Skip to comments.Texas A & M Professor Claims Proof Of Star Of Bethlehem
Posted on 12/20/2007 3:32:58 PM PST by shield
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 News) ― The Star of Bethlehem has befuddled scholars throughout the ages. Now, a Texas law professor claims to have scientific proof that the Star was real, and not purely biblical myth. He has another major discovery as well, which resulted from his study of the Star.
Texas A&M adjunct law professor Frederick Larson began researching the Star after putting up a nativity scene for his daughter. The lawyer in him, Larson said, required him to investigate what it was that he was putting up in his front yard. Beginning with the book of Matthew, he ended up on a decade-long odyssey into astronomy.
Larson is emphatic in saying that, although his quest was initially faith-driven, it became much more. "If I'm going to make a star hypothesis," he said, "I want to know, what did it do? Was it an angel? Was it a comet? Was it a myth?"
Although his story begins with one man's journey into the skies, it ends an unfathomable truth for some, that Larson said will change the way the world sees the Star of Bethlehem forever.
The Star of Bethlehem echoes the symphonic sounds of verses like "a star, a star, twinkles in the night" and "these three Kings of Orient are," along with oil masterpieces like 'The Adoration of the Magi.'
These pieces tell a story laid out in the Gospels. "Behold where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We have come to worship him (Matthew: Chapter 2)." This is a quintessential verse pointed to by scholars, of the Magi being led by a star to the Christ child, the King of the Jews, as they approached King Herod for direction to His location in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago.
Based on the three laws of planetary motion by German mathematician and physicist Johannes Kepler, Larson developed a video presentation using modern-day software. This new software can pinpoint events in the sky for any day of any year.
Larson first had to approximate the death of King Herod, which, based on the writings of ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, most scholars presume to be about 4 B.C. But Larson said he found a recent discovery that states a printing error occurred in the 14th Century. The error had incorrectly printed Josephus' presumption of Herod's death. This caused scholars to look at the wrong date in researching the Star of Bethlehem. "All the oldest manuscripts, before 1544, are consistent with Herod having died in 1 B.C.," Larson said. "That opens up the possibility for us to look in the years 2 and 3 B.C. There, the sky explodes!"
Many scholars have hypothesized the conjunction of planets theory before, but Larson said that alone might not have been anything spectacular to stargazers 2,000 years ago.
Something did happen, however, that was much more profound -- a triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and the star Regulus on April 3, 2 B.C., and a new moon. "What you had was two stars stacked on top of each other," Larson explained. "To an observer, it appeared to be the brightest star anyone had ever seen." Larson described it as an astronomical event that hasn't happened again in the 20th Century.
Larson also hedges much of his hypothesis on the existence of this Star phenomenon on nine points taken from Matthew. This includes: it rose in the east, it endured over time (eliminating that it could have been a comet or a meteor) and that it stopped over the place where the Christ child was born.
The last point has driven many people away from the idea that a Star of Bethlehem ever existed, but Larson said, although it is astronomically impossible for a star to "stop" over something, it did because of something called retrograde motion. "Wandering stars move around in a field of fixed stars, causing it to appear as though they're moving," Larson said. The Star would've appeared to move and stop.
Larson has come up against rigorous criticism from the scientific community for what they see as a religious approach to a scientific issue.
SMU adjunct professor of astronomy and physics John Cotton said Larson's approach is flawed, in part because he did not research ancient astrology. Cotton points to the work of modern-day astronomer Michael Molnar, who spent three years researching ancient astrologers to arrive at his Star hypothesis.
For starters, Cotton said, Molnar begins with the presumption of the time of Christ's birth as more plausible in 6 B.C., as the skies look much different in that year. He said that ancient astrologers and astronomers, such as what the Magi were said to have been, would have been in tune with the symbolism of the stars. Molnar puts the Star in line with Aries the Ram versus Larson's Leo theory.
Cotton said, "If it fits what you know, with the Matthew story, and it fits the ancient astrology then it's a reasonable candidate. [Larson's work] is nothing new because it was proposed years ago."
Other religious scholars said that there is no real consensus as to the exact time of birth or death of Jesus, thereby making any hypothesis on the Star of Bethlehem irrelevant.
According to biblical scholar Bruce Alan Killian, if one were to go by the astrology of the times as Cotton asserts, "Venus, called the wandering star by ancients, rose before sunrise on August 24, 2 B.C. and fulfilled prophecies in Jacob. Jesus called himself the bright morning star (Revelations 22:16)."
Looking at Larson's hypothesis of Venus rising as a conjunction with Jupiter (the King planet) and Regulus (the King star), and the fact that Jacob calls Judah a lion in Genesis 49:9-10, according to Larson, "You can choose to see what you want, but, from the symbolic perspective, I see King, King, King everywhere."
Larson admits that he is riding on the backs of many great historians, scientists and scholars with his work, but added, "You begin by unearthing everything that's already been discovered and add to it." He said he respects and appreciates many great names in science on this subject, including the work of Molnar.
On the issue of adding value to the existing research, Larson said, "I resist just being a storyteller. What is new is the poem. The poem is a new discovery and it is striking." The poem is, in theory, an arch of symbolic celestial and astronomical events, Larson said, that began with the Star and a new moon at Christ's conception or birth.
Larson's presentation does, however, bring the Star of Bethlehem to life. His project brings color and clarity to a subject often too complicated and detailed for the layman to understand. If you are interested in seeing a purely scientific approach, the Museum of Natural Science at Fair Park will have their "Mystery of the Star" exhibit beginning December 3rd and running through the 21st.
"Who can I sue?"
self ping....wanna watch this thread
Please read “The Star” By Arthur Clarke, It might seem too strange to some but I love it
truly astounding. at the foundations of Science there will always be God waiting for our feeble minds to walk the path.
How do you prove or disprove a miracle?
...and Multivac said, “Let there be light!”
Since when does A&M have a law school?
Even if this guy is wrong, I believe he's at least on the right track. The "Star of Bethlehem" that is described in the New Testament was most likely a series of celestial events that would have looked pretty ordinary to most people, but would have portended great things to someone who studied the movement of the planets in the night skies.
What I was most surprised about was that Saturn, clearly stood out from the others has having something unique about because of the rings.
The apparent convergence of stars and a planet would have been quite an amazing sight.
Somebody needs to rub this into the face of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Hope he sends this proof to the ArchBishop of Canterbury.
If you get a chance to see the presentation you should do so.
I am envious
Trying to explain a myth using science is pure folly. Believe the story if you want to or not, but looking to "printing errors" in the 4th Century (1000 years before printing!) to explain what you want to swallow, and want others to swallow is an excercise in futility.
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