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When was Jesus born?
by Louie Parsons
2006-12-27 08:07:48
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The calendar that we use today is based on the one that Julius Caesar decreed on January 1, 45 B.C. that starts from the founding of Rome in the 1st century B.C. In the sixth century, Dio nysius Exiguus, a monk, proposed that the Christian era be made to commence on a date of unquestioned religious significance, the supposed date of the birth of Jesus Christ.

With this system, the B.C. and A.D. sequences began. Recently, however, BC or Before Christ, was changed to BCE, or Before the Christian Era, and A.D. (Anno Domini, in the year of the Lord) became CE, or Christian Era. I shall be using the new markers in this column.

The exact date of Jesus' birth could have been established if we knew for certain how old he was when he was crucified because on that day there was a lunar eclipse that the British historian, Colin Humphreys, dated Friday, April 3, 33 CE.

Sadly we don't know how old Jesus was when he was crucified. Some say that he was "about thirty" and another that he "was not yet fifty." The Bible remains the principal source of clues.

Jesus was born during the reign of Augustus Caesar, 44 BCE to 14 CE. Matthew and Luke in their Gospels said that Jesus was born during the regency of Herod the Great who died in the spring of 4 BCE. But there are also records that show that Herod died in 5 BCE, 1 BCE and 1 CE. He was succeeded by Herod Antipas (21 BCE-39 CE). During this period Jesus was active as a preacher and miracle worker.

We know from Matthew (2:16) that "Herod . . . killed all children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under. . . ." This implies that Jesus was born at least two years before Herod's death.

Still another clue is a reference in Luke (2:1-7) to a census that drove Joseph and Mary (who was "great with child") to Bethlehem. The census was supposed to have been ordered by Augustus and carried out by Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, the governor of Syria.

There's no official record of such a census. Furthermore, when Quirinius became governor in 6 CE Herod the Great was already dead. Finally, the census that Quirinius conducted in 6-7 CE was for Judaea and not for Galilee.

The other official censuses were done in 28 BCE, 8 BCE, and 14 CE and were only for Roman citizens. The only census that coincides more or less to the presumed date of Jesus's birth was a "census of allegiance" to Augustus. The only reference to this is by Orosius, a fifth-century historian. From all this, it would seen that Jesus was born sometime between 4 and 7 BCE.

Was it in December? Not likely. Luke said: "There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night." Shepherds watch over their flocks during the lambing season in the spring, in the summer when they are grazing, and in the fall when they are herded to new pastures. In the winter-and December is the dead of winter-they are brought indoors for safekeeping and to heat the homes of the shepherds.

Michael Molnar, a scholar at Rutgers University, boldly asserted from historical, astronomical and astrological evidence that "Jesus would have been 2,000 years old on April 17, 1995."

Christmas in April will be a tough sell.

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Amin George2006-12-23 11:21:11
Did the same author write the story in The Sunday Times?

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