Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

5 Astronomical Thoughts on the Star of Bethlehem

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Astronomers, being in the main rational scientists, approach the Star of Bethlehem as if it were a physical reality in the celestial realm. Unfortunately, the imprecision in the dating of the nativity of Jesus, the astrological confusion as to what was an apposite stimulation for the magi’s journey to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and a complete lack of knowledge regarding the magi’s home country and their astronomical sophistication has left astronomers free to suggest a broad range of objects as potential candidates for filling the role of the star. These range from comets to novae and supernovae, and also include most of the planets known at that time. Some even resort to more localized objects, such as meteors and ball lightning. One of the more probable suggestions, and one that fits in with most of the (rather limited number of) biblical clues, is the coming together of the planets Jupiter and Saturn three times in 7 bce against the background of the constellation of Pisces. This paper reviews this suggestion, and all of the other suggestions as well.



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation