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Star, Star of the Magi

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  • lightsearcher1 <lightsearcher1@yahoo.com>
    Here is a very enlightening article !Seek out the original, for it has WONDERFUL illustrations of what the Magi saw. --This publication and its sister
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 26, 2002
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      Here is a very enlightening article !

      Seek out the original, for it has WONDERFUL
      illustrations of "what the Magi saw." --

      This publication and its sister publication,
      "Biblical Archeology Review," are outstanding.

      http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BR/indexBR.html
      http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/indexBAR.html

      As a reminder I repost this key page also:

      http://www.loriswebs.com/astro_theology/bethstarrising.html

      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      BIBLE REVIEW (Biblical Archaeology Society)
      December 2001

      The Magi and the Star
      by Simo Parpola

      The wondrous star that hovered over Bethlehem at Jesus' birth has long
      mystified Bible scholars and astronomers alike.

      Attempts to identify the star with historical celestial phenomena have been=

      inconclusive at best, leading many to dismiss the gospel account as a
      beautiful but imaginative myth.

      Still others keep returning to this question, knowing that if we could only=
      link
      the star with a specific celestial event, we could also pinpoint the date o=
      f
      Jesus' birth.

      For although today we celebrate the birth of Jesus in 1 C.E., most scholars=

      believe he was actually born sometime between 7 and 4 B.C.E., based on the =

      Gospel of Matthew, which indicates that Jesus was born late in the reign of=

      King Herod of Judea, who died in 4 B.C.E.*

      I believe that Babylonian astronomy may provide the key to identifying the =
      star
      and to dating Jesus' birth: That's because the Gospel of Matthew tells us t=
      hat
      the magi – astronomers from the East – believed that the star would lead th=
      em
      to a new king. Why? What did the magi know?

      (One) possibility is a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in 2 B.C.E. During =
      a
      conjunction, two planets appear close to each other in the night sky.

      In 2 B.C.E., Jupiter and Venus came so close together that they appeared to=

      merge into a single brilliant star, although only for a very short duration=
      – a
      maximum of two hours before their setting.

      Nevertheless, this conjunction must be dismissed because it occurred after =

      Herod's death.

      The only remaining candidate is a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in
      7 B.C.E.(1)

      Already in 1604 Johannes Kepler associated this event with the birth of
      Jesus.

      However, Jupiter and Saturn did not come close enough to each other during =

      this conjunction to be seen as a single exceptionally bright star.

      Rather, they remained at least one degree apart (about two diameters of the=

      moon), leading one scholar to conclude: "This fact renders it impossible to=

      explain the Star of Bethlehem with reference to that particular conjunction=
      ."(2)

      It thus seems that from the viewpoint of modern science, the Star of
      Bethlehem cannot be satisfactorily explained.

      We will have better luck, however, if we turn to ancient science, which sh=
      eds
      light on how the magi themselves would have understood these celestial
      phenomena, in particular the conjunction of 7 B.C.E.

      For although modern scholars might find it "impossible" to identify this
      conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter with the magi's star, Babylonian
      astronomers used the term kakkabu, "star," to refer to a single star or pla=
      net as
      well as a constellation.

      Further evidence of how ancient astronomers would have understood this
      conjunction has been revealed by excavations in Babylon, which have
      uncovered four clay tablets bearing astronomical computations for the year =
      7
      B.C.E. (More accurately 7/6 B.C.E., since the Bbylonian lunar year began at=

      the vernal equinox (March/April). This almanac indicates that, from the
      beginning of the year, Jupiter and Saturn were continuously visible in Pisc=
      es
      for 11 months.

      In other words, for most of the year the constellation Pisces served as a
      backdrop for the planets Jupiter and Saturn as they traveled slowly through=

      the night sky. The movements, stationary points, risings and settings of bo=
      th
      planets are accurately registered month by month (see box, pp. 20 – 21).

      They came closest together on three nights in May, October and December. It=

      appears from the almanac that toward the end of the conjunction, Mars also =

      moved into Pisces; it was visible near Jupiter and Saturn in mid – February=
      .

      That the almanac survives in four copies is remarkable, and, indeed, quite =

      exceptional. The overwhelming majority (85 percent) of the known almanacs
      are available in one copy only, and only two other almanacs are available i=
      n
      four or more copies. (One for 71 B.C.E., in four copies, and one for 69 B.C=
      .E.,
      in five copies.) Unlike modern almanacs, Babylonian almanacs were not
      drawn up for the general public but for the private use of a handful of exp=
      erts,
      and they were guarded as great scholarly secrets.

      That so many copies exist of this one is all the more surprising when one
      considers its date: Cuneiform texts become rare in the latter half of the f=
      irst
      century B.C.E. (the latest known cuneiform tablet dates from 75 C.E. and th=
      ere
      are only four cuneiform tablets altogether from the Christian Era).

      The great number of copies has an obvious explanation, however: An 11 –
      month conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces is an extremely rare even=
      t,
      occurring only once every 800 years. Because of the slow rotational velocit=
      y
      of both Jupiter (which has a 12 – year orbit around the sun) and Saturn (29=
      .5
      years), any conjunction of these planets (the so – called "great conjunctio=
      n")
      will only happen every 20 years.

      The 11 – month conjunction of 7 B.C.E., however, was special in that the
      planets met three times in succession in the same constellation. It can occ=
      ur
      only when both planets are in opposition to the sun; that is, the sun is on=
      the
      opposite side of the Earth from the planets (see "What the Magi Saw").

      Since 7 B.C.E. a triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter has been observed=

      only twice, in the years 786 and 1583.

      For the ancient Babylonian magi, however, the conjunction was not only
      important astronomically, but astrologically and politically.

      In the Babylonian system, Jupiter, the largest and brightest planet, was kn=
      own
      as the star of Marduk, the supreme god of Babylon.

      Saturn, the second largest planet, was the star of the king, the earthly
      representative of the god. The Babylonians called Saturn Kaiwanu, "The
      Steady One."

      The constellation Pisces was associated with Ea, the god of wisdom, life an=
      d
      creation. Pisces was also the last sign in the zodiac – that is, the last
      constellation that the sun passed through each year (see "What the Magi
      Saw").

      The conjunction of the planets in Pisces accordingly portended two things: =
      the
      end of the old world order and the birth of a new savior king chosen by God=
      .
      No Babylonian interpretation of this particular conjunction is extant – sur=
      ely
      because of the great rarity of the event – but we know that interpretations=
      of
      planetary conjunctions were based on an analysis of the astrological
      significance of the planets and the accompanying circumstances, particularl=
      y
      the zodiacal sign in which the conjunction took place.

      The fact that Mars, the star of Nergal, the god of war,* joined the conjunc=
      tion
      in its final phase signified that the new king was to come from the West,
      specifically, from Syria – Palestine, for Mars was the star of Amurru or th=
      e
      West (Syria – Palestine) in the Babylonian system.

      The prediction of such a king would have held wide interest in 7 B.C.E., wh=
      en
      a power vacuum of sorts prevailed in the Near East.

      The Seleucid empire created by the successors of Alexander the Great had
      collapsed in 64 B.C.E., and its remnants, which included Judea, had been
      annexed to Rome as a province named Syria. The power of Rome had not yet
      been consolidated in the area, however. Even after Augustus changed Rome
      into an autocratic monarchy in 27 B.C.E., his authority was questioned in t=
      he
      East, for the Roman emperor, unlike the Seleucid kings and their
      predecessors, did not derive his authority from God.

      For this reason, many people considered Roman rule illegitimate and hoped
      that a local Near Eastern king appointed by God would drive the Romans out =

      of the country and create a better world. These messianic expectations are =

      recorded by Josephus and reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

      The conjunction of 7 B.C.E. would have been interpreted as a portent of the=

      birth of precisely this kind of king. The political vistas opened by it wou=
      ld not
      have escaped the attention of any Babylonian astrologer.

      When the year 7 B.C.E. began, Jupiter was already visible in the night sky.=

      Saturn appeared soon after, on the third day of the first month, Nisan (at =
      the
      beginning of April).

      The planets met for the first time on May 27, rising in the east at about 2=

      o'clock in the morning, the brighter Jupiter first, and Saturn, considerabl=
      y
      dimmer, soon after it.

      The second meeting of the planets occurred on the 22nd of Tishri (October 6=
      ).
      Just as Mars was the star of Amurru (the West), Tishri was known as the
      month of Amurru.

      This second meeting may have inspired the magi to head West. That they
      chose to visit Herod's court is natural, as he was unquestionably one of th=
      e
      most powerful kings of Syria – Palestine.

      The magi would have seen a brilliant and suggestive sight. Jupiter and Satu=
      rn
      were in opposition to the sun and shining at their brightest, with Jupiter =
      (the
      star of the supreme god) appearing twice as bright as Sirius, the brightest=
      star.

      Appearing directly above Saturn (the star of the king), Jupiter thus seemed=
      to
      embrace and protect Saturn in its light.

