RE: [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Tue Nov 24 2009 - 00:59:34 EST

Ted said:
"But it was OK for Christians to hold that God can use the stars to reveal events under his own control, and in that context the magi were led to Bethlehem. "
How would God use the stars to point the way to the Christ child? How would the Magi- astrologers of the day- get this message from God which isn't in the Bible. Did God speak to them, as if they are prophets? Astrology prophets? Good for then, but not now, because we have the Bible... but wait, they also had the Bible (the OT)...
Also- Murray, you can put two gospel accounts together to make a third, but please be aware that when you are doing that you are creating your own third gospel story, as you are combining elements of two different stories. For example, the Magi version doesn't have shepherds and the shepherd version doesn't have Magi. I think that could be a verboten form of "adding to God's Word."
Also- a challenge for those who take a stand for Biblical inerrancy- one of the most obvious Bible errors (contradictions) is in the nativity story. Matt 2;13 says that after Jesus was born, Joseph/Mary moved to Egypt. Luke 3:39 says no, they returned back to Nazareth. Bart Ehrman says "yes, there is a contradiction, but it is also interesting to see why." Both gospel writers had a job to do: explain how Jesus came to be born in Bethleham instead of from Nazareth, where his parents are from. So Matt creates a story about persecution with Herod, and Luke makes up a scenario about a census. Two different stories, both created to resolve the same prophecy problem. So join the 2 to make a new third version if you want, as long as you understand you are creating a third version (non-Biblical) of your own.
Also Murray- regarding your estimates about the size of the town of Bethlehem, it may have actually swelled because of the registering people were doing because of the census, as the story claims, which makes sense why there was no room except a stable outside.
Stuff to think about...

From: Ted Davis []
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 11:38 AM
To: asa; Dehler, Bernie
Subject: RE: [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?

I see there's been a flurry of activity related to ideas about the Star of Bethlehem. If in fact a misprint of Josephus led Kepler and others to accept of a birth year for Christ of 4 BC or earlier, that would be very interesting. I'm looking into that claim.

Many years ago I undertook a translation (which I won't be making public) of Kepler's treatise, "De vero anno quo Aeternus Dei Filius Humanam Naturam in Utero Benedictae Virginis Mariae Assumpsit," in which Kepler offered his view on this topic--I have a longstanding interest in it myself. In general, I recommend the following book on this topic:

Let me comment as follows, for Bernie: the dominant Christian view on astrology, Bernie, has since the time of Augustine been as follows. Deterministic astrology, in which the stars actually determine & control human affairs, is verboten. But it was OK for Christians to hold that God can use the stars to reveal events under his own control, and in that context the magi were led to Bethlehem. Most contemporary Christians, including evangelicals, probably no little or nothing about the history of astrology and Christian views of it; the same is true of almost everyone else as well--nothing peculiar to Christians here, Bernie. Thus, many evangelical preachers might be very reluctant to see the magi as "astrologers," despite the use of the word "Magi" in the Bible. Others might know something about this and mention it helpfully.


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Received on Tue Nov 24 00:59:51 2009

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