The mystery of the Star of Bethlehem, between faith and science
"And if Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking: Where is the king of the Jews who was born? For we have seen the Eastern His star and have come to us worship him. " Because I find in Jerusalem Magi "departed, and behold, the star that they had seen in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with joy very high. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother ... ". Matthew 2: 1.
Attempts to explain scientific phenomena were made from the early fourteenth century. Since then, a myriad of theories and hypotheses about the Star of Bethlehem and the "behavior" strange they were launched by researchers more or less credible. It said the star was a supernova, a ball lightning, even a UFO. Today, although there is an explanation that scientifically aware of the biblical account, the mystery is far from being cleared up. To discover what was the Star of Bethlehem have to slam many biblical contradictions; first, however, you have to solve another mystery, perhaps greater, which is the exact date of the birth of Jesus?
A star appears above the Holy Land and announces the birth of the Messiah. It is seen by the Magi - or sages - from the East, who are guided by it until you get to Bethlehem, where he discovers the baby Jesus. This biblical story has not lost its charm even now, more than 2,000 years after the events he narrates. For practitioners and some faithful Christians, the Star of Bethlehem story simply register miraculous deeds that occurred on the eve of Christ's birth and needs no explanation. But is it blasphemy to go further than that, that is to use scientific methods to reveal more details about Star? The answer is no.
Over time, many theologians, historians and astronomers have tried to unravel the mystery of the Star, hoping to put such information in the Gospel according to Matthew historical and scientific data. None has definitively resolved the dilemma, all lost in a complicated maze of conflicting data, errors and unverifiable predictions. However, the researchers made the shocking discovery about the historical and cultural context in which the events took place in the Holy Land at the beginning of the first millennium of the Christian era.
For instance, today, scientists agreed on the fact that if Steaua has existed and has guided the Magi, then certainly their arrival in Bethlehem has not spent one day December 25 last 2009 years. As we celebrate today, the birthday of the Savior was fixed in the year 525 AD by a Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus. Some theologians and many researchers believe that Dionysius was wrong and that Jesus would actually born in the year 5 BC Regarding December 25, it was chosen to overlap over a much older pagan holiday, dedicated to Deus Solus Invictus or Apollo-Helios.
Assuming that the date fixed by Dionysius as a convention, some researchers have argued that Star from Bethelehem was predictable astronomical phenomena, such as the conjunction of two planets. Regular movement of celestial bodies allow the calculation of such events: if you have enough information, you can predict, for example, all conjunctions that will occur in the future between Jupiter and Saturn, and in addition, you can find the exact dates on which held a such an event in the past. The conjunction of the planets proved but a red herring, because no such phenomenon did not occur in close proximity to the birth of Jesus. No other explanation of the nature of astronomical able to realize the Star of Bethlehem - like a supernova explosion - not likely. Therefore, some scientists have expanded their area of research, trying to use historical events to reveal more details about Star.
When was born, in fact, Jesus?
A hint key is the death of King Herod who, according to all the records known, occurred very shortly before the birth of Jesus, shortly after a lunar eclipse and before the feast of Passover (Hebrew Passover feast, which commemorates the Exodus Jews in Egypt). Lunar eclipse is a phenomenon predictable, so appealing to astronomy, researchers imposed as year of birth of the Saviour year 5 BC On the other hand, Passover takes place in the 15th day of Nisan (after the Hebrew calendar), which fall between March 15 and April 30. Because of congestion caused by this big celebration, Mary and Joseph found a place in town to be accommodated. They are received in exchange pastors who graze their flocks on the hills around Bethlehem's (very logic of occupation in the spring months, but highly unlikely in December).
Therefore, Star appearance as an astronomical event that has happened in year 5 BC, and Jesus would be born in the spring. Knowing all this data, Florentine artist Giotto (1267-1337) of his works featured in the Star as a comet - the most famous of all: Comet Halley (see below). But Giotto was cheated 7 years, because according to all modern calculations, Halley was shown in the year 12 BC (And therefore could not be the Star of the Magi).
It has long been believed that Star would indicate a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. But the phenomenon closest to Jesus' birth year was spent in 7 BC - Therefore too early. However, recent research conducted by Mark Kidger from the Institute of Astrophysics in Tenerife, shows that event conjunction yet may be important in solving the mystery. After 2,000 years, these phenomena were considered extremely important in astrological terms. The conjunction of the year 7 BC showed the planet "royal" Jupiter in the constellation Pisces, which astrologically is related to Hebrew. For any ancient initiated - as were the Magi - this conjunction was clearly a signal. "The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 BC since played an important role in warning of the Magi, even if she was not the Star of Bethlehem," said Professor Kidger.
Astronomer Michael Molnar thinks Star of Bethlehem were actually Jupiter, the planet partially hidden by the Moon in the year 6 BC Detailed calculations of this cosmic event shows however that the occultation of Jupiter (which took place from 17 April 6th century BC) could not be visible from Earth.
Sir Patrick Moore, British astronomer most important of all time, suggested the idea that a particularly bright meteor could offer absolution dilemma. However, the Gospel of Matthew clearly deduce that the star was a celestial body that shone every night for a very long time.
In 2002, Costantino Sigismondi, of the University of Rome, proposed as an explanation flickering variable star called Mira. Although the hypothesis has provoked much debate awhile, it was concluded that that star shine so vague that it could not attract the attention of the Magi.
Michael Kamieńsk of the University of Krakow, suggest that Steaua would have been ball lightning, a phenomenon that occurs only rarely during a storm. Beyond that a ball lightning would not have guided the Magi from Persia in Judea, it is very difficult and confused with a star.
In some years, on Christmas Eve, the planet shines particularly intense, leaving the impression that triples its size. However, Venus does not move far like a star faring, and how were the Magi experienced some astronomers had recognized planet once.
In the entire Bible, the only text that appears in the story of the Magi and the Star is the Gospel of Matthew. But Matthew does not say anywhere that the wise men were three - was reached this popular belief long after the writing of the New Testament - and did not give us their names. He says only that they were "Magi from the East." From this information we deduce that the Sages were Persian origin, coming from an ancient Zoroastrian caste of priests, astrologers and prophets.
Wise Men. Who are the three mysterious initiates who come to worship Jesus?
Herodotus, who lived about 500 years before Christ and was chronicler of wars Greco-Persian, reveal that the Magi (Maguire in Persian) were originally from the Medes (today Medina, a city-symbol of Islam, located in Saudi Arabia) and formed an elite class of the Persian Empire. After several unsuccessful attempts to gain control of political power in the empire, the caste of the Magi experienced a total transformation process: a "given" policy piety, among them spring out of the most respected teachers and enlightened ancient Persia. In addition, the Magi were considered specialists in the interpretation of dreams and guessing stars. There are reasons for that, with time, their caste seized all positions religious empire, becoming priests sages officials Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion. A prophecy of his Zarathushtra, the legendary founder of Zoroastrianism, says a virgin will give birth to a Saoshyant (Savior) which will purify the universe and bring paradise. More than 2,000 years after it was filed prophecy, three wise men, Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar (as they were called in apocryphal texts), had a common view of Esfahan, identifying him Savior announced Zarathushtra with baby Jesus. Moreover, between the Persian prophet who lived in the second millennium BC and Jesus Christ are very many similarities, various historians of religions claiming that the authors of biblical texts were strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism.
Biblical Contradictions. How much confidence can we have, from historically, in the Biblical story of the Star of Bethlehem?
New Testament aim is to narrate like a history book, the events that occurred in the first 100 years of Christianity. Therefore, anyone who tries to solve the mystery of Star will face a lot of gaps and contradictions, if the Gospels look like some historical chronicles. Episode birth of Jesus is mentioned in only two gospels - the Luke and the Matthew; of the four evangelists, Matthew speaks only star and the Magi. For major historical works from the early first millennium, both Matthew and Luke are regarded as some chroniclers reasonable.
The trouble starts with details of Holy Birth - details which, unfortunately, are crucial to any theory related to the Star of Bethlehem. For example, Matthew says that Jesus was born "in the days of Herod the king," which chronicles all the weather records that died in 4 BC According to Luke, however, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Galilee while Joseph and his fiancee, Maria, went to register with the census ordered by Augustus.
"This registration was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria on the first," says Luke (Luke 2: 2), ie 10 years later compared to the time given by Matthew. Atari still discrepancies should not surprise us, considering the fact that both gospels were written about 70 years after the events they describe.
