Star of Bethlehem
In Christian tradition, the Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star, revealed the birth of Jesus to the Biblical Magi, and later led them to Bethlehem. The star appears only in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew, where magi "from the east" are inspired by the star to travel to Jerusalem. There they meet King Herod of Judea, and ask where the king of the Jews has been born. Herod, following a verse from the book of Micah interpreted as a prophecy, directs them to Bethlehem, a nearby village. The star leads them to Jesus' house in Bethlehem, where they worship him, and give him gifts. The wise men are then given divine warning not to return to Herod so they return to their "own country" by a different route.
Many Christians see the star as a miraculous sign to mark the birth of the Christ (or messiah). Some theologians claimed that the star fulfilled a prophecy, known as the Star Prophecy. Astronomers have made several attempts to link the star to unusual astronomical events, such as a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, a comet or a supernova.
Many modern scholars question the historical accuracy of the story and argue that the star was a pious 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. The star often appears in representations of the manger scene found in Luke, although the star and the wise men do not appear in Luke's nativity story.
Matthew's narrative 
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 believed to be foretold in scripture. 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 scripture, interpreted as a prophecy: "Out of Egypt I called my son." This was a reference 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. After Herod died, Joseph and his family returned from Egypt, and settled in Nazareth in Galilee. This is said to be a fulfillment of, "He will be called a Nazorean," (NRSV) a prophecy of unknown origin.[nb 4]
Fulfillment of prophecy 
Astronomical phenomena were often connected to terrestrial events in ancient times. 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;And destroy all the sons of tumult.
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:
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.'"
Astronomical object 
The magi told Herod that they saw the star "in the East," "at its rising", which may imply the routine appearance of a constellation, asterism, or heliacal rising. 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 BC. 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 a 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. In the 20th century, Prof. Karlis Kaufmanis, an astronomer, argued that this was an astronomical event where Jupiter and Saturn were in a triple conjunction in the constellation Pisces.
A more likely event was an extremely close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in 2 BC, in which the two planets would have appeared to touch if viewed through a sufficiently advanced telescope, had any such existed at that time.
Other writers suggest that the star was a comet. Halley's Comet was visible in 12 BC and another object, possibly a comet or nova, was seen by Chinese and Korean stargazers in about 5 BC. 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). However, this is generally thought unlikely as in ancient times comets were generally seen as bad omens.
A recent hypothesis is 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.
Astrological events 
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'.
In 3–2 BC, there was a series of seven conjunctions, including three between Jupiter and Regulus and the strikingly close conjunction between Jupiter and Venus near Regulus on June 17, 2 BC. "The fusion of two planets would have been a rare and awe-inspiring event", according to Roger Sinnott. This event however occurred after the generally accepted date of 4 BC 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. It also does not fit with an event seen at rising that might have started them on the journey.
Astronomer Michael R. Molnar has proposed a link between the Star of Bethlehem and a double occultation of Jupiter by the moon on March 20 and April 17 of 6 BC in Aries, particularly the second occultation on April 17. The events were 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 5]
Pious fiction 
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 a pious fiction; there are several aspects of Matthew's account which give reason to doubt that an actual historical event is being portrayed. Why would a star be needed to guide the Magi from Jerusalem, 10 kilometers down a road, to Bethlehem? 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 6] 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 present his birth as the fulfillment of prophecy.
Matthew's description of the miracles and portents attending the birth of Jesus can be compared to stories concerning the birth of Augustus (63 BC).[nb 7] 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 AD 66, 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.
Religious interpretations 
Eastern Orthodoxy 
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:
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" Matt 2:9. Sometimes the faint image of an angel is drawn inside the aureola.
Mormons believe that the Star of Bethlehem was an actual astronomical event visible the world over. In the Book of Mormon, which they believe contains writings of ancient prophets, Samuel the Lamanite prophesies that a new star will appear as a sign that Jesus has been born, and Nephi later writes about the fulfillment of this prophecy. Mormons also believe that the Star is symbolic of the light that Jesus Christ brought into the world.
Jehovah's Witnesses 
Among Jehovah's Witnesses the Star of Bethlehem is seen as a product of Satan, rather than a sign from God, since the star led the astrologers to Jerusalem where they met King Herod's plan to kill Jesus.
