What Year Was Jesus Actually Born?
Do you think that if our calendar is divided into B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini, the year of our Lord), it doesn’t follow that Jesus was born in the first year (since we don’t consider year zero)? Actually, the situation is a little more complicated than that. It wasn’t until the 6th Century that a monk by the name of Dionysius attempted to calculate the exact date of Christ’s birth that the calendar was set to begin with the birth of the Savior. He determined that Jesus was born in the 753rd year of the Roman Empire, based on the Scriptures and historical material at his disposal.
1,” and we continued to add years from there.
Scholars were able to determine that Jesus was born a few years later than previously assumed by examining fresh facts connected to the chronological markers supplied in Scripture.
What year was Jesus born? Here’s why many scholars say Jesus was born between 5 and 6 B.C.
However, despite the fact that the Gospel authors were not particularly concerned with documenting an exact chronological timeline of Jesus’ life and ministry, we may still approximate several significant dates by correlating historical markers with passages from Scripture.
Calculating the Year Jesus Was Born
In those days, Caesar Augustus issued an edict requiring that all of the world’s inhabitants be registered. When Quirinius was governor of Syria, this was the first time a register was made. And they all went to their respective towns to get registered. And Joseph traveled from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is known as Bethlehem because he was descended from the family and lineage of David, in order to be registered with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
- Even though there is considerable scholarly disagreement on the subject, many historians assume that Quirinius’ proclamation of the census took place in 8 BCE, and that it would have taken a couple of years for the order to be put into effect.
- The family of Jesus went to Egypt and remained there until Herod was killed.
- This suggests that Jesus would have been born sometime between 8 B.C.
- This allows for the determination of a birth date in the 5th or 6th centuries BC.
Checking the Math
Clearly, Jesus’ birth in any yearBefore Christ(B.C.) is earlier than we would predict given the circumstances. Is it possible that this is correct? Is there a technique to double-check the math that I may use?
Fortunately, there is one. We can observe how this date for Jesus’ birth corresponds to other chronological markers in the Bible. For example, does this figure make sense when you include Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion as well as his death?
John the Baptist Begins His Ministry
During the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, with Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea, Herod as tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip serving as tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, as well as Lysanias serving as tetrarch of Abilene, 2 the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness, during the high priesthood of Anna Luke 3:1-2 is a biblical passage.
Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus was the Roman emperor. This section describes how John the Baptist began his ministry as “the voice of one weeping in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.'” It also mentions how he came to be known as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” As previously stated, it refers to the 15th year of Tiberius’ rule, which started when he became co-emperor with Augustus in A.D.
26, and it helps us understand when John started his preaching.
Jesus’ Earthly MinistryDeath
The age of Jesus when he began his public ministry was around thirty years. Luke 3:23 (NIV) According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was around 30 years old when He began His public ministry. There are at least three Passovers mentioned in the Gospel of John during Christ’s ministry (John 2:23; 6:4; 12:1). According to this, His earthly mission must have lasted at least two years. It’s extremely likely that it lasted over three years in all. In other words, since Jesus’ career began around the year A.D.
According to Luke 3:23, Jesus would have been between the ages of 34 and 36 at the time of his death.
29-30, this would place his birth somewhere between 5 and 6 B.C.
Whoah, Woah, Woah. Wasn’t Jesus 33 when He died?
Many, if not the majority of us, have heard sermons in which it is said that Jesus was 33 years old at the time of His death. The difficulty is that Scripture does not expressly state this in this manner. Among the factors that led to this conclusion were estimates that Jesus’ career lasted around three years and that Jesus was approximately thirty years old when he began His ministry (Luke 3:23). Two things should be kept in mind: First and foremost, scholarly estimations are subject to error, but Scripture is not.
- To begin with, it would not be wrong for Luke to state that Jesus was “about 30 years old” if He was actually 31 or even 33 years old.
- Is there anyone else that agrees with these times?
- Lea and David Alan Black, is the primary source of the material presented above.
- Other academics have come to similar results in their research.
When Jesus began His ministry, Andreas Köstenberger and Justin Taylor speculate that He was between the ages of 33 and 35, and when He was crucified, they write in The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived that he was between the ages of 36 and 38.
That’s all there is to it. However, while there isn’t unanimous agreement among Biblical historians on this point, many are sure that the birth of Jesus Christ took place between the years 4 and 6 B.C. Other material from the Bible and history corresponds to this time period. Although faith is unquestionably the “proof of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1), it is extremely beneficial to be reminded that we may place our trust in the historicity of the Christian Gospel and the life of Christ through a variety of sources other than the Scripture.