      The conjunction was visible through the whole night, setting in the West. F=
      or
      the magi, the significance resided in the astrological message, not the
      appearance: Matthew nowhere stresses the brightness of the star.

      The journey of about 750 miles from Babylon to Jerusalem took about three
      weeks by donkey or camel.

      If the magi left for Syria – Palestine in early Tishri (October), they woul=
      d have
      arrived there well before November 7, when Jupiter reached a stationary
      point (its second) and for a moment seemed to come to a stop. This occurs
      whenever the Earth, traveling at a faster rate in its smaller, inner orbit,=
      catches
      up with Jupiter (or any outer planet).

      As the Earth overtakes the planet, Jupiter appears from our vantage point t=
      o
      pause in the sky, then to travel backward (westward) in retrograde motion
      until Earth has passed by. The planet then pauses a second time and turns
      back in an easterly direction (see "What the Magi Saw").

      On November 20, Saturn reached its (second) stationary point. Both dates – =

      the 7th for Jupiter and 20th for Saturn – would fit Matthew's description o=
      f a
      star stopping above Bethlehem.

      The third conjunction occurred at the time of the full moon, on the 14th of=

      Kislev (December 1), about three weeks before the winter solstice, when the=

      Babylonians held their annual celebration of the victory of their savior go=
      d,
      Nabû, over the forces of darkness.

      The magi may well have associated the birth of the child they were looking =
      for
      with this festival, for the Mesopotamian king was commonly regarded as an
      incarnation of Nabû.

      Interestingly, the Babylonians proclaimed Nabû's victory as "good tidings" =

      (bussurati) to all the people. Bussurtu, "good tidings," is the same word a=
      s
      Hebrew/Aramaic besorah, of which the Biblical euangelion (gospel) is a
      Greek translation.

      In Luke, the angel uses this very term to announce Jesus' birth to the
      shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night: "Do not be afraid; for s=
      ee –
      I am bringing you good news [euangelion = bussurtu] of great joy for all th=
      e
      people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the
      Messiah, the Lord" (Luke 2:10 – 11).

      How could a star lead the magi to Jerusalem and Bethlehem? (For another
      theory on how a star could lead the magi, see Dale C. Allison, Jr., "What W=
      as
      the Star that Guided the Magi?" BR, December 1993).

      These Babylonian astronomers would have "followed" a star only based on its=

      astrological significance.

      In 7 B.C.E., they read the message of the "star" – that a messiah – king wo=
      uld
      be born in Syria – Palestine – and they headed to a leading political cente=
      r in
      the region, King Herod's court.

      There they were directed to Bethlehem; as they traveled, both the planet of=

      the king (Saturn) and the planet of the supreme god (Jupiter) would have
      paused in the sky, as planets do when the Earth overtakes them in their orb=
      it.

      In late December, at the winter solstice, the magi would have rejoiced with=

      good news, or bussurati: Their savior king was born – several years before =

      the Christian Era even began!

      NOTES

      1. The American astronomer Michael Molnar recently presented a theory that =

      the star of Bethlehem should be identified with two occultations of Jupiter=
      by
      the moon in Aries in 6 B.C.E. (Molnar, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of=

      the Magi [New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1999]).

      This theory must be rejected, however, since in Babylonian astrology the
      occultation of Jupiter by the moon signified the death of a great king and =

      famine in the West, that is, exactly the opposite of what a conjunction of =

      Jupiter and Saturn portended. See Hermann Hunger and Simo Parpola,
      "Bedeckungen des Planeten Jupiter durch den Mond," Archiv für
      Orientforschung, 29/30 (1983/84), pp. 46 – 49. (Back)

      2. Heikki Tuori, "The Star of Bethlehem and the Computer," Uusi Suomi 8.1
      (1976) (in Finnish).
    • lightsearcher1 <lightsearcher1@yahoo.com>
      The historical debate about WHEN and WHAT the Star really was -- and therefore when Jesus was born -- is necessarily integral to another debate -- when Herod
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 26, 2002
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        The historical debate about WHEN and
        WHAT the Star really was -- and therefore
        when Jesus was born -- is necessarily
        integral to another debate -- when Herod died.

        It's a bit of a mind-bender for the unhistorically
        minded, but it's worth your exploration and
        cognition !

        The general historical view for Herod's death is: 4 B.C.

        Despite what is said in the "opposing view" for a later
        death for Herod (in 1 B.C.)-- see the very bottom of this
        post -- historians (I believe) still broadly agree that
        Herod died in 4 B.C. -- making the birth of (the Matthew)
        Jesus necessary prior to that date.

