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Thread: September 11th: Happy Birthday Jesus?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Awesome! Yeah, I really like that book, and I'm kicking myself that I can't find it. It's so helpful.
    Well he has a book by book study on line: https://www.thenarrowpath.com/verse_by_verse.php

    BTW my son created and maintains his site...
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Well he has a book by book study on line: https://www.thenarrowpath.com/verse_by_verse.php

    BTW my son created and maintains his site...
    Oh wow! That's fantastic. Tell your son I said thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Oh wow! That's fantastic. Tell your son I said thanks!
    I will, thanks!!!!
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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  6. #34
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    The sun isn't the star of Bethlehem, if that's what you're getting at. Heiser believes that the star of Bethelehem was "Jupiter in its retrograde motion." Again from the transcript of the podcast,

    Back again to the subject matter, let's talk about Jupiter. Again, we have a Jupiter/Regulus conjunction in Leo. Jupiter is important because it is... You can read a lot of astronomers here, but the best explanation for the "star" of Matthew 2 (whose perceived movement was tracked by the Magi) is related to Jupiter. Jupiter is well-known for what astronomers call "retrograde motion," the appearance of movement back and forth in the night sky. Jupiter's first conjunction with Regulus began on September 14, 3 B.C. (the year that we're talking about here) and it continued through September 11, 3 B.C. Then on December 1 of 3 B.C., Jupiter stopped its normal course through the fixed stars and began its annual retrogression (or backward motion). In doing so, it once again headed toward the star Regulus. Then on February 17 of 2 B.C., the two were reunited. So it's moving around a lot between 3 B.C. and 2 B.C.

    Astronomers have known this for a long time. The perception of Jupiter's movement for just about everybody who kind of tracks on this thing is the best explanation for the star in Matthew 2. You have all this going on just before the Messiah is actually born and then on into the time when the Magi are going to start their journey. It takes quite a while to get to Bethlehem, so during that whole interval of time, Jupiter is doing stuff. This just becomes the best candidate for what the Magi saw in reference to Matthew 2. The timing is right, the Magi embark on their journey a year or so after Jesus was actually born, and this is what they're looking at. I have another footnote here about the terminology in Matthew 2:11:

    In Matthew 2:11, where the child Jesus is referred to with the Greek term paidion, as opposed to brephos in Luke 1:41. While the former can be used of an infant or toddler, the latter is only used of newborn infants or children in utero. [MH: see reference in the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology.] Martin (Ch. 5) points out that the account in the New Testament said the Magi saw the star rising above the eastern horizon [MH: because they’re at a location east of Jerusalem]. And in August 12, 3 B.C., Jupiter rose as a morning star which soon came into conjunction with Venus. If the Magi began their own journey toward Jerusalem near this time, this apparent westward motion of Jupiter each day could have indicated to the Magi to proceed in the same westward direction toward Jerusalem. Martin follows this by noting that the Magi could have been “following” Jupiter in the example it was setting. The Bible says the star “went ahead of them.” Upon reaching Jerusalem the Magi were told to look toward Bethlehem for the newborn king. [MH: Or they could have known Micah 5:2, but they probably don’t know that because they ask Herod where they could find the king of the Jews. It just depends how you take the conversation, what you think they knew and didn’t know. Are they being cryptic or poking for information? You can read it different ways.] This occurred when the New Testament says the “star” came to a halt in the heavens (Matt. 2:9). Jupiter stopped its motion and “stood over where the young child was.” In a word, the celestial body became stationary. Martin references Kittel’s theological dictionary for this point. In commenting on the passive form of the Greek word for the star’s behavior (ἐστάθη) Kittel quotes from A. Schlatter’s [German] Kommentar z. Matthäusev (1929): “In distinction from ἔστη, ἐστάθη implies that the star is halted.”

    Again, you can look that up if you have Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. So Martin has done some homework here. He's not just making it up. But he's aligning the language quite coherently with the behavior of Jupiter. That brings us to the point where we've talked about the sign of Revelation 12, the signs that John gives us. If you're looking at the sky then, you have these other things going on, and I've narrowed our discussion to the Jupiter/Regulus conjunction in Leo. (Again, Martin has more if you want it.) That gives us a birth of Jesus on September 11, 3 B.C. However, that date was also the Day of Trumpets and it has a connection to Noah's Flood.


    (note he also addresses OBP's comment here as well)
    (an argument from silence isn't especially persuasive)

    I'll note that the argument advanced here is hardly supportive of September 11 (or any particular day) as the date of Christ's birth; he's arguing from his conclusion. It's also rather hard to follow who's saying what in that indented paragraph; it looks like MH is speaking throughout, but only explicitly identified as speaking in the bold sections?
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    (an argument from silence isn't especially persuasive)
    Which argument are you referring to? If you're referring to the Magi knowing Micah 5:2, I think the only "argument" Heiser is making is a deductive one, a sort of flippant one at that since he apparently leans heavier against them NOT knowing it. It's not integral to the rest of the thesis, and this isn't a commentary or published work on the subject, but simply an aside on a Podcast.

    What we know is that the The Magi appear to know something about the birth of the king of the Jews. Likely they know Isaiah 7:14 at least, but even if not, that still doesn't effect the thesis much.

    As an aside, Dr. Heiser is pretty decent with contemporary scholarly sources. I don't know where he's getting the statement about "depending on how you read it, they could have known about Micah 5:2 [paraphrased]," but I'm almost certain it's something he picked up from a source like Malina, or Keener, or some other New Testament social-commentarian. If I had to guess, the logic probably goes something like this, the Magi are traveling in a caravan too large not to be noticed, and it makes sense to head towards Jerusalem and visit Herod on their way to Bethlehem. Matthew is painting Herod and the chief priests and experts of the law (who Jesus will engage with in the following generation) as the enemy. It becomes a challenge/riposte sort of thing between the Gentile Magi and the Jewish priests, who recognize the prophetic significance of Micah 5:2 yet apparently do not follow the Magi to find the king.

    Or not. Like I said, it's not that important to the overall thesis.

    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I'll note that the argument advanced here is hardly supportive of September 11 (or any particular day) as the date of Christ's birth; he's arguing from his conclusion.
    I'm not sure I follow. Why do you think someone would randomly pick Sept. 11th 3 BC as the day Jesus was born unless they thought that the evidence led to that date?

    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    It's also rather hard to follow who's saying what in that indented paragraph; it looks like MH is speaking throughout, but only explicitly identified as speaking in the bold sections?
    Yeah, I can see how it's a little confusing. It really helps to listen to the podcast, which this is a transcript of. In this particular citation he's quoting a blog post he wrote (which I believe has since disappeared) that he has now archived in a link to the Naked Bible Newsletter. In the audio, he's reading his own material on the subject, and interjecting at points. This podcast was created before he published his book Reversing Hermon where he goes into the subject in print. I don't have Reversing Hermon, so I'm relying on some of his online material. Sorry for the confusion.
    Last edited by Adrift; 09-12-2019 at 03:32 PM.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Which argument are you referring to? If you're referring to the Magi knowing Micah 5:2, I think the only "argument" Heiser is making is a deductive one, a sort of flippant one at that since he apparently leans heavier against them NOT knowing it. It's not integral to the rest of the thesis, and this isn't a commentary or published work on the subject, but simply an aside on a Podcast.
    I'm referring to this one in particular: "It just depends how you take the conversation, what you think they knew and didn’t know. Are they being cryptic or poking for information? You can read it different ways."
    What we know is that the The Magi appear to know something about the birth of the king of the Jews. Likely they know Isaiah 7:14 at least, but even if not, that still doesn't effect the thesis much.
    Sure.
    As an aside, Dr. Heiser is pretty decent with contemporary scholarly sources. I don't know where he's getting the statement about "depending on how you read it, they could have known about Micah 5:2 [paraphrased]," but I'm almost certain it's something he picked up from a source like Malina, or Keener, or some other New Testament social-commentarian. If I had to guess, the logic probably goes something like this, the Magi are traveling in a caravan too large not to be noticed, and it makes sense to head towards Jerusalem and visit Herod on their way to Bethlehem. Matthew is painting Herod and the chief priests and experts of the law (who Jesus will engage with in the following generation) as the enemy. It becomes a challenge/riposte sort of thing between the Gentile Magi and the Jewish priests, who recognize the prophetic significance of Micah 5:2 yet apparently do not follow the Magi to find the king.

    Or not. Like I said, it's not that important to the overall thesis.
    Cool. I appreciate arguments from social science.
    I'm not sure I follow. Why do you think someone would randomly pick Sept. 11th 3 BC as the day Jesus was born unless they thought that the evidence led to that date?
    It's not random, as that's a date linked with Jupiter's conjuntction with Regulus. I just think that the link between that date and Jesus' birth is rather tenuous.
    Yeah, I can see how it's a little confusing. It really helps to listen to the podcast, which this is a transcript of. In this particular citation he's quoting a blog post he wrote (which I believe has since disappeared) that he has now archived in a link to the Naked Bible Newsletter. In the audio, he's reading his own material on the subject, and interjecting at points. This podcast was created before he published his book Reversing Hermon where he goes into the subject in print. I don't have Reversing Hermon, so I'm relying on some of his online material. Sorry for the confusion.
    Thanks.
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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    It's not random, as that's a date linked with Jupiter's conjuntction with Regulus.
    But as Heiser points out, that isn't the only date that Jupiter comes into conjunction with Regulus within the window that we'd expect Jesus to be born,

    "Jupiter's first conjunction with Regulus began on September 14, 3 B.C. (the year that we're talking about here) and it continued through September 11, 3 B.C. Then on December 1 of 3 B.C., Jupiter stopped its normal course through the fixed stars and began its annual retrogression (or backward motion). In doing so, it once again headed toward the star Regulus. Then on February 17 of 2 B.C., the two were reunited. So it's moving around a lot between 3 B.C. and 2 B.C."

