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The Star of Bethlehem

Could the $50 purchase of an ancient coin by a Rutgers astronomer have unlocked the mystery of the Christmas Star? For years, scientists have looked, with little success, to astronomical records for an explanation of the magical star that guided the Magi to Christ's manger. Intrigued by the image he found on the latest addition to his coin collection, Michael Molnar thought there might be more to learn by looking, instead, at the teaching of ancient astrologers. The author argues that the Star of Bethlehem was not a star at all, but rather a regal portent centring around the planet Jupiter when eclipsed by the Moon. He bases this theory on the actual beliefs of astrologers, such as the Magi, who lived around the time of Christ. Molnar found some intriguing clues to the mystery while researching the meaning of astrological symbols he found on an ancient coin, which bore the image of Aries looking back at a star. He found that Aries was a symbol of Judea at the time, and that ancient astrologers believed that a new king would be born when the Moon passed in front of Jupiter. Molnar wondered, could the coin have been issued as a response to the Great Messianic Portent, the Star of Bethlehem? To match the story of the appearance of the Christmas Star, Molnar also knew the event had to happen when Jupiter was "in the east". Using these criteria and a computer program, he was able to chart an eclipse of Jupiter in Aries on April 17, 6 BC, a day when Jupiter was precisely "in the east", which confirmed his theory. Moreover, he found that a Roman astrologer described the conditions of that day as fitting the birth of a "divine and immortal" person.
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About the Author

MICHAEL R. MOLNAR, an astronomer, is retired from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Rutgers University.


"This book has stunning new insight and approach, which finally gives a confident answer to a question that has fascinated all Christians through the ages."--Bradley E. Schaefer "Yale University " "Molnar's "The Star of Bethlehem" is a fascinating contribution to the immense literature that attempts to come to terms with the Christmas Star represented in Matthew's Gospel. In my opinion, this book is the most original and important contribution of the entire twentieth century on the thorny question of how events recorded there should be interpreted."--Owen Gingerich "Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics " "In support of an original interpretation of the Star, Molnar has assembled an impressive range of astrological and numismatic data, much of which will be new even to expert readers."--Virginia Trimble "author of Visit to a Small Universe "

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