Wow! That's more than loose. A group of bodies covering 50 degrees of sky could hardly have been refered to as a "star" could they?Btw, according to Starry Night, this "alignment" covered roughly 50 degrees of the sky (and also covered Pisces and Taurus). That's a pretty loose alignment!
I'm going with Mr.Webb on this because the reference to star(s) is pretty much a reference to astrology. And, like he says, astrology was a highly practised "art" in those days and equal to the "astronomy" of today. Back 2000 years ago there were significances placed on conjunctions and retrogrades... just like the surviving study of astrology has today. So, this may have only been a "star" or conjuction that you could see, obviously, on paper.Any celestial event that is assigned a 'meaning' (beyond physics) is within the realm of ancient astrology. Astronomy is 'observation' and astrology is 'interpretation'.
To date, all of the astronomical theories and possibilities have been thoroughly investigated. All of the astronomical theories are mundane, however, all astronomical commentators have done a superb investigatory job probing the window of time (7 BC to 4 BC) and coming up with possible 'Star of Bethlehem' candidates.
At the time of the birth of Christ astrology and astronomy were the same 'science'. In fact, the only reason that celestial events and objects were studied was to try to ascertain what 'meaning' was to be derived from the observed phenomena.
Christ, according to the New Testament, was born before King Herod died. Herod's death is a matter of historical account and it occured in April of 4 BC ( 3 B.C.E. because of no year "0" ).
Additionally, NO ONE but the Magi 'saw' the star.
Also, the 'star that rises in the east' is (also) the Sun. I mention this because there is a great deal of astrological/astronomical allegory incorporated into The New Testament account of Christ's birth. For Instance, 'a star that stopped over a house where the child and his mother were'.
The star that 'stops' is the sun at a solstice point (solstice means 'sun stationary') and a 'house' is a component of an ancient (and contemporary) astrological chart. The 'house' of the mother is the astrological 4th house which begins at the time of the summer solstice.
Some evidence is now forming which indicates a possible astronomical/astrological allegory.
The Old Testament states that the Messiah/King will be born in Bethlehem (Hebrew for 'house of bread'). Bread, in astrology is related to the astrological sign of Virgo (The Virgin). There is further writing in the Old Testament about a 'star' (asterism, which may be plural (also) for a collection of or constellation) linked to the birth of the Messiah/King.
The Persian Magi were highly advanced astronomer/astrologers. By 'highly advanced' I mean being possessed of the knowledge of the entire solar system as it is encoded in mathematic symbols in the construction of The Great Pyramid at Giza (2800 BC).
for a virtual mind boggling overview of The Great Pyramid.
With that said, it is my opinion that the Star of Bethlehem was an astrological event witnessed ONLY by the highly advance Persian Magi. The 'Star' was (IS) revealed in an ancient astrological chart by the astrological geometric associations (aspects) of the Sun, Moon and planets. The chart can be viewed here:
and a comparison of astronomical charts and astrological charts for the
2nd of March 5 BC can be seen here:
Note: (opinion) A certain group has gone to a great deal of obfuscation including 'calendar errors' (like no year "0") and ridicule of astrology in what can be interpreted as an attempt to hide the star. Including also having astrology be 'The Forbidden Zone' because astrology reveals the genesis of Christianity (The Sun/Son and the 12 astrological signs - or 12 apostles).
It is unimportant if astrology is considered by some to be 'non-science'. The astrological charts have been prepared by employing methods that were used at the time of the birth of Christ (same as the western astrological chart of today).
John Charles Webb, Jr.
http://www.royalty.nu/history/religion/Magi.htmlWe can't even say for sure how many Magi visited Jesus. The Bible does not specify three. According to Eastern tradition, the number was 12. The Western tradition of three wise men probably arises from the three gifts they brought to Jesus.
Tradition has it that in later years the Wise Men were baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle; all three became bishops and spent the rest of their lives spreading Christianity, and at the end of their lives they each saw the Star of Bethlehem again and were reunited. One legend says that they were over 100 years old when they met to celebate Christmas, then died within a few days of each other.
Their purported remains were brought to Constantinople by St. Helena, mother of the 4th century Roman emperor Constantine the Great, and later moved to Milan. In the 12th century they fell into the hands of Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who gave them to the Archbishop of Cologne, Germany. The archbishop built a cathedral for the relics in Cologne, where they remain to this day.
The carol "We Three Kings" was written in 1857 by an American minister, John Henry Hopkins Jr., for use in a Christmas pageant.
Wow! That is pretty awesome. Not an alignment obviously, so it's hard to imagine anyone would call it a star, but it's still pretty impressive! Also, being mid-day, I imagine nothing would have been visible for people not in the umbra. Where would you have had to have been to see the solar eclipse?I don't know if astronmers actually use it, but it's a navigation term: Closest Point of Approach.
Anyway, weird, but I may have gotten the wrong year there (they were similarly aligned 6AD on that date). Apparently, there was a solar eclipse on April 18th, but not for viewers in Israel. Here is roughly what they would have seen (if the sun had been eclipsed - since it is zoomed-out, the moon and sun sizes are exaggerated). Location: Tel Aviv. Still pretty cool.
Right on Russ... its a bit mystifying that the eastern account of the "magi" is the number 12.... right in line with the number of zodiacs... perhaps there were no "visitors" other than a zodiacal conjunction/alignment/eclipse/comet etc... The zodiacs were, after all, considered kings and gods and animal spirits etc... and still are.. in some circles.Baywax, I'd certainly buy a loose-language/backhanded reference to an astrological event. I've suspected something like that since it's not the first time I've seen reference to an "alignment" that isn't even close. All that can really be said is that all the visible planets are in the same quarter of the sky (which is still a remarkable event).
Thats not an easy thing to ascertain from Starry Night - I can't even be sure there was an umbra. It looked close to total from Philly though, so if there was, it was probably within a few thousand miles of there.Also, being mid-day, I imagine nothing would have been visible for people not in the umbra. Where would you have had to have been to see the solar eclipse?