- To give an example, ancient historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger’s letter to Emperor Trajan can provide support for material contained in the New Testament through their works.
- As a result of looking at more knowledge about biblical events and persons, we can gain a better understanding of specific elements of biblical history and people.
- It is stated in Thomas D.
- 95; also in ibid, p.
- Note: Although Tiberius became Emperor in A.D.
- In Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), he writes on page 60:
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What year was Jesus Christ born? When was Jesus born?
Answer The Bible does not specify the specific day or even the exact year that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, nor does it specify the location of the birth. However, a detailed analysis of the chronological facts of history narrows the range of options to a realistic period of time in the distant past. The Gospels include all of the scriptural information about Jesus’ conception and birth. During the reign of Herod the Great, according to Matthew 2:1, Jesus was born into this world. Since Herod died in 4 B.C., we have a starting point with which to work.
- This suggests that Jesus might have been as young as 2 years old at the time of Herod’s death.
- on the calendar.
- to 14 A.D., and that he died in A.D.
- It is believed that Quirinius ruled Syria during this time period, as evidenced by records of a census that included Judea in roughly 6 B.C.
- This historical information indicates that Christ’s birth in Bethlehem occurred between 6 and 5 B.C., which is the most plausible date.
The ministry of Jesus began during the time of John the Baptist’s ministry in the wilderness, and John’s ministry began “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip being tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,” during the time of the high (Luke 3:1-2).
- The only chronological period that can account for all of these data is the era between A.D.
- If Jesus was “about thirty years of age” by A.D.
- According to the most recent estimates, Jesus would have been roughly 32 years old at the time of His ministry’s start (still “about thirty years of age” at the time).
- What do you think?
- It is the day on which Christians have decided to commemorate the birth of Jesus, however the precise date of His birth is uncertain.
Jesus’ mother, Mary, gave birth to Him in the Judean town of Bethlehem in the year 6-4 B.C. His birth, along with the lives of countless individuals all around the world, altered the course of history forever.
When Was Jesus Born—B.C. or A.D.?
Calculating the time span between BCE and AD was a complicated process. Megan Sauter was born on December 4, 202132. 216162 views and 216162 comments When was Jesus’ birth commemorated? It is from an altarpiece by Mariotto Albertinelli (1474–1515) that this predella panel portrays the newborn infant Jesus, who is accompanied by Joseph and his mother Mary. Which year did Jesus come into the world, B.C. or A.D.? According to the evidence, he was born about 4 B.C. or before. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, courtesy of the John G.
- What year did Jesus come into the world?
- or earlier.
- Since Herod played a significant part in the story of Jesus’ birth (see Matthew 2), it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was born before Herod died.
- The abbreviations B.C.
- stand for “before Christ” and “anno Domini,” which translates as “in the year of the Lord,” respectively, in the English language.
- In principle, all of the years preceding Jesus’ birth are referred to as B.C., and all of the years after his birth are referred to as A.D.
- However, as previously said, it is most likely that Jesus was born around the year 4 B.C.
As a result, how did the present-day distinction between BCE and A.D.
In his Biblical Views column, “The Turn of the Christian Era: The Tale of Dionysius Exiguus,” published in the November/December 2017 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ben Witherington III of Asbury Theological Seminary investigates the calendar split.
in Scythia Minor, which is a region that includes parts of Romania and Bulgaria.
Ironically, he also produced a book on simple mathematics, which is ironic given his background.
You might be interested in knowing more about Jesus’ birth.
Jesus’ Birth as Told Through History and Tradition: The Story of Jesus’ Birth in History and Tradition.
A new calendar based on B.C.
dates was established as a result of Dionysius’ computations.
(Before the Common Era) and C.E.
However, despite the fact that Dionysius Exiguus computed the year of Jesus’ birth in the sixth century, it wasn’t until the eighth century that the date became widely accepted.
In Ben Witherington III’s Biblical Views column “The Turn of the Christian Era: The Tale of Dionysius Exiguus,” which appears in the November/December 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, you’ll learn more about when Jesus was born and Dionysius Exiguus’s calculations for B.C.
– Subscribers: The complete Biblical Views column “The Turn of the Christian Era: The Tale of Dionysius Exiguus” by Ben Witherington III can be found in the November/December 2017 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, which is available online.
Are you a new subscriber? Become a member today. You might be interested in knowing more about Jesus’ birth. In the free eBook The First Christmas: The Story of Jesus’ Birth in History and Tradition, you may learn more about the origins of Christmas and the date of Jesus’ birth in the Bible.