    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I just think that the link between that date and Jesus' birth is rather tenuous.
    Fair enough. If you haven't already, consider checking out the podcast. I know it's long, but I feel like I didn't do a very good job of explaining things here, and it might clear up any misunderstandings that I might have inadvertently caused.

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    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    There is a lot of speculation in this theory, but one hard fact: Herod the Great was still alive when the Magi arrived, but Herod died around 5-4 BC. That alone should blow this theory to pieces.

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faber View Post
    There is a lot of speculation in this theory, but one hard fact: Herod the Great was still alive when the Magi arrived, but Herod died around 5-4 BC. That alone should blow this theory to pieces.
    This is the critique I was waiting for, because this is the one that Heiser directly addresses in the podcast. Heiser points to scholarship that posits a 1 B.C. date for the death of Herod rather than the widely accepted 4 B.C. date,

    "For recent research into how a 1 B.C. date for the death of Herod is historically coherent, see Ormond Edwards, “Herodian Chronology,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 114:1 (1982): 29-42; Andrew Steinmann, “When Did Herod the Great Reign?” Novum Testamentum 51 (2009):1-29. The former article focuses on numismatic (coins) evidence for reconsidering how Herod’s dates are calculated and understood. The latter casts a wider net for data leading to a 1 B.C. death while also chronicling problems with the 4 B.C. consensus."

    I've found a number of other scholarly resources that suggest a 1 B.C. date of death besides these as well. I don't think the articles referenced above are easily found online, but if you'd like a pdf copy of them, let me know and I'll send it in a PM.
    Last edited by Adrift; 09-14-2019 at 11:00 AM.

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    Several key dates in Herod’s life need to be reviewed: The year when Octavian (Augustus) and Marc Antony set him up to be king of Judea, what year he actually defeated the usurper Antigonus II Matthias and conquered Jerusalem, and the beginning and end of the ten year reign of his son Archelaeus over Jerusalem. Let’s start with the following chronology:

    * 47 BC: Herod was given rule as tetrarch over Galilee by Julius Caesar. (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, (Niese 14:158; Whiston xiv.9.2); War of the Jews, Book 1 (Niese 1:201-3; Whiston i.10.4).) Hyrcanus was given rule over Judea and Idumaea as Ethnarch.

    * 40 BC: Parthians invaded Judea, overthrew High Priest and King Hyrcanus II and established Antigonus as high priest and king. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 14, (Niese 14:330-51; Whiston xiv.13.3-6); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:268-9; Whiston i.13.9).)

    * 40 BC: Herod was granted authority by Octavian and Marc Antony to rule over Judea as King of the Jews, presently occupied by the Parthians. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 14, (Niese 14:386-9; Whiston xiv.14.5); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:285; Whiston i.14.4).)

    * Summer, 37 BC, Herod captured Jerusalem and assumed position as king of Judea. Antigonus was slain. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 14, (Niese 14:490; Whiston xiv.16.4); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:357; Whiston i.18.3).) It was during a Sabbatical year. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 15 (Niese 15:7; Whiston xv.1.2).)

    The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus narrows down the date in which Herod invaded Jerusalem, defeated Antigonus and took over the throne over Judea:

    This calamity befell the city of Jerusalem during the consulship at Rome of Marcus Agrippa and Cainius Gallus, in the hundred and eighty-fifth Olympiad, in the third month, on the day of the Fast.... (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 14 (Niese 14:487; Whiston xiv.16.4). Ralph Marcus, Ph.D., trans. Josephus, with an English Translation In Nine Volumes, Vol. VII (Jewish Antiquities, Books XII-XIV). (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1943; 1957) 701.)
    Ancient Rome had two ways of denoting the year. One was Ab Urbe Condita, from the foundation of the city, or A.U.C., which was 753 BC. More commonly use by Roman historians was a reference to the two consuls who were selected for a one-year term, seldom repeated for a second year. The year of the consulships of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Lucius Caninius Gallus, as mentioned above, was 37 BC. The 185th olympiad was the 185th four-year cycle counting from the first Olympic games in the summer of 776 BC, or the four year Olympic cycle from the summer of 40 BC to the summer of 36 BC. The fast referred to is the Fast of the First Born, which took place on 14 Nisan, the day immediately preceding the Passover Seder. This was probably March 17, 37 BC, during the third month of the Roman calendar.

