• The Star of Bethlehem in the Blogosphere

    [Aaron Adair is somewhat of an expert on the Star of Bethlehem and I look forward to working with him on a book project on this subject. This post and the following series are from his own blog, Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars – JP]

    In my last post I looked at what I could find in the news or related to articles and books on the subject of the Star of Bethlehem. There wasn’t too much going on there, so now I want to explore what is going on in the world of blogs. I think this is showing where the conversations are really moving to rather than in newspapers and journal articles, at least for things not done in a strictly academic fashion.

    But in some ways, the search is a bit depressing. There were hundreds of posts about the Star, yet almost none of my blog posts were in the top 100. :( You all will help change that, right?

    In looking through, there were a very large number of blog or forum posts promoting the ideas of Rick Larson about the Star of Bethlehem. His views are taken primarily from the former meteorologist Ernest Martin. I wasn’t sure how popular Larson’s views really were, especially among those that know the Bible, but my perusal suggests it may be one of the most popular theories out there. Here are some of those postings that either just have the video from Larson (via YouTube especially) or otherwise positive about his work:

    1. The Star of Bethlehem-must see video
    2. Star of Bethlehem, Real?
    3. The Star of Bethlehem
    4. Star of Bethlehem
    6. The Star of Bethlehem revisited
    8. The Star of Bethlehem – A Fairy Tale?
    9. The Star of Bethlehem
    10. Wanna know More about the Star of Bethlehem?
    11. Star of Bethlehem
    12. Star of Bethlehem (25 posts) (11 voices)
    13. Homeschool Christmas Special Topic: Star of Bethlehem
    14. The Star of Bethlehem
    15. The Star of Bethlehem Documentary
    16. Star of Bethlehem Documentary
    17. The Star of Bethlehem
    18. The Star of Bethlehem – A Review
    19. You know that whole “The Star of Bethlehem is Just Mythology” thing?
    20. The Star of Bethlehem

    All of these I found in the first 10 pages of Google blog hits, and all from the last couple of months. But I want to highlight two of them, the last two. Both come from Catholics at the website Patheos, and the last one is from a priest. So it seems that Larson’s film has had wide use for the faithful and the apologist defending the faith (item #19 uses the film in particular to prove the gospels aren’t myth).

    I should also note another promotion of the timeline and hypothesis of Larson/Martin given recently at a lecture by Science Oxford. They are not associated with the famous university, but they are an educational charity. The video of that presentation can be foundhere. It is from a few years ago, but nothing has really changed in the field to make it more or less correct pretty much.

    Leaving behind the Larson/Martin supporters, there are several blogs that give all the possibilities.

    1. That Christmas ‘Star of Wonder’ still leaves plenty to wonder about
    2. Star of Bethlehem
    3. The United Methodist Reporter: Star of Bethlehem: Exploring the mystery
    4. The Star of Bethlehem
    5. The star of Bethlehem -Theories and interpretations
    6. What Was The Star Of Bethlehem?
    7. Questioning Christmas: The Star of Bethlehem

    At the blog site Triablogue, they provide a number of resources about the Star, and they do more than pay lip service to the points of how the Star was understood as something supernatural by the readers of the era Matthew wrote. In my opinion, this is one of the better or more useful blog posts at the site.

    Moving around, a few locations are still favoring the conjunctions noted by Kepler, the ones in 7/6 BCE:

    1. The Star of Bethlehem: One Theory
    2. The Star of Bethlehem

    I have also found a few odd ideas out there, in particular relating the Star to Planet X or ared dwarf. There was also a talk that somehow included the Maya “prophecy” concerning 2012, but I don’t know the details; it may have just been mentioned to grab attention for astronomical things close to the solstice.

    Several other places give way to a supernatural, but historical, interpretation of the Star:

    1. The Star of Bethlehem
    2. Who Needs the Star?
    3. Star Of Bethlehem?
    4. The Star of Bethlehem
    5. Star of Bethlehem

    But not everyone is uncritical of the story. One example comes from a young man who likes to poke fun at the Institute for Creation Research–that’s a full-time activity, I would think. The CFI forums have a topic on the Pope and the Star, having some fun in the process. Andrew Sullivan links to another fun What If? from the creator of XKCD comics.

    Now, everything here, minus the one presentation I mentioned, was posted in the last couple of months. Going by that, even if there is little happening in the presses, the blogosphere is filled with people promoting one version or another of the Star, and there seems to be favoritism towards the ideas put forward by Rick Larson. I may need to blog about the issues with that person’s presentation later on (I had had an email from a professor wanting resources critical of it). Update: I have created a critique of Larson’s Star of Bethlehem documentary.

    But here I should announce something important: I will be publishing a book on the Star of Bethlehem this year! I am hooked-up with Jonathan Pearce who wrote the useful book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination. Aiming for September of this year, it should on its own be definitive in showing that all the naturalistic theories fail to match what Matthew 2 says about the Star, that none can be shown to have been astrological/astronomically interesting or meaning a king was born in Judea, and that the entire story is not historical. You know you want to have this under the Christmas tree, or perhaps on top replacing the Star you have up there because it never existed.

    Category: cosmologyJesusNaturalism


    Article by: Aaron Adair