Star of Bethlehem – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giotto da Bondone, a Florentine painter who lived from 1267 to 1337, painted Adoration of the Magi. The Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet over the infant. Giotto was present when Halley’s Cometin 1301 made an appearance. The Star of Bethlehem, often known as the Christmas Star, is a star in the Bible and Christian tradition that alerted the Magi to the fact that Jesus had been born and subsequently assisted them in traveling to Bethlehem to see him. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the magi were compelled to journey to Jerusalem by the star.
In accordance with a prophesy found in the Book of Micah, Herod’s counselors predicted that the Messiah would be born in the neighboring community of Bethlehem.
Suddenly, the star came to a halt over the location of Jesus’ birth.
After that, they went back to their “home country.” In the minds of Christians, the star represents a supernatural sign indicating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Several names have been proposed, including nova, planet, comet, anoccultation, and aconjunction (a grouping of planets coming together).
The Star of Bethlehem is a popular theme at Christmastime planetarium displays, although the Bible appears to indicate that the magi visited Jesus at least many months after he was born, if not longer.
As recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Magi (usually translated as “wise men,” but most likely referring to a “astronomer” or a “astrologer”) came to the court of Herod in Jerusalem and informed the king of a star that marked the birth of Jesus, who was known as the King of the Jews:Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea, during the days of Herod the king, behold (see), wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He Because we have seen His star in the East and have come to adore Him, we are saying When Herod the king learned of this, he was distressed, as was the entire city of Jerusalem.
- As soon as he had collected together all of the top priests and scribes of the people, he enquired of them (asked them) about the location of where Jesus would be born.
- He realized that this was a reference to the Messiah.
- As a result, he inquired of his assistants as to where the Messiah would be born.
- The magi were informed of this by the king.
After that, he dispatched them to Bethlehem, instructing them to “go and seek carefully for the small Child, and when you have discovered Him, bring news to me so that I may come and adore Him as well.” When they heard the king, they fled (went away); and lo, the star that they had seen in the East preceded them until it arrived and stood above the place where the little Child stood.
- According to Matthew, the magi saw the star as a sign that the “king of the Jews” had already been born even before they arrived in Jerusalem to worship him.
- The magi were instructed not to return to Jerusalem after receiving instructions in a dream.
- Joseph received a warning in a dream that he needed to flee.
- The Gospel of Matthew ties the exodus to a phrase from the Old Testament that is seen as a prophecy: “Out of Egypt I summoned My Son,” says the Lord.
- As a result, the phrase appears to imply that Matthew considered Jesus’ life to be similar to the history of the Jewish people.
Judea might have represented Egypt, and Herod could have portrayed the pharaoh. In the aftermath of Herod’s death, God summoned Joseph and his family from Egypt, and they relocated to the town of Nazareth in Galilee.
Discovering the year Jesus was born
To determine the year in which Jesus was born, one method of interpreting the Star of Bethlehem is to look for it on a calendar. According to Matthew, Jesus was born during Herod’s reign as king. Herod died, according to Josephus, shortly after a lunar eclipse occurred. This lunar eclipse is frequently referred to as the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC, because it occurred on that day. Those who reigned after Herod used coinage to demonstrate that their authority began in 4 BC, which was the year that Herod died.
Some people, on the other hand, are still opposed to this notion.
Many people have had the belief for a long time that the movements of the stars were tied to the events that took place on the planet Earth. Miracles were frequently supposed to occur at the same time as notable persons were born, according to popular belief. Traditionally, the Star of Bethlehem is associated with the Star Prophecy in the Book of Numbers: “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, and destroy all the sons of tumult,” says the prophet.
Joseph, for example, used it as an example (though he thought it was about EmperorVespasian).
Paintings and other works of art depicting the magi’s visit may incorporate the star as a focal point or motif. It is depicted as a comet in the frescoby Giotto di Bondone, where it was created. The star is held by an angel in an Edward Burne-Jones-designed tapestry called The Adoration of the Magi.
The Star of Bethlehem is frequently mentioned in Christmas carols. For example, the song We Three Kings contains the lyrics: “O star of wonder, star of light, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, “O star of wonder, star of light, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with royal beauty bright, “O star with Help us to find our way to thy beautiful light.
