Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bethlehem Star now falls under computer's gaze (ic Wales)

Nov 29 2004

David Williamson, Western Mail

A WELSH university is carrying out research into one of the world's most enduring mysteries - the star of Bethlehem.

Martin Griffiths, from the University of Glamorgan, is fascinated by the Biblical story which led the mysterious Magi from the East to the infant Christ.

Rather than dismissing the story as pure mythology, he thinks that it is likely something extraordinary did appear in the night sky 2,000 years ago.

The bright light, he speculates, may not have been an actual star but could have been caused by a unique conjunction of the planets.


A triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was seen in the constellation Pisces in 7BC. This blaze of light would have excited peoples in neighbouring cultures who looked for signs in the skies.


Anything's possible, but if I had to bet, I would bet that the star story is a legend, probably arising from messianic speculations based on Numbers 24:17 - a passage given messianic import both by ancient Jews and early Christians.

Also, for more on the Magi, see here.

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