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    Re: The Star of Bethlehem and Navigation
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2008 Dec 31, 08:41 +0000

    
    This is a translation of the blurb for the book from the author Dieter
    Koch's website http://www.gilgamesh.ch/default_stvb.htm
    
    ===========================
    
    For the star of Bethlehem, numerous astronomical explanations have been
    proposed, but none have been so convincing that it has become generally
    accepted. Is there anything more to be said on the subject? Anyone who does
    not think so should read this book!  A careful and unbiased reading of the
    Star of Bethlehem story in Matthew 2 suggests a rather unspectacular
    heliacal rising of Venus to have been the star.  This suggestion is
    supported by Revelations 22:16, where Jesus is called "the shining morning
    star".  The virgin birth of Jesus seems to indicate that the rising of the
    morning star happened when it was was in the constellation of  Virgo. The
    apocalyptic woman in Revelations 12 indicates that this happened near the
    time of a new moon and if possible on the day of the Jewish New
    Year.  Stunningly, around 2 B.C.  there is actually a date that fulfills
    all these requirements.  The author studies the symbolic power of this
    astronomical event.  He also examines the meaning of the birth star legend
    in the context of Jewish, Greek, Persian and Mesopotamian astrological
    traditions.
    
    ===========================
    
    Marcel Tschudin wonders how the Three Wise Men navigated their way to
    Bethlehem by "following a star"? First of all, it is clear from Matthew
    that the Wise Men came "from the East". So the implication is that in
    following a star to take them West, the star must have been in the West.
    The heliacal rising of Venus would have been in the East, wherever they
    came from, so they were not "following" Venus in the way we might simply
    expect.
    
    Without having read the book, Dieter Kock's explanation seems to be that
    the place where the heliacal rising of Venus would have been observed at
    the exact moment when it turned from being retrograde to direct, was
    Bethlehem. (Or more exactly, there would be an arc along which the heliacal
    rising of Venus would have been observed at the right time and this arc
    went through Bethlehem.) Dieter Kock appears to argue that the Wise Men
    would have been able to pre-compute this phenomenon and took themselves off
    to Bethlehem to see it for themselves. They were actually following a
    virtual star in that they travelled to Judea before the  phenomenon occurred.
    
    However, Dieter Kock is a programmer for the "Swiss Ephemeris", an
    ephemeris widely used by astrologers, so he has access to vast computing
    power and the world's most sophisticated astronomical programs. It may be a
    mistake to think that the Three Wise Men were similarly equipped...
    
    Geoffrey Kolbe
    
    
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