- Matthew 2:11 is a passage from the Bible. As a “kid” (paidon), Jesus is living with his parents in a residence at the time of the magi’s visitation. He is not an ababy (brephos), as he is shown in the Gospel of Luke when the shepherds come to visit him. Patrician, Dorothy Kelly, Women’s Evangelical Commentary on the New Testament, p. 20 He is also in the company of his mother. This demonstrates that the 40-day period of captivity prescribed by Jewish law has already expired
- See Matthew 2:5–6. As in Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2, Matthew 2:16 echoes the words of the prophets. Because of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew claims that this is the case. According to Exodus 11:1-12:36, pharaoh killed firstborn kids, and this is akin to that practice. “An Exodusmotif predominates across (is visible throughout) the entire chapter.” (2011). (Kennedy, Joel (2008), Recapitulation of Israel (Mohr Siebeck, 2008, p. 132, ISBN 9783161498251, accessed on 2009-07-04). God revealed the stars in the sky to Abraham, marking the beginning of the tale of the Jewish people. Genesis 15:5 (Genesis 15:5)
- For example, Paul L. Maier’s “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
- E. P. Sanders’ “The Historical Figure of Jesus,” 1993
- Aaron Michael Adair’s “Science, Scholarship, and Bethlehem’s Starry Night,” Sky and Telescope (1998), p.85 Ratti, John, First Sunday after the Epiphany, archived from the original on 2011-10-12, retrieved2008-06-05
- Brown, Raymond Edward, First Sunday after the Epiphany, archived from the original on 2011-10-12, retrieved2008-06-05
- (1988). An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories, Liturgical Press, p. 11ISBN0-8028-3931-2
- Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Eerdmans (2000), p. 844
- Matthew 2:2
- Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Eerdmans, p. 844
- This is the New Revised Standard Version
- Matthew 2:1–4New King James Version(1982)
- Thomas G. Long,Matthew(Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), page 18
- Matthew 2:4
- Matthew 2:8
- Matthew 2:7–10
- Matthew 2:11
- Matthew 2:12
- Matthew 2:13–14 P. M. Bernegger, “Affirmation of Herod’s Death in 4 B.C.,” Journal of Theological Studiesns 34 (1983), 526–31
- Steinmann, Andrew, “Affirmation of Herod’s Death in 4 B.C.,” Journal of Theological Studiesns 34 (1983), 526–31
- (2009). “When Did Herod the Great Reign?” Novum Testamentum, pp. 1–29
- “When Did Herod the Great Reign?” Archived from the original on 2007-12-14 and retrieved on 2009-07-04: Geza Vermes’ article “The First Christmas” appeared in History Today in December 2006, volume 56, number 12, pages 23–29. number2417
- Freed, Edwin D. (2001), The Stories of Jesus’ Birth: A Critical Introduction, Continuum International, p. 93, ISBN0567-0804-63
- Josephus, Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, retrieved2008-06-07. William Whiston was in charge of the translation. “Messianic claimants,” by Lendering, Jona, 2008-05-17, archived from the original on 2008-04-17, and retrieved on 2008-06-05
- Various images and material linked to the Star of Bethlehemmat are available on Wikimedia Commons.
What was the Star of Bethlehem?
According to the New Testament, the Star of Bethlehem guided the three wise men to the location of Jesus’ birth. The Star of Bethlehem, on the other hand, was what? There are a variety of hypotheses. (Photo courtesy of losw via Getty Images.) ) It was 2,000 years ago when the Star of Bethlehem directed three Magi, or wise men, to the Holy City of Jerusalem. This is according to the well-known tale in the Gospel of Matthew. After checking with King Herod of Judea, the men were able to locate the newborn babyJesus in the little town of Bethlehem, which they named after him.
This is an issue that academics have pondered for a long time, not just from a theological or historical standpoint, but also from a scientific standpoint.
When something in the New Testament is a historical account, David Weintraub, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told All About Space that “that historical account requires an explanation.” Weintraub is also a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
For an astronomer, the best answer is one that is grounded in the sciences.