Seventh-day Adventist 
In the book Desire of Ages by Ellen White, she states "The wise men had seen a mysterious light in the heaven upon that night when the glory of God flooded the hills of Bethlehem. As the light faded, a luminous star appeared, and lingered in the sky. It was not a fixed star nor a planet, and the phenomenon excited the keenest interest. That star was a distant company of shining angels, but of this the wise men were ignorant." 
Determining the year Jesus was born 
If the story of the star was inspired by an actual event, it might identify the year Jesus was born. According to Josephus, Herod died after a lunar eclipse, usually identified as the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC. The Gospel of Matthew describes the birth of Jesus as taking place when Herod was king. The narrative implies that Jesus was born sometime between the first appearance of the star and the appearance of the Magi at Herod's court; that the king is said to have ordered the execution of boys two years of age and younger implies that the star made its appearance within the preceding two years. The Gospel of Luke, on the other hand, while it implies that the birth took place when Herod was alive, places it during the census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria, nine years after Herod died.
Depiction in art 
Paintings and other pictures of the Adoration of the Magi may include a depiction of the star in some form. In the fresco by Giotto di Bondone, it is depicted as a comet. In the tapestry of the subject designed by Edward Burne-Jones (and in the related watercolour), the star is held by an angel.
Popular Culture 
A distant space ship comes across a super-nova that was calculated to have occurred in approximately 3,000BC, at a distace of 3,000 light-years. A well-developed civilization was eradicated by the super-nova and one of the astronauts, who was also a priest, had a crisis of faith about why God would let such a civilization die to herald the birth of Christ. Another astronaut shows him a recording from that civilization populace stating that they realized they were at the peak of their time and had to make way for a new people. They had left their art and music behind as a legacy to the future generations.
Christmas carols 
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,Guide us to thy perfect light.
Westward leading, still proceeding,
O morning stars, together,
Proclaim the holy birth.
See also 
- Matthew 2:11. 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 2:5–6. Matthew's version is a conflation of Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2.
- Matthew 2:16 This is presented as a fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:15 and echoes the killing of firstborn by pharaoh in Exodus 11:1–12:36.
- Judges 13:5–7 is sometimes identified as the source for Matthew 2:23 because 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 Acts 25:5, 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 Isaiah 11:1. (Bromiley, Geoffrey W., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, pp. 499–500.) Mark uses the more regular form Ναζαρηνός (Nazarene, of Nazareth). (Mark 14:67)
- 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).
- A Christmas Star for SOHO, NASA, archived from the original on December 24, 2004, retrieved 2008-07-04
- Matthew 2:1–2
- Matthew 2:11–12
- Freed, Edwin D. (2001), The Stories of Jesus' Birth: A Critical Introduction, Continuum International, p. 93, ISBN 0-567-08046-3
- "Star of Bethlehem." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
- "Jesus was born in June", The Daily Telegraph (London), 2008-12-09, retrieved 2011-12-14
- 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).
- John, Mosley. "Common Errors in 'Star of Bethlehem' Planetarium Shows". Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- Ratti, John, First Sunday after the Epiphany, retrieved 2008-06-05
- Brown, Raymond Edward (1988). An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories, Liturgical Press, p. 11 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2; Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Eerdmans (2000), p. 844.
- Matthew 2:2. New Revised Standard Version.
- Matthew 2:1–4 New King James Version (1982).
- Thomas G. Long, Matthew (Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), p. 18.
- Matthew 2:4.
- Matthew 2:8.
- Matthew 2:7–10.
- Matthew 2:11
- Matthew 2:12.
- Matthew 2:13–14
- Matthew 2:15 The original is from Hosea 11:1.
- "An Exodus motif prevails in the entire chapter." (Kennedy, Joel (2008), Recapitulation of Israel, Mohr Siebeck, p. 132, ISBN 978-3-16-149825-1, retrieved 2009-07-04)
- Matthew 2:10–21
- Matthew 2:23
- Vermes, Geza (December 2006), "The First Christmas", History Today 56 (12): 23–29, retrieved 2009-07-04
- Numbers 24:17
- Josephus, Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, retrieved 2008-06-07 Translated by: William Whiston.
Lendering, Jona, Messianic claimants, retrieved 2008-06-05
- Adamantius, Origen. "Contra Celsum". Retrieved 2008-06-05., Book I, Chapter LIX.