Related reading in Bible History Daily:
The Death of Herod, the Birth of Jesus, and a Lunar Eclipse: Did Jesus Really Exist? Looking for Evidence Outside the Bible: Lawrence Mykytiuk’s main piece from the January/February 2015 issue of BAR, which includes a large list of endnotes This is the entire text of Andrew McGowan’s article from the December 2002 edition of Bible Review, “How December 25 Became Christmas.” Christmas Stories in Christian Apocryphaby Andrew McGowan Tony Burke is a former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Who Was Jesus’ biological father, and how did he come to be?
Last updated on November 29, 2017, this feature from Bible History Daily was first published on November 29, 2017.
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When Was Jesus Born?
The birth of Jesus Christ is honored by millions of people all over the globe on December 25, as part of their Christmas celebrations.
However, the majority of experts agree that Jesus was not born on that day, or even in the year A.D. 1; rather, he was born later.
Why is Jesus’ birthday celebrated on December 25?
Many researchers believe that the Roman Catholic Church picked December 25 as the date because it coincides with the winter solstice and Saturnalia, a celebration devoted to the Roman god Saturn, both of which occur on the same day. According to professor Ignacio L. Götz in his book “Jesus the Jew: Reality, Politics, and Myth-A Personal Encounter,” the church could also co-opt this prominent pagan holiday, as well as the winter celebration of other pagan faiths, by choosing this day to honor Jesus’ birthday (Christian Faith Publishing, 2019).
Related: Why do Christians have so many different faiths to choose from?
The Death of King Herod
Based in part on the biblical tale of King Herod the Great, some academics assume he was born somewhere between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. An effort to kill Jesus was made, according to legend, when King Herod ordered the execution of all male newborns under the age of two who resided in the neighborhood of Bethlehem, an incident known as the Massacre of the Innocents. This occurred shortly before Herod’s own death, which is still debated as to when it occurred. While many academics, including Peter Richardson and Amy Marie Fisher in their book “Herod: King of the Jews and Friend of the Romans: Second edition” (Routledge, 2018), agree that Herod died around 4 B.C., others, such as Peter Richardson and Amy Marie Fisher, disagree.
Aslan wrote in his book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” (Random House, 2013) that Herod’s massacre was “an event for which there exists not a shred of corroborating evidence in any chronicle or history of the time, whether Jewish, Christian, or Roman,” and that “no shred of corroborating evidence” could be found in any chronicle or history of the time, whether Jewish, Christian, or Roman.
The Star of Bethlehem
Another group of researchers has sought to match the “Star of Bethlehem,” which is said to have hailed Jesus’ birth, with actual astronomical phenomena in order to determine the year of Jesus’ birth. scientist Colin Humphreys argued in a 1991 essay published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society that the mythical star was really a slow-moving comet, which Chinese watchers first observed in 5 B.C. Humphreys’ idea, on the other hand, has now been disproved. Related: Is it possible that the Christmas Star is indeed the Star of Bethlehem?
Another option is a comparable conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter, which happened in October of 7 B.C.
In addition, there has been conjecture that Jesus was born in the springtime. Jesus may have been born “around the late spring of the year,” according to Götz, “since pregnancies began in the autumn when the crops were in and there was enough money for a wedding feast.”
— From where did Satan originate? — Was Jesus a genuine person or a fictional character? — Is it possible that the ‘forbidden fruit’ in the Garden of Eden was actually an apple? Joseph Bennington-Castro is a contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com who is based in the Hawaiian Islands. A master’s degree in scientific journalism from New York University as well as a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Hawaii have qualified him for this position. His research encompasses a wide range of scientific topics, ranging from the bizarre mating practices of various animals to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient societies to the latest breakthroughs in solar cell technology.
What year was Jesus Christ born?
The Bible does not state explicitly what day or even what year Jesus was born, but it does state that he was born in Bethlehem. It does, however, contain a wealth of historical information that can be used to pinpoint the exact time period in which He was born, if desired. Both Matthew and Luke provide detailed descriptions of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. In Matthew 2:1, it is stated that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great. This Herod died in the spring of 4 BC, indicating that Jesus could have been born on the earth at the latest possible point in time.
- In addition, this would provide additional details that would place the birth of Jesus around 6-4 BC.
- According to Luke 2:1-2, “In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree requiring that all of the world’s inhabitants be registered.