The Star of Bethlehem wasn’t a comet or a supernova
We know that Halley’s Comet was visible in the sky in 11 B.C., but we don’t know when. Although it is possible that the Magi followed a comet as they traveled toward Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, it is doubtful that they did so since the comet’s location would have varied as the Earth revolved, making it impossible for the comet to have guided them in a single route. Furthermore, in the ancient world, comets were frequently seen as omens of doom. A comet and its tail make for an attractive image for Christmas cards, but in those days, comets visible high in the sky were considered a sign of impending doom, according to Grant Mathews, professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, who spoke with All About Space via email.
- A measurable remnant would have emerged from either catastrophe, but astronomers have not discovered anything that may be associated with this time period.
- It is impossible to track a star from Baghdad to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, according to Weintraub.
- They are up and down, and they do not occupy space in the sky.” Others would almost certainly have witnessed such an occurrence at the time as well.
- Other ideas, such as the one presented in a 2005 article published in the journal The Observatory, claim that a supernova in the Andromeda galaxy was responsible for the event.
- Although Halley’s comet was visible in the sky during the year 11 B.C., it seems improbable that this was the source of the Star of Bethlehem’s appearance.
The “star” could have been an entire sky of stars
One of two options becomes available to us as a result of this. The first is that the Magi were attempting to interpret the sky in accordance with astrological principles. It is possible that they were not guided to their final destination by a single light object, as evidenced by the fact that they needed to ask Herod for directions when they arrived. Astrology was commonly practiced at the period, and given that the Magi came from Babylon, it is reasonable to assume that they were astrologers as well.
For example, Jupiter’s show might have been extremely significant in this context since the planet Jupiter was connected with monarchy in ancient astrology, and the moon passing through the constellation of Aries on April 17, 6 B.C.
Despite the fact that “modern astronomers” do not believe in astrology, Weintraub believes that the term “modern” is relevant in this context.” “What is significant is what people believed 2,000 years ago about a certain topic.
Back in the day, astrology was a huge deal. The only explanation that makes the most sense to me is that it was a result of astrological calculations.”
The Star of Bethlehem could have been a conjunction
When two or more celestial bodies appear to come together in the sky, such as the Star of Bethlehem, it is possible that they are the result of a conjunction. The image above was taken from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope observatory in Paranal, and it depicts a conjunction. The moon is accompanied by Venus (in the middle of the image) and Jupiter in this photograph (to the right of Venus). (Photo courtesy of ESO/Y. Beletsky.) The alternative, more astronomical, interpretation is that there was, in fact, a brilliant object in the sky — a conjunction of planets and stars — that caused the phenomenon.
- These occurrences can occur every night in the same spot for days or even weeks at a time.
- As discussed in his book “The Star of Bethlehem,” astronomer Michael Molnar speculated that the conjunction hypothesis may be valid (Rutgers University Press, 1999).
- Mathews believes that an alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, the moon and the sun in the constellation of Aries on April 17, 6 B.C.
- For a variety of reasons, this conjunction is appropriate for the tale.
- The Magi, like everyone else, lost sight of the star before finally noticing it come to rest in the location where baby Jesus was being cared for in the stable.
- “Normally, if you’re tracking the planets in the sky, they’ll go eastward,” Mathews explained.
- Two notable events occurred on June 17, 2 B.C., when the planets Jupiter, Venus, and the star Regulus came together in the constellation of Leoon.
- The constellation of Pisces was the site of another planetary conjunction in 6 B.C., this time involving Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
However, neither of these later two conjunctures corresponds as closely to the account given in the New Testament as the conjuncture that happened on April 17, 6 B.C. on the other hand.
The Star of Bethlehem mystery continues
Despite the fact that scientists have ruled out various possibilities, we may never know for certain what the Star of Bethlehem was, or even whether it ever existed, until some extraordinary archaeological discoveries are discovered. The subject, however, continues to be raised year after year, and it is likely to continue to spark the curiosity of scientists and historians alike for many more years in the future. “Nothing in science, and certainly nothing in history, is ever a closed case,” Mathews added.
Maybe it was just a stroke of luck.”