        For example:

        http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/p_greetham/wisemen/
        chron2.html

        http://www.ifrance.com/loukas/aaa.htm


        And, I state again that historical facts strongly tend
        to point toward an EARLY date for the Solomonic/kingly
        Jesus -- one born BEFORE 3 or 4 B.C. -- and that this "fact"
        is HELPFUL historical (though circumstantial) evidence
        that the PERSON born around 6 B.C. could NOT have been
        the SAME (Priestly/Nathan) person crucified in April, 33 A.D.

        (If they HAD been the same person, any person who
        lived 6 B.C to 33 A.D. would have been about 37 years
        old, a recognized impossibility for Jesus himself.)

        See this SUCCINCT statement on the date of the crucifixion:

        http://itss.raytheon.com/cafe/qadir/q867.html

        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

        THE NUB OF THE PROBLEM:

        Historians are in a befuddled bind because:

        1. The 33 A.D. (April 3rd) crucifixion date seems secure.

        BUT....

        2. It sure seems on the other hand that "Jesus" was
        born around 6 B.C.

        Only Rudolf Steiner's perceptions in regard to "the real story"
        can at all "save the phenomena."

        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

        (quoting another page...)

        In only two of the years framed by AD 29 and AD 36 could the fourteenth of =

        Nisan have fallen on a Friday: in AD 30 and 33 (11).

        AD 30 is an impossible date for the Crucifixion, because it is much too ear=
        ly.
        Luke says that John the Baptist began to preach in Tiberius's fifteenth yea=
        r
        (Luke 3:1-3).

        By official Roman reckoning, Tiberius's fifteenth year ran from January 1, =
        AD
        29, to January 1, AD 30 (12).

        Therefore, the first Passover in Jesus' ministry (the one recorded in John =
        2:13-
        25) could not have preceded the Passover of 29.

        Since the remainder of His ministry extended beyond another year, the
        Passover of 30 cannot be when Jesus was crucified.

        Hence, the correct date must be the Passover of 33.

        http://www.themoorings.org/apologetics/69weeks/weeks4.html

        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

        (quoting...)

        So, we have increasing confidence that Jesus was
        crucified on April 3, 33 AD. But the "clincher," perhaps
        the most powerful evidence, is astronomical.....

        http://www.bethlehemstar.net/day/day.htm

        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

        (quoting...

        MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Astronomical clues and passages from the Bible
        indicate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ occurred on April 3, 33 A.D., a
        University of Minnesota professor says.

        Karlis Kaufmanis, professor emeritus of astronomy at the U of M, said that =

        countless inquiries have suggested the crucifixion took someplace between
        the years 29 and 33.

        Astronomers have determined that only the years 30 and 33 satisfy biblical =

        statements that Jesus died on a Friday followed by the Jewish feast of
        Passover, celebrated on the first full moon of the spring.

        "The crucifixion, therefore, would have taken place either on Friday, April=
        7,
        A.D. 30, or on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33," Kaufmanis said. "There are no oth=
        er
        possible dates."

        Kaufmanis supports the year 33 since it is generally agreed that Jesus was =

        baptized in the spring of the year 29, and it is difficult to believe his n=
        umerous
        trips and tremendous amount of work could have been accomplished during
        the short period between the spring of 29 and April of 30.

        http://www.infowest.com/business/g/gentle/crucifixion.html

        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

        However, just for fairness and for the record,
        here is a "later birthdate for Jesus" theory
        based on a "later death date" for Herod (from
        Ernest Martin).

        (starting webpage quote:)

        Josephus mentions that Herod died in the interval between a Lunar eclipse
        and the following Passover.

        For centuries this has been thought to be the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC, an=
        d
        the evidence of astronomy has been decisive to establish the dogma that
        Herod died that year.

        Recent calculations, however, showed that this eclipse was only partial, an=
        d
        that the events narrated by Josephus to have occurred between this eclipse =

        and the Passover that followed are impossible if one takes the 4 BC date,
        while the total eclipses of January 9-10 BC and 29 December BC eliminate
        those problems.

        The proponents of the theory that Herod died in 4 BC pretend that the
        following events all happened within 30 days:

        -- part of Herod's body was putrefied and bred worms.
        -- he is taking round-trip to warm baths 16 Km away.
        -- he orders all important men in all villages to come (120-30 Km).
        -- his son Antipas is executed and Herod dies 5 days later.
        -- there is a magnificent funeral, and the body is carried 37 Km.
        -- a 7-day mourning starts, followed by a funeral feast.
        -- another mourning is planned and executed for the patriots killed.