- Despite the fact that Quirinius required only one known census, in 6-7 AD, the census mentioned in Luke appears to have gone unmentioned in the existing literature.
- Another possibility is that Quirinius reigned in this region twice, the first time as ruler and the second time as ruler, ordering a census during his first reign.
- The Bible tells us that Jesus began His public ministry at the age of “approximately thirty years” in Luke 3:23.
- Based on the evidence currently available, it is becoming more difficult to narrow down the time period in which Jesus was born.
- The most likely time period would have been following the harvest, when residents had income to pay taxes but were not involved in the harvest, indicating a time period from late September to the end of the year, most likely late 5 BC to early 4 BC, depending on the source of the information.
While it is recognized as the day on which Christians choose to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the precise date of His birth is unknown.
However, it is impossible to know for certain whether or not this is the case.
The fact that these men visited Jesus in a “house” rather than in the manger and that they arrived days or weeks after His birth makes it impossible to determine a precise date for His birth.
Others argue that the lambs were born in the summer because the sheep were out in the field at night (Though sheep are actually outside year-round in the Middle East.).
Yet the birth of Christ is of utmost importance and worthy of celebration on Christmas and every day.
Why do Matthew and Luke have different genealogies of Jesus? Why doesn’t the Bible say much about Jesus’ childhood? What were the key events in the life of Jesus? Is belief in the pre-existence of Jesus biblical? Return to:Truth about Jesus Christ
When Was Jesus Really Born? Not Dec. 25
Christians all around the world are looking forward to the approach of Christmas, a wonderful day in which to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Even Christians, however, are unable to agree on the date of Jesus’ birth, more than two millennia after his historic mission. Catholic and Protestant traditions celebrate Christmas on December 25, whereas Orthodox Christians in nations such as Russia, Greece, and Egypt celebrate Christmas on January 6 or 7, depending on the country. Nonetheless, historians and biblical scholars contend that even those accepted dates are up to debate.
According to Ian Paul, a theologian, biblical scholar, and author who blogs at his websitePsephizo, the gospel writers were more interested in theology than chronology.
As a result of a complex set of calculations relating to the birth of John the Baptist, who is also recorded in Luke, Paul’s best bet for the real date of Jesus’ birth is sometime around September, according to his own research.
According to Paul, by December, the Judean hillsides outside of Bethlehem are cold enough to receive snow on their summits.
Jesus Wasn’t Born in ‘Year 1’
First and first, historians largely agree that we have the wrong year for the birth of Jesus, even before we get into the month and day issue. How is this possible, though, given that “year 1” on the Gregorian calendar was based on the year in which Jesus was born? The simple explanation is that the individual who came up with the concept of anno Domini (abbreviated A.D.) for “Year of Our Lord” was mistaken by many years when he first thought of it. Even Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged in a 2012 book that Dionysius Exiguus, the sixth-century monk who initially computed the year of Jesus’ birth, had made a mistake and that Jesus was most likely born between 7 B.C.
For religious neutrality, modern authors may prefer to use the abbreviations CE (for Christian era) and BC (for Biblical era) instead of A.D.
In addition, the Bible claims multiple times that Jesus was born while Herod the Great was reigning as King of Judea, which provides overwhelming evidence for an earlier birth year for the Savior of the world.
If we believe Josephus’ account, Jesus must have been born at least four years earlier (and most likely far earlier) than our calendar indicates, according to Josephus.
How December and January Became the Traditional Dates for Christmas
However, the common claim that Christians selected December 25 to co-opt the ancient solsticefestival of Sol Invictus is not founded on solid evidence, but rather on the scrawled notes of an unidentified Syrian monk from the 12th century. His point was not to accuse Christians of stealing Christmas but to provide an explanation for why western churches “shifted” the festival from January to December. According to the Biblical Archaeology Society, the first reference of a date for Christmas was about 200 C.E., and the earliest celebrations of it occurred between 250 and 300 C.E., “a period when Christians were not significantly adopting extensively from pagan rituals of such an evident kind.” In the years following Jesus’ death, early Christians didn’t pay much attention to the anniversary of his birth.
- The persecution and even martyrdom of Christians during those times prompted them to place a strong emphasis on Easter, which commemorates Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross, after which he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
- that early Christian theologians began speculating about the date of Jesus’ birth, according to the Bible.
- It was formerly believed that the lives of great individuals were linked to particular periods of the year, according to Paul, who claims that this was the case in ancient times.
- For example, it appears that ancient sources thought Jesus was either born or divinely conceived at Passover, the Jewish festival celebrated during which he was subsequently killed in the springtime.
