Two items appear below:

1   C hristmas Or Christmyth?
2   Star of Bethlehem


(Investigator 144, 2012 May)

December 25th was a Pagan day of celebration long before Christianity took it over from the Roman Saturnalia festival that was 4000 years older.

In fact there was no Christmas day for the first three centuries of Christianity until Emperor Constantine in 313 AD.

December 25th was the winter solstice had different meanings in different places:
In the Christian Christmas, these cultures were officially converted in 336 AD by Emperor Constantine by combining with earlier Pagan traditions. The addition of Christ to the celebrations of the winter solstice did not occur until more than 300 years after Christ.

In 350 AD Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25th. He did this to fit in with the Roman festival of their God Saturn.

Christ’s actual birth date according to several research records was on 1st March, BC 7 although Christian mythology tries its best to hide it. But all research points out it was NOT 25th December.

The other fairy stories of the three wise men following the star to Bethlehem and the shepherds are all part of the myth.

Just imagine a star, however big, could you locate over which house it is?

Records also show that Christ was born somewhere near Qumran, miles from Bethlehem.

Brian de Kretser
Institute for Research into Religions
Darwin, Australia




(Investigator 145, 2012 July)

Mr De Kretser (#144) correctly pointed out that Christmas festivities honoring Christ's birth replaced Pagan Roman festivities.

De Kretser's further claim that "Records show that Christ was born somewhere near Qumran miles from Bethlehem" is, however, weird considering that De Kretser has previously argued Christ never existed. What "Records"?

He also mentions "research records" showing Christ was born 1st March, BC 7" but declares the "three wise men" to be a "myth" — "Just imagine a star…could you locate over which house it is?"

We considered all such arguments in Investigator 81, 82, 88 and 119. The computer software Skymap showed that the planets Venus and Jupiter merged together as viewed from Earth in the eastern sky before dawn on August 12, 3 BC. Ten months later on June 17, 2 BC they joined again this time in the western sky after sunset.

Venus and Jupiter are both much brighter than Sirius, the brightest star. Their "conjunction" would have been spectacular compared to the usual night sky, besides being astrologically significant to the "wise men" (i.e. "magi" or astrologers). Jupiter to them would have symbolized kingship. And the New Testament twice compares Jesus to Venus — Revelation 22:16 and II Peter 1:19.

The "wise men" did not "follow" the Star for their entire journey but saw it "in the East" (Matthew 2:2) and would have calculated the date the Venus/Jupiter conjunction would recur.

The second conjunction was in the western night sky and was visible for perhaps 4 hours. The "wise men" probably decided on Bethlehem from the prophecy of Micah 5 — "But you, Bethlehem … out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel…"

If the "wise men" approached Bethlehem from the east after sunset, Venus-Jupiter would literally have appeared to travel "ahead of them" pointing the way.

The Star "stopped over the place where the child was".  "The place" refers to Bethlehem and the appearance of stopping could be produced by some slow-moving clouds surrounding the "Star".

 Matthew does not state how the magi found the exact house — they may have enquired about any newborn boy and confirmed matters with the father who led them inside to Mary. This would have been at least 40 days after Jesus' birth to allow for various legal rites for newborns mentioned in Luke 2:21-24. The shepherds who visited when Jesus was born therefore visited over 40 days before the magi — Christmas cards which show shepherds and magi together are mistaken.

The 2 BC birth-date agrees with Jesus' ministry commencing when Jesus was 30 "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar" (Luke 3:1, 23) i.e. in CE 29.

From the Gospels we know Jesus' ministry lasted 3½ years; therefore the above suggests the crucifixion occurred in CE 33.

Astronomer Duncan Steel writes: "Because Passover is at full moon, and the Crucifixion was on a Friday, only certain dates are feasible, 7 April in AD30 and 3 April in AD33 being the chief candidates…"

Steel says that allusions to the Moon being "turned to blood" after the Crucifixion could refer to a lunar eclipse. A computation of lunar eclipses visible from Jerusalem revealed a lunar eclipse occurred on one of the above "feasible" dates i.e. 3 April AD33.

For more information see my articles in #81, 82, 88 and 119 which are on the Investigator website.

Exact dates when added to hundreds of other checkable facts in the New Testament guarantee the accuracy of the Jesus story.


Steel, D. 1999 Eclipse, Headline, Great Britain, p. 21.

Bible defenders versus skeptics and atheists
Over 600 articles about the Bible from Investigator Magazine on this website: