Friday, December 29, 2017 9:05 PM
The structure is self evident from the outline.
St. John Chrysostom (c. 345-407) said, “The Incarnate Word on coming to the world gave to Persia, in the persons of the Magi, the first manifestations of his mercy and light so that the Jews themselves learn from the mouths of Persians of the birth of their Messiah.”
There is a legend that the visit of the Magi (who were probably Zoroastrian priests) was foretold by Zoroaster himself, who had a vision of a new set of divine laws and principles. “His prophecy stipulated, amongst other things, that a number of Magi from his priestly caste should proceed under the guidance of divine light to the great One who was empowered to rule the whole world” (Atiya, 242-243).
I wanted to comment more on the birth of Christ as this event is reported in both Matthew and Luke (especially the chronological aspects). To view how I believe the accounts in Matthew and Luke fit nicely together I created a “harmony” of those sections (Harmony of the Gospel Nativity Accounts.pdf).
Then in order to view the entire overlap of Biblical, historical, and traditional data available to us now (as was not the case, not so long ago, when scholars work was based on a 4 BCE death of Herod the Great), I have prepared a PowerPoint timeline of the events leading up to and including the birth of Christ. Since the birth of Christ relates very much to later events of his life, I include the probable sequence of events that took place when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and, not long after, began his public ministry ending with the crucifixion and his exaltation (Christ is Born in December.pptx).
In order to really understand my references, I am afraid the reader will have to go elsewhere and do some home work. I can recommend this link HERE that is a nice simulation of the astrological events of 3-2 BCE. However, just be aware that the website owner proposes a Sept 11, 3 BCE birth date (not 25 Dec as proposed here). The aspect that I wish to draw the reader’s attention to, is not mentioned by name in the simulation. It occurred on 29 March, just after the spring equinox in 2 BCE, just after the time our Lord was conceived. You can get the idea and “see” it by replaying the simulation several times - the part that occurred midway between 17 Feb and 17 June of that year. More on the same subject, drawing heavily on the work of Earnest Martin, can be found at http://try-god.com/the-stars-over-bethlehem.php# (but this website also does not mention any observation regarding the 29 March “coronation” (which as far as I know, is my own, non-expert, interpretation of these astrological events). This website, by their own admission, is not bound by “the dark shackles of tradition regarding the birth of Christ.”
For more explanation of the star-set Spica I invite the reader to do a Google search for “wpj oomen.” Use quotes in your search. He has fascinating paper on academia.edu that proposes (with satellite photos) a site for an ancient location (Mount Khwajee, near Zabol, Iran) as the ancient site of the Magi’s observations. He was commenting and explaining his findings in 2009 and 2013 in blogs relating to this subject (so be sure read those comments).
As far as some reference to Herod’s death likely being in 1 BCE (thus pushing forward the possibility of Christ’s birth and changing the landscape of astrologic proposals for the star of Bethlehem) I include one link to get you started - a paper by Gérard Gertoux (Herod the Great and Jesus_Gertoux.pdf). Lastly, I invite the reader to explore some Orthodox information on this time period. The Infancy Gospel of James is available by web search in pdf. (Note: though the Orthodox church agrees with the account in this gospel, the gospel itself is not considered canonical.) Fr. Philopos Anba-Bishoy (under his holiness, Pope Shenode III) has a booklet available in pdf called, “The Flight of The Holy Family to Egypt” that includes a nice map of the traditional route in Egypt. (I hesitate to endorse any but the oldest and best attested sites within Egypt due to the accumulated influence of the tourist trade ;>) My theory only requires Belbes, Egypt (the first and last stop in the traditional route). A handy site for determining Hebrew / Roman dates is: http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/. (So, for example what day was Passover in 33 AD? April 3rd. What day of the week was 25 Dec 2 BCE? Wednesday.)
http://www.dec25th.info/ is an entire website dedicated to defending...you guessed it: Jesus being born on 25 Dec. Last, but not least, the reader should avail oneself of all the resources at the “Mystagogy Resource Center” website. John Sanidopoulos, the website owner, also argues for a 25 Dec birth of Christ (though I do not know if he would agree with all my conclusions).