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What Year Was Jesus Born? The Answer May Surprise You

Nativity2

What year was Jesus born? The answer may surprise you. You might think that Jesus was born in the Year Zero–between 1 B.C. and A.D. 1. You often hear that Jesus was born around 6-7 B.C. The evidence from the Bible and the Church Fathers, however, support a different year. Here’s what the evidence says . . . Not in Year Zero There is a good reason why Jesus wasn’t born in Year Zero: there wasn’t one. The sequence of years before Christ ends at 1 B.C. and the A.D. series picks up... Read More

Jesus’ Birth and when Herod the Great *Really* Died

Nativity

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus Christ was born in the final years of the tyrant known as Herod the Great. He tells us that when Jesus was born, Herod panicked and had all the baby boys in Bethlehem killed. Fortunately, the Jesus' family escaped to Egypt and remained there until Herod was dead. They didn't have to stay long, though. Here's when Herod the Great actually died . . .   Setting Aside a Common Mistake   For just over a hundred years, the question of when... Read More

Do the “Infancy Narratives” of Matthew and Luke Contradict Each Other?

Magi

What do atheist skeptics and liberal Scripture scholars have in common? They both love to find alleged “contradictions” in Scripture. Though there are many of these alleged “contradictions,” one of the favorites of both of these camps is one that you can expect to find being re-hashed again and again on the Internet:—especially now that we are approaching Christmas—the “contradictions” found in what are commonly referred to as “the infancy narratives” of St. Matthew... Read More

Does Luke Contradict Himself on When Jesus Was Born?

Quirinius

St. Luke begins the second chapter of his Gospel with a chronological note about when Jesus was born, writing: "In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria." (Luke 2:1-2) This passage has been subject to a lot of criticism, because Luke has already linked the birth of Jesus to reign of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5), and Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until years... Read More

The 100-Year Old Mistake About the Birth of Jesus

Herod

You know how people often say that Jesus was born in 4 B.C., 6 B.C., 7 B.C., or a time earlier still? The calculations that lead to these dates are all based on a proposal that was made just over a hundred years ago. But now scholars are challenging this proposal, because it looks like it's wrong. And it's been distorting our understanding of when Jesus was born for over a hundred years. Here's the story. . . . When Herod Died   The Gospel of Matthew records that Jesus was born during... Read More

God, Sex, and Bono

Bono

As demonstrated in his encyclical God Is Love, and more recently at the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, Pope Benedict XVI, like John Paul II before him, is intent on helping the world see the connection between divine love (agape) and sexual love (eros). To help us reflect on these themes, I’d like to turn to what may seem an unlikely source: Bono, lead singer of U2, which I consider the biggest rock band in the world. You’ve probably heard Bono sing about that... Read More