- Passover in the year of Jesus’ death was projected to occur on March 25 in Rome and other western regions, according to historical records.
- The addition of nine months resulted in the establishment of two traditional Christmas dates in Christianity: December 25 and January 6.
The September Theory of Christmas
How come biblical academics such as Ian Paul feel that the genuine date for Christmas should be around September, rather than December? In particular, it derives from a critical examination of the indications left behind in Luke, notably what the gospel’s authors have to say regarding the chronology of John the Baptist’s birth in connection to Jesus’ birth. Instead of Mary and Joseph, Luke’s version of the Christmas tale begins with another couple, Elizabeth and Zechariah, who were both elderly and childless when the story begins.
- Zechariah was overjoyed, and the angel told him that his wife would bear a son named John who would prepare the world for the coming of the Lord.
- However, once his service in the Temple was over, Zechariah returned home, and Elizabeth got pregnant shortly after.
- Although Mary was a virgin at the time, the angel Gabriel came to her and told her that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus, the Son of God, despite the fact that she was a virgin.
- However, we can only benefit from this information if we know when exactly John was born.
- More information may be found in the Bible once again.
- Abijah is mentioned as number eight in the rotation of divisions one through twenty-four in 1 Chronicles 24, which describes the sequence of Temple worship as divided by divisions one through twenty-four.
- If Elizabeth became pregnant shortly after the angel appeared to Zechariah in the Temple, and Mary became pregnant six months later, then Jesus’ birth would have occurred in September of the following year.
- When was the last time Luke deployed shepherds in the fields?
- However, there are several flaws in this hypothesis as well.
- Consider what might happen if Gabriel appeared to Zechariah six months later, on his second visit to the temple.
- A professor of classical studies at Brigham Young University, Thomas Wayment, has written on the different hypotheses surrounding Jesus’ birth, which may be found in his book, The Birth of Jesus.
Perhaps, he suggests, “it’s preferable to leave things open in the sense of being flexible.” In addition to December and January, he has discovered early Christian references to Jesus’ birth in the months of April and May. “We’re commemorating an occasion rather than a day.”
What year was Jesus born? The answer may surprise you
You could believe that Jesus was born in the Year Zero, anywhere between the years 1 B.C. and 1 A.D. It is often believed that Jesus was born about 6-7 B.C. The evidence from the Bible and the Church Fathers, on the other hand, points to a different year for the event. Here’s what the evidence has to say about it.
Not in Year Zero
There’s an excellent reason why Jesus didn’t come into the world in the year zero: There wasn’t one to be found. The sequence of years preceding Christ comes to an end with the year 1 B.C., and the series of years following Christ begins the very next year with the year 1 A.D. Since we’re used to dealing with number lines that have zeros on them, this comes as something of a surprise to us. However, zero was not a notion on the intellectual landscape at the time when our system of calculating years was devised.
- The first year before the kid’s birth would be designated as 1 B.C.
- If the kid turns out to be the Lord, then would be the first year of the Lord, which is known in Latin as Anno Domini, and is the source of the abbreviation A.D.
- and 1 A.D.
- 2013″ is an abbreviation for “The Year of the Lord 2013,” which is a comprehensible phrase.
The monk Dionysius Exiguus, who lived in the 6th century, is credited with inventing the modern calendar (“Dennis the Short”). He appears to have believed that Christ was born in the year 1 B.C. (really, it’s a little more complicated than that, but we’ll keep it easy for now). Today, most people believe that this date was set a few years too late and that the evidence points to a date set a few years earlier.
Historically, the concept that Jesus was born about 6-7 B.C. has been widespread for somewhat more than a century. The explanation behind this is as follows: Jesus was born late in Herod the Great’s reign, which ended in 4 B.C. Furthermore, the wise men were able to see the star rise in the east two years before they arrived in Jerusalem, where they met King Herod of Israel. Take four BC and forward it forward two years to obtain six BC. Add another year to account for the possibility that Herod did not die soon after they arrived, and you get 7 B.C.
However, as we discussed in a recent piece, there are significant flaws in the reasons used to support the claim that Herod died in 4 BCE.
Let’s use the same rationale as before and substitute the more plausible date of Herod’s death for the original. The evidence, as we discussed in a previous piece, leads to himdying as occurring in 1 BC.
So, if you go back two years from there, you have three B. C. To account for cushion, add another year, and you get 4 B.C. As a result, 3-4 B.C. That is not an outlandish estimate, but it has two flaws: first, it is based on a faulty assumption.