With the help of this article from The Conversation, you can find out whether astronomy can explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem. With the help of the Royal Museums Greenwich, you may learn more about the Star of Bethlehem and its origins. In this article from The Conversation, you can learn about the similarities and differences between the magi and scientists.
- With this article from The Conversation, you can find out whether astronomy can explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem. With the help of the Royal Museums Greenwich, you may learn more about the Star of Bethlehem’s origins. In this article from The Conversation, you’ll learn about the similarities and differences between magicians and scientists.
Join our Space Forums to keep up to date on the latest space missions, the night sky, and other topics! And if you have a news tip, a correction, or a remark, please send it to us at: [email protected]. Thank you. Jonathan O’Callaghan is a freelance space and science writer from in the United Kingdom who contributes to a variety of newspapers throughout the world on a regular basis. He specializes in covering commercial spaceflight, space exploration, and astrophysics, but he also covers a wide variety of scientific topics, from CRISPR to climate change, in his reporting.
What Is the Significance of the Star of Bethlehem?
Did you know that the Christmas star is referred to as the “Star of Bethlehem” in some circles? That statement is well-known among Christians, but let’s take a closer look at the importance and meaning of this moniker! The star at the top of the nativity scene is essential for it to be complete. The star has become a Christmas tradition, yet the star in the Bible is only mentioned for a brief 12 lines, creating many uncertainties in the aftermath of its appearance. What was the brightest star in Bethlehem?
Where Is the Star of Bethlehem Mentioned in the Bible?
In the Bible, the star of Bethlehem is never referred to by that name at all. When the Magi (orWise Men) from the east arrive in Jerusalem to question Ruler Herod, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” the phrase has its first use in Matthew 2:2. We noticed his star as it rose in the sky and have come to adore him.” The wise men had a brief conversation with a befuddled Herod, who had no prior knowledge of this monarch, before setting out once more. Matthew 2:9-10 is an account of what happened.
As soon as they spotted the star, they were overcome with delight.
What Was the Purpose of the Star of Bethlehem?
Nowhere in the Bible does the star of Bethlehem become referred to by this name. When the Magi (orWise Men) from the east arrive in Jerusalem to question Ruler Herod, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” the phrase first appears in Matthew 2:2. We came to adore Jesus because we witnessed his star when it first appeared.” Before setting out once more, the wise men stopped to speak with a befuddled Herod, who was completely unfamiliar with this monarch. This is recorded in Matthew 2:9-10.
As soon as they had finished listening to the king, they continued on their journey, with the star they had seen when it first appeared trailing after them until it came to rest above the location where the kid had been. It brought them great excitement to discover the star.
What Did the Star of Bethlehem Signify?
When I was growing up, most faiths taught that major events or persons were foreshadowed by signs in the skies, which was a widespread belief at the time. Astrological occurrences were frequently supposed to herald the advent of famous heroes or kings in the past. Consequently, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Magi were staring up at the sky. It also seems logical that God would want to herald the birth of His Son in a manner that the Magi could comprehend. But how did they get to the idea that the star was pointing exclusively to a “king of the Jews” in the first place?
However, there are certain prophesies that they could have come upon.
A great king was represented with a star and a scepter.
The star, in those days, was connected with monarchy, the Messiah, and the Jewish people in particular.
What Was the Star of Bethlehem?
The Wise Men followed a star, although no one knows which star they followed, or even if they followed a “star” in the traditional sense. The Greek term “aster,” which translates as “star,” is often used to refer to a star or celestial body, but it is also used to allude to angels in specific contexts (for example inRevelation 12:4). A number of hypotheses have been suggested in relation to the interpretation of the object as a real celestial body. According to some theories, a supernova, such as the one that occurred in 5 B.C.
- Others have speculated that it may be a comet.
- Because of the symbolic implications that planets and constellations held for ancient astrologers, a number of astronomical events might possibly meet the criteria.
- Some academics believe that when these three got together in 7 B.C., this may have been what the Magi saw, while others believe that it was something else.
- You may learn more about some of them by visiting this page.
- These views contend that the star was either an angel (recalling the twofold potential meaning of the word “aster”) or that the star was a manifestation of God’s Shekinah Glory, similar to the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire that guided the Israelites through the desert (Exodus 13:21).
