Near as we can reckon, Spring 3 B.C.
Near as we can reckon, Spring 3 B.C.
Last edited by Sebas. Melmoth; 05-29-2010 at 08:09 AM.
Yes (sorry), late Spring 3 B.C., or so it has been calculated...
Perfectly simple. Bethlehem is 2550 feet up, and December is extremely cold. Shepherds and the breed of sheep in the Middle East would die if outside at night, therefore then, as now, would have been indoors. Therefore not December. Secondly, nobody could hope to get over the Judean Wilderness in December, least of all a pregnant woman on a donkey. Not December. The only clue is the prophecy in Daniel, which points toward late September or Early ctober. The point is, if we needed to know, the Bible would tell us, but since the ancient Hebrews looked upon birthday celebrations as Egyptian paganism, they didn't care one jot. The date of his death is the one the bible tells you to recall, referring to it as Christ our Passover. Hope this helps.
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I've heard 3/4 BCE as well, though there are some strong arguments that a literal Jesus figure never existed at all. Definitely not a topic for this thread, though!
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Well, the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks (Luke 2:8).
Shepherds like a nice warm indoors bed if they can get it; the only reason they were sleeping out of doors is because in the Spring when lambs are born they are very vunerable to predators--hence sheperds have to be out at night to guard the flock.
For an interesting read, check Eusebius' History:
Christ's-mass (Christmas) falls on the Roman celebration of Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, which is the day when the day begins to get longer. For many of the eastern churches, Christmas is actually celebrated on January 6. Since Scripture does not give us a date for Christ's birth, the image invoked by the lengthening of the day, the coming of the light, is pretty apt, I think.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htmThe well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont's epoch-making "Textes et Monuments" etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274. Filippo del Torre in 1700 first saw its importance; it is marked, as has been said, without addition in Philocalus' Calendar. It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances; the texts are well arranged by Cumont (op. cit., addit. Note C, p. 355).
The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cyprian, "De pasch. Comp.", xix, "O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . . . nasceretur Christus." — "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born."
In the fourth century, Chrysostom, "del Solst. Et Æquin." (II, p. 118, ed. 1588), says: "Sed et dominus noster nascitur mense decembris . . . VIII Kal. Ian. . . . Sed et Invicti Natalem appelant. Quis utique tam invictus nisi dominus noster? . . . Vel quod dicant Solis esse natalem, ipse est Sol iustitiæ." — "But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December . . . the eight before the calends of January [25 December] . . ., But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice."
I don't really see why it is a matter for Protestants though. If you believe in "scripture alone" then celebration of a Church tradition is somewhat ironical, in my opinion at least.
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Just so everyone knows, Yeshua was born in the summer and there was a manger in every house because it was a birthing room where _every_ animal was born, including humans.
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It's impossible to know when Jesus was born. There's simply not enough documentation. There's barely any historical evidence, if any at all, that suggests he actually lived.
Admittedly, I have not read all the responses. OP, you are correct in that the ancients to believe that Jesus was most likely born in the spring, not only the birth of the lamb, but the census and other reasons.
However, when converting pegans, Christians found it easier to take some of the traditionhs that they had and give them new meaning. So they took the darkest time of the year and added the brightest light; the coldest season and added warmth. The festival of Yule and incorporated new ideas; evergreen boughs which had been a symbol of immortality became the unending love of God to send his only son, etc.
I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.