1998), 171.
For Micah's prophecy, see .
- ↑ Nolland, p. 110.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History, II vi 28.
- ↑ Timothy David Barnes, “The Date of Herod’s Death,” Journal of Theological Studies ns 19 (1968), 204–19
P. M. Bernegger, “Affirmation of Herod’s Death in 4 B.C.,” Journal of Theological Studies ns 34 (1983), 526–31.
- ↑ Steinmann, Andrew (2009). "When Did Herod the Great Reign?". Novum Testamentum. pp. 1–29. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/not/2009/00000051/00000001/art00001.
- ↑ Ronald Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy, (Oxford University Press, 1989) pp. 340-341.
- ↑ Raymond Brown, An Adult Christ at Christmas, (Liturgical Press, 1988), p. 17: "most critical scholars acknowledge a confusion and misdating on Luke's part."
For example, Dunn, James Douglas Grant, Jesus Remembered, (Eerdmans, 2003) p344. Similarly, Erich S. Gruen, 'The expansion of the empire under Augustus', in The Cambridge ancient history Volume 10, p157.
Geza Vermes, The Nativity, Penguin 2006, p. 96.
W. D. Davies and E. P. Sanders, 'Jesus from the Jewish point of view', in The Cambridge History of Judaism ed William Horbury, vol 3: the Early Roman Period, 1984
Anthony Harvey, A Companion to the New Testament (Cambridge University Press 2004), p221.
Meier, John P.,A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Doubleday, 1991, v. 1, p. 213.
Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. London: G. Chapman, 1977, p. 554.
A. N. Sherwin-White, pp. 166, 167.
Fergus Millar Millar, Fergus (1990). "Reflections on the trials of Jesus". A Tribute to Geza Vermes: Essays on Jewish and Christian Literature and History (JSOT Suppl. 100) [eds. P.R. Davies and R.T. White]. Sheffield: JSOT Press. pp. 355–81. repr. in Millar, Fergus (2006), "The Greek World, the Jews, and the East", Rome, the Greek World and the East (University of North Carolina Press) 3: 139–163
- ↑ .
- ↑ Birth of Christ Recalculated, Maranatha Church, Inc, 1998, http://www.versebyverse.org/doctrine/birthofchrist.html, retrieved 2009-07-04
Footnote 4, Bethlehem Star.
- Case, Shirley Jackson, "Jesus: A New Biography" (Gorgias Press LLC: New Ed., 2006). ISBN 1593334753.
- Jenkins, R.M., "The Star of Bethlehem and the Comet of 66AD", Journal of the British Astronomy Association, June 2004, 114, pp. 336–43. This article argues that the Star of Bethlehem is a historical fiction influenced by the appearance of Halley Comet in 66 CE.
- Molnar, Michael R., Revealing the Star of Bethlehem. Proposes that the "star" was an occultation of Jupiter by the moon in 6 BCE.
- Griffith Observatory, a video on the star presented on MSNBC's Mysteries of the Universe.
- Matthew 2 Biblical text on the magi and the star.
- Star of Bethlehem Bibliography. Provides an extensive bibliography with Web links to online sources.
- Video: Star of Bethlehem by Professor Konradin Ferrari d'Occhieppo
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