Those who believe in these hypotheses are particularly encouraged by the fact that Matthew 12:9 indicates that the star moved: And the star that they had seen when it first appeared moved ahead of them until it came to rest above the location where the youngster was hiding.
What Does the Star of Bethlehem Mean for Us?
The Wise Men followed a star, although no one knows what star they followed or even if it was a “star” in the traditional sense. It is commonly understood to refer to a star or celestial body when translated as “star,” but it is also used to allude to angels in some locations (for example inRevelation 12:4). A number of hypotheses have been offered in regards to the interpretation of the object as a real celestial body. A supernova, such as the one that occurred in 5 B.C. and lasted barely 70 days, has been postulated as the “new star” that the Magi followed.
- Comets have been offered by others as a possible explanation.
- Because of the significance that planets and constellations had for ancient astrologers, a number of astronomical events may possibly fulfill the description.
- The Magi may have seen something similar to this when these three got together in 7 B.C., according to some experts.
- Some of them are described in detail here.
- These views contend that the star was either an angel (recalling the twofold potential meaning of the word “aster”) or that the star was a manifestation of God’s Shekinah Glory, such as the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire that guided the Israelites through the desert (Exodus 13:21).
- Furthermore, the star that they had seen as it rose proceeded ahead of them till it came to a halt above the location of the infant.
Historical Clues About the Date of Jesus’ Birth
Since our dating system is founded on the concept that Jesus was born between the centuries we refer to as B.C. and A.D., the question of when Jesus was born appears to have an apparent solution. Christians also commemorate the birth of Jesus at the time of the Winter Solstice, on Christmas, or on the Feast of the Three Kings (the Epiphany) (January 6). The Gospels, on the other hand, do not expressly establish the date of Jesus’ birth. Taking the assumption that Jesus was a historical character, the Star of Bethlehem is one of the most important techniques for determining when he was born.
The Star of Bethlehem
There are numerous confusing aspects regarding the birth of Jesus, including the season, the year, the Star of Bethlehem, and the census of Augustus, which are all mentioned in the Bible. When it comes to the birth of Jesus, the most often accepted dates are those between 7 and 4 B.C., however the birth might have occurred several years later or even earlier. The spectacular celestial phenomena shown in planetariums as the Star of Bethlehem might represent the conjunction of two planets, despite the fact that the Gospel of Matthew refers to a single star, not a conjunction, as the Star of Bethlehem.
We have come to worship Him because we spotted His star in the east and have followed it.” (Matt.
2:11; Luke 2:12) A compelling argument may be made in favor of a comet. Choosing the appropriate one can reveal not only the year, but also the season in which Jesus was born if the proper one is chosen.
History and theology were already celebrating a winter Christmas by the fourth century, but it wasn’t until 525 that the year of Jesus’ birth was definitively established. That’s when Dionysius Exiguus decided that Jesus was born eight days before New Year’s Day in the year 1 A.D., according to the calendar. The Gospels furnish us with evidence that Dionysius Exiguus was mistaken in his assumptions.
Star of Bethlehem as Comet
In his article “The Star of Bethlehem—a Comet in 5 BC—and the Date of the Birth of Christ,” published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Colin J. Humphreys claims that Jesus was most likely born in 5 BCE at the time of a major, new, slow-moving comet—a “sui-hsing,” or star with a sweeping tail—in the Capricorn region of the sky. This is the comet, according to Humphreys, that was known as the Star of Bethlehem.
The Three Magi
The Star of Bethlehem was first mentioned in Matthew 2:1-12, which was likely written around A.D. 80 and was based on earlier sources. The story of themagi coming from the East in response to the star is told by Matthew. The magi, who were not called kings until the 6th century, were probably astronomer/astrologers from Mesopotamia or Persia where, because of a sizable Jewish population, they were acquainted with Jewish prophecy about a savior-king. Humphreys says it was not uncommon for magi to visit kings.
- This is why Christmas displays at planetariums show the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 B.C.