- Several of its assumptions are incorrect
- For example, Other evidence, including information from the Bible, argues that it’s a bit too soon to declare victory
The problematic assumptions are that the star was initially visible in the east at the time of Jesus’ birth and that it was visible for a full two years previous to the arrival of the magi, both of which are incorrect. The first of these assumptions is problematic for a variety of reasons, one of which is that its presence may be associated with another event in Jesus’ life, such as his conception. You’d have to go back nine months if that were the case in order to pinpoint the exact moment of his birth.
- What he claims is that Herod slaughtered all of the infant boys in Bethlehem who were two years old or younger, in accordance with the period he learned during the magi’s visit.
- Herod would undoubtedly want to be certain that the kid was dead, and he would err on the side of.
- In other words, he would grossly underestimate the age of the infant in order to be certain of annihilating him completely.
- That suggests Jesus was at the very least two years old, but he was most likely far younger.
- It should be noted that in ancient times, sections of a year were sometimes treated as a complete year in their calculations, thus “two years” may really imply “one year plus part of another year” in their counting.
The year 2 B.C. would be suggested if we started with Herod’s death in 1 B.C. and then, taking into consideration the facts listed above, backed up merely one year, indicating the year 2 B.C. So, if we go back another year to account for the fact that Herod did not die immediately, that would put the date in the 3rd century B.C. As a result, based on what we read in Matthew, it would be plausible to place the event between 2-3 B.C. Is there any more evidence that points to this date being correct?
Both inside and outside of the Bible are examples of this.
The Gospel of Luke
Despite the fact that Luke provides some useful hints concerning the time of Jesus’ birth, we don’t know enough about the event to be able to make full use of them. For example, the date of the enrolment ordered by Augustus is notoriously contentious and far too intricate to delve into in this section of the article. Later hints he provides in his gospel, on the other hand, are highly fascinating. John the Baptist began his ministry in “the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar,” for example, according to what he writes (3:1).
- resulted in Tiberius becoming emperor.
- According to this method of calculation, the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar corresponds to what we now refer to as A.D.
- (Please keep in mind that the 15th year is the period of time between the completion of the 14th year and the completion of the 15th year, just as a child’s first year is the period of time between his birth and his first birthday.
- It may be a few weeks or months at most.
- So, if you start with A.D.
- You would suppose in 1 B.C., but keep in mind that there is no Year Zero, so it would actually be 2 B.C., or the end of 3 B.C.
- As a result, the year 2-3 B.C.
- That’s still merely a guess, though, because Jesus may have been a bit younger or a little older than thirty at the time of his death.
When Luke says Jesus was “around thirty,” he is most likely not referring to a range between 25 and 35 years old, but rather to a range that is shorter than that.) It would be helpful if we knew an exact year of Jesus’ birth to validate our estimate, and we do in fact have an exact year of Jesus’ birth.
The Fathers Know Best
Early Christian sources are unanimous in their estimation of the year of Jesus’ birth, which is surprising. Adapted from Jack Finegan’s excellentHandbook of Biblical Chronology(p. 291), the following table presents dates provided by several sources:
|The Alogoi||4 B.C.orA.D. 9|
|Cassiodorus Senator||3 B.C.|
|St. Irenaeus of Lyon||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|St. Clement of Alexandria||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|Tertullian of Carthage||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|Julius Africanus||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|St. Hippolytus of Rome||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|“Hippolytus of Thebes”||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|Origen of Alexandria||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|Eusebius of Caesarea||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|Epiphanius of Salamis||3 B.C. or 2 B.C.|
|Dionysius Exiguus||1 B.C.|
|The Chronographer of the Year 354||A.D. 1|
As you can see, save for a few outliers (including our important buddy, Dionysius Exiguus), there is considerable agreement for Jesus being born in either 3 or 2 B.C. Also, keep in mind that some of the sources included in this table are extremely old. Tertullian, Julius Africanus, and Hippolytus of Rome were all writers who lived in the late 100s or early 200s, including Irenaeus of Lyon and Clement of Alexandria. As a result of thorough readings of Matthew and Luke, as well as the writings of the Church Fathers, we have substantial evidence that Jesus was born about 3 or 2 B.C.
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When Was Jesus Born?
According to the following reference books, the Bible does not specify a definite date for the birth of Jesus Christ:
- “It is unknown when Christ was born in the true sense of the word.” — from the New Catholic Encyclopedia
- And According to the Bible, “the exact day of Christ’s birth remains unknown.” • The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, which is an excellent resource.
