Researchers Believe That Jesus Was Not Born on Christmas Day

Andrei Tapalaga

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Adoration of the Shepherds by Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, 1632Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

The birth of Jesus Christ has been commemorated by billions of people around on December 25 for the last 2000 years. Despite this, most scholars happened to believe that Jesus was not born on December 25, not even in the year A.D. 1. 

Researchers in history, religion, and theology came to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church chose December 25 as Christmas day or the day Jesus Christ was born simply for its convenience of it. This is because December 25 ties in very well with Saturnalia, a festival dedicated to the Roman deity Saturn which was very appreciated 2000 years ago. 

Scholars point out other reasons why December 25 was chosen as the “official date”, such as diverting believers of pagan religions who have winter celebrations toward Christianity. This is what scholar Ignacio L. Götz mentions in his book entitled ”Jesus the Jew: Reality, Politics, and Myth-A Personal Encounter(opens in new tab)” where many other traditions within Christianity are questioned. 

The truth is that not even the Roman Catholic Church knows the actual date of when Jesus Christ was born. Despite this, researchers who have meticulously analyzed historical texts believe that Jesus was born between 6. B.C. and 4 B.C. This theory is very much based on the biblical story of King Herod the Great

King Herod the Great wanted Jesus dead, so he ordered that all male infants under the age of 2 who lived in the vicinity of Bethlehem to be killed. This event is better known as the Massacre of the Innocents. According to Roman historians, King Herod died in 4 B.C., therefore the date on which we believe Jesus was born could be wrong.

It is not only this story, but many other biblical texts that refer to the date as being wrong. A very important event that occurred during the birth of Jesus was the star of Bethlehem which guided the Magi to the newborn. 

“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1–2).

Astronomers and theologists have worked together and proposed certain dates for such astronomical events that could have occurred as based on the story from the bible. A conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurred in late 7 B.C. Chinese astronomers observed a brilliant night sky object, either a comet, a nova, or a supernova, around 4 B.C. Another impressive celestial display would have been the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus on August 12, 3 B.C.

At the same time, many historical texts contradict the bible when it comes to the story of the Holy Family’s wanderings in Egypt. Some of them point out that events whilst Jesus was born occurred during the years “Before Christ”. 

Scholar Ignacio L. Götz has also speculated that Jesus was a spring baby because pregnancies began in the fall after the harvests were in and there was enough money for a wedding feast. Certain beliefs may lead to certain conclusions, but in this case, these scholars are going by evidence in correlations to events that are mentioned in the bible. 

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