The Star of Bethlehem (2007 film)
The Star of Bethlehem is a 2007 documentary by Frederick A. "Rick" Larson to show what he found when he searched for clues about the Star of Bethlehem. Larson used the Starry Night astronomy computer program along with an article written by astronomer Craig Chester; based in part on the work of Ernest Martin. Larson also used details from the Christian Bible to find nine data points about the Star of Bethlehem which, according to the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, stopped over Bethlehem, bringing the Magi to Jesus.
Larson's interest in the Star of Bethlehem began when he needed to make a Christmas Star to accompany his Magi lawn ornaments he had made to be Christmas decorations, but did not know what the Star of Bethlehem was and needed to learn more.
As a lawyer, Larson examined the text of Matthew, finding nine pieces of evidence in the nativity passage. The Star’s nine data points are that it signified birth, it signified kingship, it was related to the Jewish nation, and it "rose in the East"; it was not known to Herod the Great; it appeared at a specific time; it endured over time; it was before the Magi as they traveled south to Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and then, according to the Bible, it stopped over the city of Bethlehem.
Using astronomy software to return to the skies over Judea by using Johannes Kepler's math to calculate positions of celestial objects, Larson thinks he found all nine elements found in the book of Matthew. He also believes that the Star of Bethlehem, is Jupiter, a wandering star, and it stopped over Bethlehem during its retrograde motion on December 25, 2 BC. Larson believes King Herod the Great died in 1 BC, although almost all other experts, including astronomer David Hughes and astronomer Michael Molnar, believe Herod died in 4 BC. (In Molnar's book, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi, he documents Jesus' birth as Saturday [Sabbath] April 17, 6 BC due to a triple conjunction in Aries.)
Once Larson found what he thinks is the time of Jesus Christ's birth, he looked for signs appearing in the heavens at possible times that fit the Passover, and believes the date of the Christ's (Messiah's) crucifixion was April 3, 33 AD on the Gregorian calendar. He also thinks he found astronomical phenomena related to a vision in the Book of Revelation.
Frederick Larson wrote the screenplay to The Star of Bethlehem and was co-executive producer along with Stephen McEveety. McEveety co-produced The Passion of the Christ, which won 22 awards including the People's Choice Award, the ASCAP Top Box Office Films Award, and an Academy Award for best cinematography. McEveety also co-produced Braveheart, which won 30 awards, including five Academy Awards, and whose films also include The Man Without a Face, Immortal Beloved, We Were Soldiers, and Payback. Stephen Vidano directed this film and Julie Davison Larson composed its music.
Larson released this documentary in 2007 (63 minutes) and in 2009 (65 minutes). It received five Doves from the Dove Foundation, which considered the film acceptable for all ages. Christian Cinema reviewer Angela Walker wrote, "The Star of Bethlehem doesn't have an MPAA rating, but the nature of the subject would probably earn it a PG for thematic elements (that being the birth of Jesus Christ)."
- Chester, Craig. "The Star of Bethlehem". Imprimis. December 1993, 22(12). Originally presented at Hillsdale College during fall 1992. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Chester, Craig. "The Star of Bethlehem". Imprimis. Reprinted December 1996 with editorial changes. 25(12). PDF; scroll to December 1996 and click. Originally printed 1993. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Scripps Howard News Service. "Astronomer Analyzes The Star Of Bethlehem". The Chicago Tribune. December 24, 1993. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Martin, Ernest. 1991 The Star that Astonished the World. ASK Publications. Free to read for personal study online. Other uses prohibited. Retrieved on December 23, 2015. ISBN 9780945657880
- Matthew chapter 2 on Bible Gateway. Amplified Version including footnotes. Retrieved on December 22, 2015.
- Ireland, Michael. "Evidence emerges for Star of Bethlehem’s reality". Assist News Service. Christian Headlines. October 18, 2007. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Lawton, Kim. "Christmas star debate gets its due on epiphany". USA Today.com. January 5, 2008. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Christian Cinema. "The Star of Bethlehem: A Magnificent Obsession". Frederick Larson interview. November 24, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2015
- Rick Larson’s Biography. Christian Book Previews. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
- Herzog, Travis. "Did the Star of Bethlehem exist?" abc13 Eyewitness News. December 20, 2007.] Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Matthew chapter 2, verse 2 on Bible Hub. Scroll down for commentaries. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Matthew chapter 2, verse 3 on Bible Hub. Scroll down for commentaries. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Matthew chapter 2, verse 7 on Bible Hub. Includes commentaries. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Matthew chapter 2, verses 2-10 on Bible Hub. Entire chapter with commentaries. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Gospel of Matthew chapter 2 verse 9 on Bible Hub. with commentaries. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Matthew chapter 2, verse 10 on Bible Hub. Includes commentaries. Retrieved on April 20, 2016.
- Messecar, Cathy. "The Star Project recreates biblical astronomy". Your Houston News. December 17, 2004. Retrieved on December 22, 2015.
- Larson, Frederick. "A coronation". Retrieved December 22, 2015
- Larson, Frederick. "To stop a star". Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- Read, Amanda. "The day the Star stopped: Understanding Christmas". Communities Digital News. December 16, 2014. Retrieved on April 1, 2016.
- Ellis, Rebecca. "Star of Wonder". BBC News. Site page last updated on December 23, 2008, on retrieval date. Retrieved on December 23, 2016.
- Foust, Michael. "Bethlehem Star: both natural & miraculous?". Baptist Press. December 14, 2007. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
- Gregorian calendar on Time and Date. Retrieved on December 23, 2015
- Morefield, Kenneth R. Review, The Star of Bethlehem (2007). Christianity Today. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
- Revelation 12:1 on BibleHub A "woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet" Larson thinks is related to the constellation Virgo the Virgin. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
- Southern, Nathan. Review summary and credits for The Star of Bethlehem (2007). The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
- The Passion of the Christ awards and nominations. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
- Braveheart awards and nominations. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
- Filmography of Stephen McEveety. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
- Internet Movie Database cast and crew list. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
- Carpenter, Edwin. "The Star of Bethlehem". Dove Foundation. This review is not dated. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
- Walker, Angela. "The Star of Bethlehem compels and astonishes". Christian Cinema. This review is not dated. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.