While the Bible does not explicitly answer the question, “When was Jesus born?” it does relate two incidents that occurred around his birth that have led many to believe that he was not born on December 25, as is commonly believed.
Not in winter
- The registration process. Caesar Augustus issued an edict shortly before Jesus’ birth, mandating “the registration of all the inhabited world.” This occurred shortly before the birth of Jesus. To register, everyone had to go to “his own city,” which may take a week or more if they were not already there. (See Luke 2:1-3 for more information.) Even though that order, which was most likely issued to support taxation and military conscription, would have been unpopular at any time of year, it is unlikely that Augustus would have provoked his subjects even further by ordering many of them to travel long distances during the cold winter
- The sheep. Shepherds “were forced to live outside and maintain watch over their flocks at all hours of the day and night.” (See Luke 2:8 for further information.) According to the bookDaily Life in the Time of Jesus, flocks were forced to dwell in the open air from “the week before the Passover” to the middle of October. This is followed by the statement, “They spent the winter under cover
- Therefore from this alone it may be concluded that the conventional date for Christmas, which occurs in the winter, is unlikely to be correct, since the Gospel states that the shepherds were in the fields.”
In early fall
We can determine the date of Jesus’ birth by counting backward from his death on Nisan 14, which occurred in the spring of the year 33 C.E., which occurred on Passover (John 19:14-16) Luke 3:23 states that Jesus was around 30 years old when he began his three and a half-year mission, indicating that he was born in the early fall of 2 BCE.
Why is Christmas on December 25?
Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25 since there is no proof that Jesus Christ was born on that day? What is the significance of this day in the Christian calendar? According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, church officials most likely picked the date “to correspond with the pagan Roman celebration celebrating the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun,'” which took place around the time of the winter solstice in December. Many experts, according to The Encyclopedia Americana, feel that this was done “in order to make Christianity more significant to pagan converts.”
Do We Know When and What Year Jesus Was Born?
When Jesus was born is an essential objective topic, and one that should be asked. Perhaps, though, it is not as significant as the question I shall raise at the conclusion of this piece, which is a subjective one. In the meanwhile, my investigation into the birth of Jesus has left me with a charming feeling of curiosity about the question—in order to acquire an answer, there is a great deal of flexibility that must be acknowledged.
What I’ve loved learning is how hard we humans have tried through many years of time counting and building a calendar in order both to get the answer right about when Jesus was born and to provide the foundation for Christian anticipation.
Was Jesus Born 0 B.C?
To begin with, Jesus was not born within the year zero of the calendar. This is due to the fact that there was no Year Zero. There can’t possibly be a Year Zero, logically speaking. Take into consideration the month and day of your birth. In my instance, the deadline is October 30. If I were to become so significant that the world’s calendar were to be based on October 30, the 365 days BEFORE my birth would be referred to as 1 B.D. (the final year before Dikkon) and the 365 days AFTER my birth would be referred to as 1 A.D.
- There isn’t enough space for a Year Z.D.
- Moreover, we would all count backward in the period of B.D., whereas we would all count forward in the age of AD.
- He is so significant that the world’s calendar is based on the year he was born: B.C.
- (anno domini – “in the year of our Lord”).
- However, it was deemed significant because it was the year in which the Holy Trinity began the final step of its plan to redeem fallen mankind and restore paradise in the New Jerusalem, marking the beginning of the final stage of redemption and restoration of paradise.
- Jesus was born one year ago today.
- His Resurrection followed three days later, ensuring that all who trust in His glory will be redeemed by God.
- It has the potential to determine eternal existence.
- In reality, the year of Jesus’ birth only serves to set the stage for the series of events that we refer to as Christ’s passion and our salvation.
- The most important piece of knowledge derived from calendar studies for early Christians was determining the day on which they were to celebrate Easter each year, which was essential for their worship.
When Did Christians Date the Birth of Jesus at Christmas?
Many early Christian fathers, in fact, were opposed to the celebration of Christmas in any form at all. Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 180 A.D.—c. 250 A.D.) did not establish the date of Christmas until what we now call the year 221 A.D., which corresponds to the year 221 A.D. Sextus used the Bible as one of his primary sources to compile a massive 5-volume chronology of holy and secular time that covered the period from the start of the world, which he put in 5499 B.C., through the year of his book’s release in 221.
- Several modern theologians answered with a resounding “so what?” Pagans are the ones who commemorate the birth of their heroes.
- Christians aren’t very concerned with the birthdays of our saints, and certainly not with the birth of Jesus.