- Humphreys argues terms like “‘hang over’ appear to be uniquely utilized in ancient literature to characterize a comet.” If other evidence emerges showing conjunctions of planets were so described by the ancients, this argument would fail.
- “The two planets had merged into one single gleaming object, one giant star in the sky, in the direction of Jerusalem, as seen from Persia.” This celestial phenomenon covers the problem of the appearance of a single star, but not the point about the star hovering.
- Some who oppose the idea that it was a comet say comets were associated with calamities.
- Besides, comets were also viewed as portents of change.
Determining Which Comet
According to the assumption that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet, there were three probable years: 12, 5, and 4 BCE (before Christ). By referring to the only significant and established date in the Gospels, the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar (A.D. 28/29), at which time Jesus is characterized as being “around 30,” we can exclude the possibility of error. The year 12 B.C. is incorrect for the date of Jesus’ birth since he would have been 40 years old by the year A.D. 28. However, Herod the Great was still alive when Jesus was born, which makes the year 4 B.C.
In addition, the comet of 4 B.C. is not mentioned by the Chinese writers. This leaves the year 5 B.C., which is the year Humphreys favours. According to the Chinese, the comet came between March 9 and April 6, and it was visible for more than 70 days.
The Problematic Census
Humphreys addresses the majority of the issues raised by the 5 B.C. dating method, including one that is not technically astronomical in nature. He claims that the most well-known censuses of Augustus took place in 28 and 8 B.C., as well as in A.D. 14. These were solely available to Roman citizens. Another census, according to Josephus and Luke 2:2, would have taken place during which the Jews of the region would have been taxed. This census took place under the administration of Quirinius, the ruler of Syria, however it took place far later than the likely birth date of Jesus.
XVII.ii.4) places a year before the death of King Herod, the mystery may be solved, according to Humphreys’ theory.
The Date of Jesus’ Birth
Humphreys deduces that Jesus was born sometime between March 9 and May 4, 5 B.C. based on all of these data. This period has the additional benefit of having the year’s Passover, which is a very auspicious time for the birth of a Messiah.
Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem?
Christmas trees decorated with bright stars may be found in Christian households all around the world. The “Star of Wonder” that directed the wise men to a manger in the little town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, is a popular Christmas carol among the faithful. They’re remembering the Star of Bethlehem, which is mentioned in the New Testament by the Evangelist Matthew as the star of Bethlehem. The star’s biblical description appears to be a religious fabrication, but does it include any astronomical truth?
Puzzles for astronomy
In order to comprehend the Star of Bethlehem, we must think in the manner of the three wise men. Inspired by this “star in the east,” they headed to Jerusalem first, where they informed King Herod of the prophesy that a new ruler of the people of Israel would come into existence. We must also consider the perspective of King Herod, who inquired of the wise men as to when the star had appeared, despite the fact that he and his court were clearly uninformed of the presence of such a star in the sky.
Once at Bethlehem, the wise men had to journey south from Jerusalem, with the “star in the east” “going before them, until it came and stood above where the little infant was,” as the Bible describes it.
As the north star directs lost hikers to the north, shouldn’t a star in the east have sent the three wise men to the east as well?
After following the’star in the east’ to find Jesus, the Magi showered him with adulation and gifts. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., Creative Commons BY-NC-ND
What could the ‘star in the east’ be?
The astronomer in me understands that no star, nor a comet, nor Jupiter, nor a supernova, nor a conjunction of planets, nor any other genuine brilliant object in the midnight sky is capable of doing these feats. It is possible to argue that Matthew’s statements represent a miracle, something that is outside the realm of physics. Nonetheless, Matthew picked his words carefully and used the phrase “star in the east” twice, indicating to his readers that these words are of particular significance to him.
Is there any other possible explanation that is consistent with Matthew’s statement but does not require the violation of the laws of physics but does have something to do with astronomy?
Astrological answers to astronomical puzzles
Scientist Michael Molnar points out that the English phrase “in the east” is an exact translation of the Greek phraseen te anatole, which was a technical word employed in Greek mathematical astronomy 2,000 years ago and has been translated as “in the east.” In precise detail, it predicted a planet that would rise over the eastern horizon shortly before sunrise, right before the sun would appear.
