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    Re: The Star of Bethlehem and Navigation
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2009 Jan 01, 09:13 +0000

    Andrew Corl wrote
    >The most compelling argument for me as a Christian was found in a NOVA
    >program on the American PBS network from several years ago, I believe it
    >was simply titled "The Star of Bethlehem."  In that show an astronomer
    >argued, quite convincingly, that the three Wise Men discussed in Matthew
    >were in fact Babylonian astrologers and noblemen but not
    >kings.  Additionally Venus in astrology is not the planet of a king but
    >Jupiter is, so the "star" they were following was Jupiter not Venus.  Also
    >in Ptolomey "The Almangest" each nation of that time period was assigned a
    >different constellation.  The nation of Isreal was assigned the
    >consteallation of Aries the Ram, which makes sense due to the long history
    >of the use of sheep in early Hebrew worship.  This astronomer, rightly
    >concluded, that Jesus was born when Jupiter appeared in Aries the Ram
    >which was somewhere around 4 A.D.
    >As to the Wise travelling there was a very lucrative trade between the
    >Babylonians/Persians, and the Roman Empire.
    >So it would have most likely played out like this.  The Wise Men see
    >Jupiter in Aries and realize this heralds the arrival of a new powerful
    >king, they assemble their gifts which would have taken some time to
    >complete since francencense and myhhr grown are found on the Arabian
    >Peninsula and are not readily available, so that would have taken some
    >time. They then set out on a several month journey to the capital of
    >Isreal at the time which would have been Jerusalem.  They present
    >themselves to Herod to find out where this new king is to be found.  Herod
    >finds out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and sends the Wise Men out to
    >find Jesus and let him (Herod) know where he is to be found.  The rest is
    >The Star of Bethlehem was Jupiter in Aries in my opinion.
    Geoffrey Kolbe responds:
    Firstly, it should be recognized that Jupiter enters Aries every 30 years
    or so. This, by itself, would not herald the birth of a new powerful king.
    Now Ptolemy (in his 'Tetrabiblos'  which deals with astrology) does indeed
    give Aries rulership over Judaea. However, he says that this is because the
    Jews are "in general bold, godless and scheming" and so best fits the
    characteristics of Aries. It might seem odd that Ptolemy should describe
    the Jews as "godless", but a footnote in the Loeb edition of Tetrabiblos
    explains this by saying that "because of their monotheism and general
    disregard of all pagan gods, (the Jews) were generally branded as atheists
    by their neighbours." This may give pause for thought in accepting the
    notion that God would signify the birth of His Son by an event in Aries.
    Further pause for thought may result in considering that Ptolemy was
    writing some 150 years after the supposed birth of Jesus. Astrology was a
    fast evolving science and it may be better to look and see what the current
    thinking on the rulership of Judaea was a bit nearer the time. Manilius
    wrote his 'Astronomica' at around the end of the reign of Augustus. He does
    not mention Judaea specifically, but describes the general area as
    "Phoenicia" which he gives to Aquarius. Syria, a little further to the
    North, was given to Aries by Manilius. By the time of Ptolemy, Syria was
    being lumped in with Judaea and both given to Aries.
    Geoffrey Kolbe
    Navigation List archive: www.fer3.com/arc
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