Monday, October 29, 2007

The Star of Bethlehem and those that still follow it

Well, so far there have been some interesting comments on the web page about my article on the Star of Bethlehem and Sky & Telescope, and hopefully my responses have been at a reasonable level of content and conduct, though at least one thinks otherwise. I wonder how many or for how long the responses will be about how I am a "charlatan", "hypocrite", "intolerant", "arrogant", "opinionated", and how such a person will "neither trust nor believe that you are 'in agreement with the best scholarship;'” oh, and that's all from just one person! Well, I'll let others be the judge of the truth of these statements for those that read what I have done.

There is also a wealth of incoherence as well. One person wants to argue that there cannot be a contradiction between Matthew and Luke because such a mistake would have been caught by the early Christians. Sorry, but a mistake is not made true because a bunch of people happened to have accepted it decades after the fact when no one could double-check sources, ask witnesses, and that is if anyone in the movement had an iota of skepticism. Besides, the early Christians contradicted each other on most every detail, great and small. Irenaeus thought Jesus lived up to near the age of 50 and died under Emperor Claudius, well after the time of Pilate's rule in Judea; Tertullian said that Saturnius was governor of Syria when Jesus was born, instead of Quirinus as Luke said; etc. The argument is also based on the statement that "ancient Rome was a modern civilization in every respect." So, ancient and modern as the same now? I guess white and black are the same color, up and down mean the same, and I'm raking in money from by lucrative stock trades in Japan. I'm also confused why one person brought up the procedures at Abrams Planetarium. What does that even have to do with the historical truth of the Star? Smells like a red herring to me.

Fortunately, there have also been a fair number of good responses, and I would bet that there will be more positive comments to come, along with some constructive criticism.

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