December 24, 2010

John J. Miller of National Review Online has written this interesting piece on the Bethlehem star. According to asrtronomer Michael Molnar, it was the planet Jupiter appearing under the sign of Aries and rising in the east on the morning of April 17, 6 B.C. that got three wise guys’ attention:

Molnar described a few initial ideas about the Star of Bethlehem in an article for Sky and Telescope magazine. He thought his involvement would end there. Then the dean of historical astronomy called him. “I’d read articles and books by Owen Gingerich of Harvard University, but we’d never spoken,” says Molnar. “His call came completely out of the blue, and he said he thought I was really onto something. This encouraged me to do more research.”

He worked on the question for five years, studying Greek versions of the Bible and the writings of Roman astronomers. “Today we know Jupiter is a planet, but to the ancient astronomers it was an important star, and it was linked to the birth of kings,” says Molnar. The position of other planets, plus the sun and the moon, also carried special meanings. Today, astronomers and astrologers are very different sorts of people. Twenty centuries ago, however, there wasn’t a distinction.

Working on a computer, Molnar learned that the morning of April 17, 6 B.C. contained all the elements he was looking for: Jupiter rose in the east, in the sign of Aries the ram. Joining it in Aries were the sun, the moon, and Saturn — events that would have added to the moment’s extraordinary significance for the ancients.

“The basic elements of this event occur once every 60 years — in other words, once a lifetime,” says Molnar.

But there’s more: Mars and Mercury weren’t in Aries, and they also weren’t in positions that would have wrecked the divine interpretation. Mars is notorious for upending astrological events by showing up in the wrong part of the sky when everything else is in seeming alignment.

“If you think like an ancient astronomer would have thought, this event would have been extraordinarily exciting,” says Molnar.

The account describing the Star of Bethlehem is contained wholly within the Gospel of Matthew — the other gospels don’t mention it at all — lending credence to the idea that the star didn’t light up the night sky like a 4th of July fireworks display. A close reading of the Bible suggests that nobody saw the star but the wise men, which may be a way of saying that only the wise men had the astrological knowledge necessary for interpreting the events of April 17 the way they did.

Many Biblical scholars believe the birth of Jesus probably occurred between 8 B.C. and 4 B.C. The event Molnar describes took place in 6 B.C. — “right smack dab in the middle,” he says.

It’s a very interesting column, read the whole thing.

In keeping with my Beach Boys Christmas theme from yesterday, let’s move up a decade. Here’s a quirky little ditty from 1974 that received little airplay, and a moody Dennis Wilson contribution to their planned 1978 Christmas album that never saw the light of day until released on CD twenty years later.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:21 | Comments (0)
No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


Search The Site

Recent Items


January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info