        Only then came the Passover. Ernest Martin showed very carefully that each =

        event required as a minimum a week, and that it was impossible for all of
        them to happen in less than 54 days.

        Therefore the 4 BC date fails to account for what Josephus recorded.

        The 2 eclipses of 1 BC fulfill this time requirement easily, and the one on=
        Dec.
        29th is most probable because it happened in the evening and would have
        been observed by many people.

        http://www.expreso.co.cr/centaurs/Steiner/Herod.html

        [END]
         
      • Pacbay
        Good work on this. The only fly in the ointment though is that RS states in the Luke cycle that both children were born about the same time indicating either
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 28, 2002
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          Good work on this. The only fly in the ointment though is that RS states in the Luke cycle that both children were born about the same time indicating either days or weeks of each other.. So the Crucifixion date must be off by 5-6 years.??? or some of the astronomical information was not accurately reported.
           
          jeff
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Thursday, December 26, 2002 7:48 PM
          Subject: [anthroposophy] re: Star, Star of the Magi


          The historical debate about WHEN and
          WHAT the Star really was -- and therefore
          when Jesus was born -- is necessarily
          integral to another debate -- when Herod died.

          It's a bit of a mind-bender for the unhistorically
          minded, but it's worth your exploration and
          cognition !

          The general historical view for Herod's death is:  4 B.C.

          Despite what is said in the "opposing view" for a later
          death for Herod (in 1 B.C.)-- see the very bottom of this
          post --  historians (I believe) still broadly agree that
          Herod died  in 4 B.C. -- making the birth of (the Matthew)
          Jesus necessary prior to that date.

          For example:

          http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/p_greetham/wisemen/
          chron2.html

          http://www.ifrance.com/loukas/aaa.htm


        • lightsearcher1 <lightsearcher1@yahoo.com>
          Here s something (apologies if someone has already cited this): http://www.vermontel.com/~vtsophia/greub2.htm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... states in the
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 30, 2002
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            Here's something (apologies if someone
            has already cited this):

            http://www.vermontel.com/~vtsophia/greub2.htm

            . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


            "Pacbay" <pacbay@a...> wrote:

            > Good work on this. The only fly in the ointment though is that RS
            states in the Luke cycle that both children were born about the same
            time indicating either days or weeks of each other.. So the
            Crucifixion date must be off by 5-6 years.??? or some of the
            astronomical information was not accurately reported.
            >
            > jeff
          • lightsearcher1 <lightsearcher1@yahoo.com>
            My posting of the Parpola Star of the Magi article appeared on Yahoo with those non-preferred equals signs. To see the text INTACT, scroll down to item
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 30, 2002
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              My posting of the Parpola "Star of the Magi"
              article appeared on Yahoo with those non-preferred
              equals signs.

              To see the text INTACT, scroll
              down to item NUMBER 7 on this page:

              http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc112901.html

              LS/1

              = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

              <lightsearcher1@y...> wrote:
              >
              > Here is a very enlightening article (by Parpola) !
              >
              > Seek out the original, for it has WONDERFUL
              > illustrations of "what the Magi saw." --
              >
              > This publication and its sister publication,
              > "Biblical Archeology Review," are outstanding.
              >
              > http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BR/indexBR.html
              > http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/indexBAR.html
            • bdfarm03 <bdfarm03@yahoo.com>
              ... wrote: ... Did Steiner mention the dates of the Exodus from Egypt, and the Return from the Babylonian Captivity? I ask because
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 1, 2003
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                --- In anthroposophy@yahoogroups.com, "Bradford Riley"
                <holderlin66@h...> wrote:

                <snip>

                > Rudolf Steiner must have had a reason for not exactly indicating
                > these dates of birth. As a matter of fact, he mentioned strikingly
                > few dates. The only date he indicates exactly as a result of
                > spiritual scientific research is the date of the crucifixion. In
                > the first edition of the Calendar of the > Soul from 1912, he says
                > that the original Good Friday fell on April 3, 33.


                Did Steiner mention the dates of the Exodus from Egypt, and the Return
                from the Babylonian Captivity? I ask because the traditional date of
                1440-ish BCE with Ramses as Pharaoh was a time of peace and plenty,
                not violence and death. (I realise the plagues etc. were imaginations
                of loss that tore into the Egyptians' souls but there may have been
                some external counterpart to the inner tensions.)

                Thanks
                Barry, a BD Farmer
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