To reach Messiah, magi had traveled a significant distance for those times: 1,500 km, they have traveled in a few weeks. From the biblical story, especially in imaging and folklore which were born around it, we deduce that Star shone throughout the whole journey; more than that, it was moved, guiding and the prophets. Judging from these assumptions, The star could have a ball lightning or a meteorite. However, such astronomical phenomena takes too little. Only two candidates remain "function" Star.
400 years ago, German astronomer Johannes Kepler suggested that the Star of Bethlehem was a supernova. At the time, Kepler did not have enough information to prove their hypothesis. But today we know that the death of a giant star in a natural thermonuclear explosion is a phenomenon very bright, which leaves traces in the universe. One could justify such "guidance" Magi. But nowhere in the world, even the ancient Chinese astronomers , have not found any records regarding the supernova (appearance which, if it occurred, would have been visible from across the globe).
The fact that neither King Herod nor the other people of Jerusalem did not know the existence of the Star before the arrival of the Magi suggest that its presence was not an untrained eye out - contrary to popular belief that Star would have been a very shiny object. Starting from this trade, in 1999, Professor Mark Kidger formula for the first assumption that Star of Bethlehem was the effect of another type of stellar explosion, less spectacular, known as a nova. A nova could shine like a star and, in addition, it may give the feeling that moves like a meteor, corresponding information provided by the story.
Moreover, Korean and Chinese astronomers recorded the existence of a nove even 5th year in BC (Which would actually be born Christ). Solve the mystery of Star Kidger's hypothesis? From a scientific standpoint, this is the most plausible explanation we have.
Erupts as a nova?
In the universe, most known stars belong to binary systems consisting of pairs of stars orbiting around each other. In some cases, a red giant star called it locks into an orbit very close to a celestial body smaller (about the size of Earth) called white dwarf. Red giant is actually a star that stage of life environments in which it has consumed a large portion of the hydrogen and the approaching end of life. It is red because it has a low temperature. White dwarf represents the core of the former red giant and is in the form of a compact stars formed from what remains after a star has traveled medium red giant stage.
When red giant locks on a close orbit of the white dwarf, the latter enhanced gravity draws material from the larger star. Stolen material (composed mainly of hydrogen) is wrapped around a disc also dwarf. After thousands of years, spiral shell of hydrogen becomes so hot and dense that produces a devastating natural thermonuclear explosion. The result is the transformation of dwarves and giants in one cosmic body, a nova, which shines approximately 100,000 times stronger than the two former stars who have given birth.
Instant nuclear fusion could be an answer to the mystery nove genesis of the Eastern Star?
It has long been believed that Star of Bethlehem would have been a supernova. Call supernova explosion at the end of a star's life during which much of the material the star is scattered in space. Following the phenomenon remains a neutron star or a black hole. Supernova is the most glamorous event in the universe. The fact that no one on Earth has not recorded any occurrence of supernova in proximity birth of the Savior laid but researchers think.
In 1999, British astronomer Mark Kidger, of the Institute of Astrophysics in Tenerife, formulated a hypothesis which, in scientific terms, it seems best to solve the mystery and more Star of Bethlehem. According to Kidger, Steaua would have been a so-called nova. Less visually spectacular than supernova, nova is a phenomenon that occurs when hydrogen is a star "stolen" from another star (see box below).
In his Star of Bethlehem from the perspective of an astronomer, published in 1999, Kidger demonstrate that a nova corresponds to the key elements of the biblical story - from its looks simple star, to the ability to guide the wise men from the East (which they had outstanding knowledge - including our time - astronomy) on their long journey from Persia in Judea. Moreover, ancient Chinese astronomers recorded and Korea in mid-March of the year 5 BC, the emergence of a bright celestial object in the constellation Hawk - date confirms the results of research into year and month of birth of Christ . Kidger indicated and binary system that spawned the Star of Bethlehem: this is called DO Aquilae and is today in a phase of "hibernation".
Other articles on the same theme:
- Ancient Bible, published in digital format
- Secrets Behind the Shroud of Jesus from Turin
- 5 Myths About Christianity
- How old is the Bible? We include Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religious movements such as the Rastafari
- After 500 years, Jesus' tomb was open again. '' I was amazed at what I found under the marble
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