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Source :  Pascal REMY


Our only sources of information on Jesus' birth are the gospels of Matthew and Luke of the Bible, which provide two different accounts of the nativity.

Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4BC. Furthermore, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod orders the "Massacre of the Innocents" — the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This implies that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this sets the Nativity at around 6BC.

Luke on the other hand places the Nativity during the Census of Quirinius which took place in 6 AD, although Luke also implies that the conception took place during the reign of King Herod - about 10 years earlier.

Because both Gospel accounts seem to assume that the birth took place some time before the death of Herod, most historians assume that Jesus was born around 4 BC or slightly before.

Some commentators have attempted to establish the date of birth by identifying the Star of Bethlehem with some known astronomical or astrological phenomenon. There are many possible phenomena and none seems to match the Gospel account. Raymond E. Brown, having studied the various astronomical explanations, concluded: "no astronomical record exists of what is described in Matthew". Many scholars regard the star as a literary invention of the author of the Gospel of Matthew, to claim fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy (Numbers 24:17)..

In the 6th century, Dionysius Exiguus made the incarnation of Jesus the basis for his chart of Easter dates, although he did not specify whether incarnation meant conception or birth. Dionysius' labeled the years since Jesus' incarnation Anno Domini (meaning "in the year of the Lord" in Latin), which is now abbreviated "AD". Later the abbreviation "BC", which stands for Before Christ was added. Dionysius' estimate is generally thought to be inaccurate; "although scholars generally believe that Christ was born some years before AD 1, the historical evidence is too sketchy to allow a definitive dating".

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- Category Religion - Other