TV: EWTNs The Star Of Bethlehem

Did anyone watch this show on EWTN yesterday morning? It was incredibly interesting. It is about the placement of stars in the heavens during the birth of Christ, the visit from the Magi, Biblical references to stars, Revelations, passover, pentecost… etc… totally a cool show. I am hoping they have it posted some time soon on EWTN’s website.

yes I just watched it on TIVO, interesting, but I wish they had shown more of the actual stars and less talk, I am particularly struck by the part linking the woman in Rev. 12 and the conjuction of Virgo rising with the crescent moon at the supposed time of the Annunciation, and its correspondence (which the commentator did not make) to the image on the Tilma.

My problem with people who are not well versed in a discipline–scripture study, astronomy, whatever–who attempt self-teaching and then base a theory and a book on their research–is exactly what happens in this commentator’s narration–at least twice he bolsters his theory by posing a supposition of his own as evidence to support the initial theory. That is a logical fallacy. For instance he makes a supposition about Herod, which may or may not be historically accurate, to support his main line of thought. He does the same thing about the Magi, as in, “maybe they are the ‘good’ Eastern variety of magus.”

Yeah… the Revelations thing about Leo and Virgo rising with the moon at her feet… was just wow! I agree with you about the whole self teaching thing. But still it was interesting… and it will be on again on Dec 27th at 5:00 pm…

Are you saying the magi were “bad”?

My husband and I have seen the video 4 times and each time we gleen more from it. It is very facinating. The guy who does it lives in College Station, TX and we have actually been talking about getting him to go to lunch with us and give him a copy of the book about Our Lady of Guadalupe which has the overlay of the stars on Her tilma. It would be interesting to see if his computer program projects the sky the same as her tilma on the same dates or close to it. Who knows, maybe it would spark his interest in the Catholic Church where he could further his research in the truth.

I am just repeating what the commentator said, I have no idea if there were, in fact, “good” and “bad” magi, it is his theory, not mine

The narrator said that the Eastern Magi were more true to God… that the others had kind of strayed a bit, but that people of that time would definitely know that if he said from the east… it was the faithful ones.

There are numerous theories among Biblical chronologists as to the date of the Birth of Christ and the meaning of the Star of Bethlehem. The theory cited in the posts above is not a credible idea in Biblical chronology. No Biblical chronologist would base a date for the Birth of Christ solely or mainly on an idea as to the meaning of the Christmas Star. There are numerous other chronological questions that need to be answered in order to support any date. This man’s explanation as to the meaning of the Star is presented by itself, without any comparison to the numerous other ideas of researchers in this field. I’m sure that these ideas seem very compelling when presented in an entertaining show with lots of pictures. But the idea is without support in the field of Biblical chronology.

A partial list of current theories on the Christmas Star:

  1. entirely supernatural, and so not corresponding to any celestial event.
    (Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, n. 527)

  2. entirely mythical, drawn from the stories of Mithridates (I would oppose this idea on the grounds that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God)
    (Finegan, n. 532ff)

  3. a supernova (Finegan, n. 531)

  4. a comet (Finegan, n. 531); see also Vardaman and Kokkinos (n. 543), who each propose that this comet was Halley’s Comet of 12 B.C.; another comet in 5 B.C. is also suggested (Finegan, n. 539).

  5. a comet against a background of numerous stars, as well as a supernatural light that was borne by an Angel, leading the Magi to Bethlehem; so partly natural and partly supernatural. (Blessed A.C. Emmerich, Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, XI THE JOURNEY OF THE THREE HOLY KINGS TO BETHLEHEM)

  6. a single star (Num 22:1), perhaps a new star (Finegan, n. 539).

  7. a conjunction of 2 or 3 planets, of which several different conjunctions have been suggested, most famously by Kepler (Finegan, n. 538ff): of a triple conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in 7 BC; Finegan mentions another conjuntion in 5 B.C. (n. 542).

  8. Finegan mentions conjunctions of Jupiter with Venus, and of Jupiter with the star Regulus, in 3 and 2 B.C. However, many scholars date the death of Herod in or prior to 4 BC, which would rule out a later date for the Birth of Christ.

But a new moon seen near a Zodiac conjunction would be a frequent event, and not such a celestial event as to uniquely indicate the date of the Birth of Christ.

Just as a matter of (hopefully) helpful clarification, these same possibilities that you list are also addressed in the program, specifically in regards to Josephus’ writing ruling out the convergence of Jupiter and Venus in 2-3 BC… I would say that it’s certainly worth AT LEAST giving it a watch before objecting that it presents non-credible ideas.

I saw it and was wowed! I would like to know if what he said was all true about the stars and planets. I enjoyed it very much.

Yes, I found the astronomical events during Christ’s life fascinating, if, of course, they are as indicated, but I would urge caution regarding Stephen McEveety’s interpretation of these events. For instance, his assertion that the star constellation Virgo with the moon at its feet clothed with the sun was what John saw in Revelations 12:1 is to discredit one of the passages of scripture that Catholics use to support its doctrine on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. On this point as well as a few others, I question EWTN’s wisdom in showing this programme as it was presented. :confused:

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