- While everyone is born, not everyone is martyred—and no one has ever been martyred like the God-man, Jesus Christ, who was martyred on the cross.
- As a result, it disclosed the entirety of God’s redemptive plan—it unveiled the empyrean and made provision for the salvation of all believing humans.
- We Christians believe that human life is just that: a transitional period of time.
If we are fortunate enough to be granted the opportunity of martyrdom, it is possible that our death may be remembered for a long period of time following. Our actual birth date is of far less significance.
Calculating the Year of Jesus’ Birth
A man of our current technical age, I am used to time being measured by instruments that we assume to be perfectly objective—atomic clocks, for example—and I find this to be rather comforting. However, it was not the way time was measured back in the day when I was growing up. When time was measured by rival calendars, it was based on the observation of the solar and lunar cycles in the sky, as well as on references to legendary events and political or religious truths. Today, time is calculated by digital clocks.
- For the sake of this statement, the term “Roman year” (abbreviated AUC) refers to the time since the establishment of Rome, ” ab urbe condita “).
- Following that, a new calendar, the Julian calendar, was established by decree of Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.
- Following the conquest of Republican Rome by Julius Caesar and the establishment of Imperial Rome, years were counted from the date on which the then emperor was elevated to absolute authority, with a given event occurring “in the sixteenth year of Caesar Augustus’ rule,” for example.
- Dionysius Exiguus, a monk with a mathematical mind and a member of the Roman Curia, is credited with inventing the notion of the year A.D.
- As far as he’s concerned, Christian time should have dominated Romulus-and-Remus time, so he counted backward 525 years from the year in which he was making his calculation to “the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ”.or to the year in which our Lord was born, A.D 1.
- Evidently, Dionysius stipulated that whatever indications he would otherwise have discovered in some calendars should not be included since they indicated a specific emperor who persecuted Christians and whom Dionysius desired to be removed from the record was to be avoided.
- It’s possible that Dionysius put his own year twenty-five years after the predicted end of the world on purpose.
- And, in any case, Easter was the event he wanted people to pay attention to.
- and set the year A.D.
- Since then, we’ve had to deal with the prevailing hinge in our lives.
The Conclusion for Answering What Year was Jesus Born
By 731 and later, it was evident that there had been a year known as A.D. 1, and that this was the year in question. It’s self-evident that this is the solution to our inquiry. Jesus was born in the year A.D. 1, which was the first year of the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. But don’t get your hopes up just yet. There is an alternate strategy of approaching the truth. Let us have a look at what the Bible and Roman history have to say about this. Matthew 2:1 informs us that Jesus was born “during the time of King Herod” the Great, which means that he was born during his rule.
- Herod, who was vicious enough to have murdered two of his wives and three of his sons when he suspected they were plotting against him, ordered the murder of all male children in and around Bethlehem “who are two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16), according to the Bible.
- In order for the Magi to have had enough time to travel and describe to Herod how old the infant who was born at the time of the star must now be, one can deduce that Jesus had to have been born approximately one or two years before the date of Herod’s death.
- Once again, adaptability is required.
- There’s more to it than that.
- 29 (although there is some wiggle room there, too, because Roman historians usually—but not always—dated the emperor’s accession to absolute power as of the first January 1 after he gained power).
- But how long will it be after that?
- Is it a year?
- When we need to count backwards toward a specific birth year, what exactly does “approximately thirty years old” mean when we’re under time pressure to do so?
I’ve left out several additional lines of inquiry for the sake of simplicity and space constraints, but the general agreement among scholars today (including the majority of church fathers) appears to be something like this: Christ was most likely born in the second or third year before Christ.
There are researchers from a variety of religious traditions other than Christianity—including the religion of atheism—who are opposed to the idea that the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ should be the basis for international chronology.
(Common Era) and B.C.E.
Even though the initials are more general, the essential event is the same: the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
We’re getting closer to a definitive answer, but we’re not quite there yet.
Perhaps he wants us to focus our attention on something other than a certain day in the future.
He is calling us to Himself.
So, what year did Jesus come into the world?
May He, through His death on the cross at Easter, redeem and rescue us for all time.
They have four grown children and five grandchildren, who keep them busy.
Eberhart writes memoirs in order to aid individuals who desire a stronger relationship with God.
Article is part of our largerChristmas and Advent resource library, which is based on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ and includes a variety of other resources.
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There are 5 things you should know about Bethlehem. The Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth, as well as Scripture verses What the Gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Were for Baby Jesus Bible Verses for ChristmasScripture History Photograph courtesy of Thinkstock/Kevron2001