- Then, only a few seconds after the planet appears in the early sky, it is completely obscured by the dazzling glare of the rising sun.
- We’re going to need a little bit of astronomy knowledge for this.
- The stars in the Big Dipper appear in the same spot year after year, no matter what time of year it is.
- Despite the fact that the planets, the sun, and the moon all travel along roughly the same route through the background stars, they travel at different speeds, and as a result, they frequently overlap one another.
- And now we’ll need to brush up on our astrological knowledge.
When the planet reappears for the first time in many months and rises in the morning sky just moments before the sun for the first time in many months after having been hidden in the sun’s glare for It was the Greek astrologer En Te Anatole who coined the term “heliacal rise” to describe that rare initial sight of a planet in the sky.
Accordingly, in the context of ancient Greek astrology, the “star in the east” refers to an astronomical occurrence that is believed to have had astrological significance at the time.
James Callan, CC BY-NC-SA (Public Domain) SAWhat about the shooting star that’s situated exactly over the first crèche?
It refers to a certain point in time when a planet comes to a complete stop and seems to shift apparent orientation from westward to eastward motion.
Several rare astrological events (such as the right planet rising before the sun, the sun being in the right constellation of the zodiac, and a number of other planetary positions considered important by astrologers) would have suggested to ancient Greek astrologers a regal horoscope and a royal birth.
Wise men looking to the skies
He believes that the wise men were in reality extremely knowledgeable and mathematically skilled astrologers, according to Molnar. The Israelites were also aware of an Old Testament prophecy stating that a new king would be born into the House of David. Most likely, they had been keeping an eye on the sky for years, looking for signs that might herald the birth of this monarch. When they discovered a potent set of astrological portents, they decided it was time to embark on a mission to track down the foretold leader of the people.
- If Matthew’s wise men genuinely embarked on a voyage to hunt for a newborn king, the brilliant star did not serve as a guide; rather, it served solely to inform them of the appropriate time to start off.
- The kid was almost eight months old when they decoded the astrological message they believed promised the birth of a future king, and the message had been decoded by then.
- The newborn Jesus would have been at least a toddler by the time the men could have arrived in Bethlehem at the earliest possible moment in time.
- Considering all of the astronomical indicators that he included in his gospel, it’s reasonable to assume that the account of the Star of Bethlehem would be persuasive proof for many in his audience.
What was the star of Bethlehem?
QuestionAnswer Traditionally, the star of Bethlehem is connected with the birth of Christ as well as with the visit of the themagi (wise men), as described in Matthew 2:1–12. According to the scripture, the star of Bethlehem appeared solely to the magi who traveled from the East (most likely the area of Persia, or modern-day Iran). There is no mention in the Bible of anyone else who may have seen the star of Bethlehem. As the magi in the East looked up at the sky, they noticed something—the star of Bethlehem—that alerted them to the fact that the Jewish Messiah had been born.
- The magi were compelled to journey to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, by a heavenly sign.
- They went to see King Herod in Jerusalem and were informed that the future king they sought would be born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem as they had first believed (Matthew 2:5).
- In actuality, the star “passed ahead of them until it came to rest over the location where the infant had been found.” “They were pleased when they saw the star,” the Bible says in verses 9–10.
- When it comes to modern depictions of the Christmas nativity scene, the wise men are frequently seen visiting Jesus on the night of His birth.
- Herod evidently believed that the star of Bethlehem initially appeared at the time of Christ’s birth; if he was correct, then Jesus may have been as young as two years old when the star of Bethlehem subsequently guided the magi through the streets of Bethlehem, according to tradition.
- It is possible that they saw the star of Bethlehem for the first time on the night of Jesus’ birth, or that they first saw it up to two years before to Jesus’ birth.
- Joseph and Mary very certainly remained in Bethlehem until Mary was able to go once again.
They could easily travel the five miles to Jerusalem to offer the sacrifice for Mary’s purification from Bethlehem, where they lived at the time (Luke 2:22).
Following their sighting of the star of Bethlehem, the magi journeyed to Jerusalem in search of the promised Messiah.
