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The Star of Bethlehem

Colin Humphreys
S & CB 5 (2)
October 1993

Abstract

Evidence from the Bible and astronomy suggests that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet which was visible in 5 BC, and described in ancient Chinese records. A comet uniquely fits the description In Matthew of a star which newly appeared, which travelled slowly through the sky against the star background and which ‘stood over’ Bethlehem. The evidence points to Jesus being born in the period 9 March-4 May, 5 BC, probably around Passover time: 13-27 April, 5 BC. Birth in the spring is consistent with the account in Luke that there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flock by night. Birth in 5 BC also throws light upon the problem of the census of Caesar Augustus. A new chronology of the life of Christ is given which is consistent with the available evidence. This chronology suggests that Christ died close to his 37th birthday.

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