- Adamantius, Origen. "Contra Celsum".. Book I, Chapter LX.
- France, R.T., The Gospel according to Matthew: an introduction and commentary, p. 84. See Isaiah 60:1–7 and Psalms 72:10.
- Isaiah 60:6
- Isaiah 60:6 (Septuagint)
- Schaff, Philip (1886), St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., p. 36, retrieved 2013-04-27
- Matthew 2:2
- Nolland, John (2005), The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 109, ISBN 0-8028-2389-0
- Mark, Kidger. "Chinese and Babylonian Observations". Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- Minnesota Astronomy Review Volume 18 – Fall 2003/2004 "The Star of Bethlehem by Karlis Kaufmanis".
- Audio Version of Star of Bethlehem by Karlis Kaufmanis "The Star of Bethlehem by Karlis Kaufmanis".
- Kidger, Mark (2005), Astronomical Enigmas: Life on Mars, the Star of Bethlehem, and Other Milky Way Mysteries, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 60
- "Exploring the evidence about the star that marked history". Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- Colin Humphreys, 'The Star of Bethlehem', in Science and Christian Belief 5 (1995), 83–101.
- 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. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- Mark Kidger, Astronomical Enigmas: Life on Mars, the Star of Bethlehem, and Other Milky Way Mysteries, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), p. 61.
- 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), pp. 111–112.
- 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, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 63, ISBN 0-8018-8026-2
- Molnar, Michael R. (1999), The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi, Rutgers University Press, pp. 86, 89, 106–107, ISBN 0-8135-2701-5, retrieved 2009-07-04
- Kidger, Mark (December 5, 2001), "The Star of Bethlehem", Cambridge Conference Correspondence, retrieved 2007-07-04
- Stenger, Richard (December 27, 2001), "Was Christmas star a double eclipse of Jupiter?", CNN, retrieved 2009-07-04
- For a similar interpretation, see Minnesota Astronomy Review Volume 18 – Fall 2003/2004 "The Star of Bethlehem by Karlis Kaufmanis".
- Simo Parpola, "The Magi and the Star," Bible Review, December 2001, pp. 16–23, 52, and 54.
- Markus Bockmuehl, This Jesus (Continuum International, 2004), p. 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, 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, retrieved 2009-07-04
- Mark 6:1–4
- See John 1:46, John 7:41–42, and John 7:52.
- 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), pp. 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 Micah 5:2.
- Nolland, p. 110.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History, II vi 28.
- Matthew 2:12
- "Hymns of the Feast". Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 2009.
- “Birth of the Messiah,” Ensign, Dec. 1997
- Helaman 14:5 3 Nephi 1:21
- “The Star, the Savior, and Your Heart,” New Era, Dec. 2006
- Awake! July 8, 1994, pp. 6–7 / www.watchtower.org
- Desire of Ages, pp. 60. http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=DA&lang=en&collection=2§ion=4&pagenumber=60&QUERY=company+of+shining+angels&resultId=1
- Josephus, Antiquities XVII:7:4.
- 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 E., "When Did Herod the Great Reign?", Novum Testamentum, Volume 51, Number 1, 2009 , pp. 1–29. Steinmann concludes that Herod most likely reigned until 1 BC.
- Matthew 2:1
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Star of Bethlehem|
- Larson, Frederick A. What Was the Star?
- Consolmagno S.J., Guy (2010) Looking for a star or Coming to Adore?
- 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's Comet in AD 66.
- Griffith Observatory, a video on the star presented on MSNBC's Mysteries of the Universe.
- Star of Bethlehem Bibliography. Provides an extensive bibliography with Web links to online sources.
- Gill, Victoria: Star of Bethlehem: the astronomical explanations and Reading the Stars by Helen Jacobus http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20730828 with link to, Jacobus, Helen, Ancient astrology: how sages read the heavens/ Did the heavens predict a king? http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/20786572
- Crudele, Michele: Bethlehem, Star of, Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science, 2002
- Merrifield, Michael; Watts, Peter; Haeussler, Boris; Garvey, Seamus (2009). "The Star of Bethlehem". Sixty Symbols. Brady Haran for the University of Nottingham.
Life of Jesus: The Nativity
Infant Jesus at the Temple
Visit of the Wise Men