Without a doubt, they would have been exposed to the writings of the Jewish prophet Daniel, who had served as the leader of the court seers in Persia during his time as ruler of the country.
Additionally, they may have been aware of the words of the pagan prophet Balaam (who was from the town of Pethor on the Euphrates River in Persia) in Numbers 24:17 (who was from the town of Pethor on the Euphrates River near Persia).
The star of Bethlehem was precisely what it sounded like.
There are 24 instances of the term in the New Testament, and the majority of the time it is used to allude to a heavenly body.
In accordance with basic norms of biblical interpretation, we should accept a word in its ordinary sense unless there is sufficient evidence to suggest that it should be taken in a different sense.
For the star of Bethlehem, several Bible scholars have proposed natural explanations, with their hypotheses ranging from a supernova to the passage of time to a planetary alignment.
However, there is evidence to imply that the star of Bethlehem was not a natural celestial phenomena, but rather something that science has not been able to account for.
Furthermore, although celestial bodies generally travel from east to west as a result of the world’s rotation, the star of Bethlehem guided the magi from Jerusalem south to Bethlehem, despite the fact that the earth rotates.
No natural celestial event is capable of performing such a feat.
Several scholars believe that the star of Bethlehem mentioned in Matthew 2:1–12 was an angel or a manifestation of the Shekinah Glory.
Prior to this, the Shekinah’s most noteworthy appearances were the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites during the day and the pillar of fire that led them during the night, respectively (Exodus 13:21).
Either an angel or the Shekinah would be a good fit for the circumstances.
It should come as no surprise that God would choose to announce the arrival of His Son into the world by a miraculous sign. Those who had eyes to see rejoiced as they observed His splendor. Questions about Christmas (return to top of page) What was the star of Bethlehem’s constellation?
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The Astronomy Behind The Star Of Bethlehem
One of the most iconic pictures of the Christmas season is the journey of three wise men or kings to Bethlehem, which is illuminated by a dazzling star over their heads. The origins of the Star of Bethlehem can be traced back to the first verses of Matthew’s Gospel, which state:Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.
The gospel of Matthew claims that they perceived an astronomical phenomenon as a foretelling of Christ’s birth.
As far as scholars are concerned, the magi are only mentioned in Matthew’s gospel, and many believe that their presence is a religious metaphor intended to demonstrate that Jesus’ fate was inscribed in the stars.
Despite the fact that it is referred to as a star, it is evident that this is the one thing that it could not have been.
A much different approach was used, with emphasis placed on astronomical phenomena such as the last sighting of a specific star before sunrise or the conjuncture of planets and stars.
Examples include the first apparition of Venus as the morning star in the year 2000.
There has been suggested by Craig Chester that it may have been a morning conjunction of Venus with Regulus (in the constellation of Leo, the lion), followed by a morning conjunction of Venus with Jupiter approximately nine months later, which would have occurred near the star Regulus.
Occasionally, bright comets may be seen in the night sky, and they have been portrayed as “hanging over” specific cities or territories, much as the Star of Bethlehem is frequently shown in religious art.
The writers of Matthew, on the other hand, were certainly aware of the distinction between a comet and a star, and they expressly referred to the occurrence as a star.
A third option is that it was either annova or a supernova that caused the explosion.
According to the Biblical account, this may have been considered as a positive omen.
However, this nova was not recorded by astronomers in other parts of the world, indicating that it wasn’t extremely brilliant.
It’s possible that a supernova occurred in the Andromeda galaxy or the Magellanic Clouds, but there is no evidence of such an event in the astronomical record.
The Star of Bethlehem’s origins are unclear since there isn’t a single event that stands out as a clear precursor to its appearance, but there are a variety of possibilities that “kind of” suit the bill.
Because Matthew was written about 80 AD, several decades after the events described in the book, the astronomical event mentioned in the book would have been interpreted decades after the Crucifixion and the establishment of Christianity.
Even if the author of Matthew believed the Star of Bethlehem was actual fact rather than pious fiction, we will very certainly never know what event they had in mind when he wrote the book. Paper:Chester, Craig. “The Star of Bethlehem.” Imprimis, December 22, 1993, page 12 (December 22, 1993).