    There was an earthquake in the spring of 31 BC. The Essene community in Qumran was devastated by the earthquake. There was also damage to Herod’s palace in Jericho, and to the Temple in Jerusalem.

    But while [Herod] was punishing his foes, he was visited by another calamity–an act of God which occurred in the seventh year of his reign, when the war of Actium was at its height. In the early spring an earthquake destroyed cattle innumerable and thirty thousand sould; but the army, being quartered in the open, escaped injury. (Josephus, War, Book 1 (Niese 1:370; Whiston i.19.3), trans. by H. St. John Thackeray, M.A. Josephus, with an English Translation In Nine Volumes, Vol. II (The Jewish War, Books I-III) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956) 173,175.)
    The date of the Battle of Actium, in which Octavian’s fleet defeated the fleets of Marc Antony and Cleopatra, is well known: September 2, 31 BC. Josephus sets the date of the earthquake around the beginning of spring of that year, placing both within the seventh year of Herod’s reign, beginning around March 27, 31 BC to March 17, 30 BC, by the Talmud's method of reckoning the New Year for Kings. This agrees with the calculated dating of the year Herod began his reign.

    Josephus makes it clear both in War of the Jews and in Antiquities of the Jews, dating the death of Herod both from the time he was authorized by Marc Antony and Octavian to rule as king of Judea, and from the time he actually conquered Antigonus and took over the throne:

    Herod survived the execution of his son but five days. He expired after a reign of thirty-four years, reckoning from the date when, after putting Antigonus to death, he assumed control of the state. (Ibid., 317. (Niese 1:665; Whiston i.33.8).)
    Having done this he died, on the fifth day after having his son Antipater killed. He had reigned for thirty-four years from the time when he had put Antigonus to death, and for thirty-seven years from the time when he had been appointed king by the Romans (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17, (Niese 17:190; Whiston xvii.8.1). Ralph Marcus, Ph.D., trans., Josephus, with an English Translation In Nine Volumes, Vol. VIII (Jewish Antiquities, Books XV-XVII) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963, 1969) 459.)
    Based on the Babylonian Talmud’s New Year for Kings method of counting, Herod’s thirty-fourth year as king, the year in which Herod died, was during the Levitical Calendar Year beginning around March 28, 4 BC to March 17, 3 BC.

    Archelaus, one of Herod’s three sons to whom he bequeathed his kingdom, immediately took over the whole of the kingdom until such time as his brothers could arrive in Jerusalem and until Augustus Caesar could approve of Herod’s will and establish their reign. Josephus (Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:213-8; Whiston xvii.9.3).) describes the Passover that took place that year, during which there was a riot which Archelaus was forced to suppress, resulting in the death of three thousand worshipers. It is no wonder that Mary and Joseph were apprehensive when the angel of the Lord instructed them to return to Israel (Matthew 2:19-22)

    Herod Philip and Herod Antipas were given the title of tetrarch, and the northern regions of Herod’s kingdom was given to them. Archelaus was given the title of ethnarch, and given rule of Judea, Samaria and Idumaea. Although Philip and Antipas continued their reigns well into the years of Jesus’s ministry and beyond, Archelaus’s rule did not last nearly as long:

    In the tenth year of Archelaus’ rule, the leading men among the Jews and Samaritans, finding his cruelty and tyranny intolerable, brought charges against him before Caesar the moment they learned that Archelaus had disobeyed his instruction to show moderation in dealing with them. Accordingly, when Caesar heard the charges, he became angry, and summoning the man who looked after Archelaus’ affairs at Rome–he was also named Arcelaus–, for he thought it beneath him to write to Archelaus (the ethnarch), he said to him, “Go, sail at once and bring him here to us without delay.” So this man immediately set sail, and on arriving in Judaea and finding Archelaus feasting with his friends, he revealed to him the will of Caesar and speeded his departure. And when Archelaus arrived, Caesar gave a hearing to some of his accusers, and also let him speak, and then sent him into exile, assigning him a residence in Vienna, a city in Gaul, and confiscating his property. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:342-4; Whiston xvii.13.2), Marcus, op. cit. 531.)
    By the Talmud’s reckoning, Herod’s last year, around March 28, 4 BC to March 17, 3 BC, was also Archelaus’s first year. Archelaus’s tenth year would be March 19, AD 6 to March 8 (or maybe a month later), AD 7.

    AD 6 was a very upsetting year for the Jews. Augustus had replaced Lucius Volusius Saturninus with Publius Sulpicius Quirinius as governor of Syria, then deposed Archelaus from his reign, banishing him to Vienna in Gaul. Judea and Samaria became Roman provinces under the supervision of Quirinius. Coponius became procurator over Judea. Augustus instituted the notorious tax, which resulted in violence and uprisings among the Jews.
    Last edited by Faber; 09-14-2019 at 05:10 PM.

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