The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View is an analysis of the astronomical portent found in the Gospel of Matthew which supposedly led the Magi from the East to the birthplace of Jesus. Throughout history, people have tried to connect the Star to real, naturalistic phenomena, as well as to explain it in other ways. Adair takes a thorough look at all of these explanatory attempts, using the tools of science and astronomy, and finds them fundamentally wanting. Take a trip through the heavens above with Adair as he critically explores many centuries of flawed hypotheses, looking to answer the question "Did the Star of Bethlehem really exist?" This book is at the conjunction of science and religion. "Well researched, scientifically reasoned, elegantly concise, this book will long be required reading on the 'Star of Bethlehem'. Full of fascinating historical facts, and better informed and more careful than any other book on the subject, this should be on the shelf of everyone interested in that legendary celestial event." Richard Carrier, Ph.D., author of Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. "A fascinating and readable feat of hardcore historical legwork and keen scientific analysis." David Fitzgerald, author of The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons. ..".tightly-argued, well-reasoned.... Adair masterfully demonstrates why every effort to rationalize the Star thus far has failed.... A concise and rigorous must-read for anyone interested in religion, history, and modern efforts to understand the past." Jason Colavito, author of The Cult of Alien Gods.
Tracing the possible origins of the Magi's star, the author uses an ancient Roman coin as a starting point to investigate the possibility that the legendary star may in fact have been an eclipse of Jupiter and the star Aries.
This book reports the results of the first ever multidisciplinary scientific conference dealing with the Star of Bethlehem, presenting the views of renowned specialists in astronomy, the ancient near-eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, and the history of science and religion.
“I am simply in awe of this book. An absolutely astonishing triumph.” Eric Metaxas, New York Times best-selling author, Bonhoeffer The Star of Bethlehem is one of the greatest mysteries in astronomy and in the Bible. What was it? How did it prompt the Magi to set out on a long journey to Judea? How did it lead them to Jesus? In this groundbreaking book, Colin R. Nicholl makes the compelling case that the Star of Bethlehem could only have been a great comet. Taking a fresh look at the biblical text and drawing on the latest astronomical research, this beautifully illustrated volume will introduce readers to the Bethlehem Star in all of its glory.
This book reports the results of the first ever multidisciplinary scientific conference dealing with the Star of Bethlehem, presenting the views of renowned specialists in astronomy, the ancient near-eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, and the history of science and religion.
“Astonishing, delightful, and theologically sophisticated.” —Marvin Meyer, Griset Professor of Religious Studies, Chapman University Theologian Brent Landau presents the ancient account of Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, the three “wise men” who journeyed to Bethlehem to greet the birth of Jesus. The Revelation of the Magi offers the first-ever English translation of an ancient Syriac manuscript written in the second to third century after the birth of Christ and safeguarded for generations in the Vatican Library. Following in the footsteps of Elaine Pagels and her exploration of the Gnostic Gospels, including the controversial Gospel of Judas, Landau delivers an invaluable source of information to a world interested in learning more about the Nativity and the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Was there a meaningful stellar sign over Bethlehem? What did it look like to someone looking up at the night sky? Was the star a visual guide or a simply sign? Did wise men really come from the East seeking Israel’s Messiah sometime after the birth of Jesus? The biblical account of the wise men and the star that announced the coming of the Messiah of Israel has inspired and puzzled people for two millennia. Important aspects of Babylonian astronomy seem to be involved in understanding the star’s appearing. But in addition, The Lion Led the Way also explores the men and events from a profoundly Jewish perspective. The traditional Jewish names of stars and planets, Jewish symbols, as well as Jewish dates, all seem to be keys to unlocking the mystery of the famous star. The star of Bethlehem was not the brightest of the heavenly lights, nor was it the most spectacular starry manifestation of all time. However, it was part of the most meaningful set of celestial events in human history. The God of Israel is surprising. His ways are not our ways; his thoughts are not our thoughts. The star gives us a concrete example of God’s intervention in the universe. Who were the biblical Magi? Various wise men were important in the history of the vast region to the east of Judaea. Zoroastrian, Babylonian, Greek and even Jewish wise men all played a role there in several successive empires. A possible Jewish connection with the story of the biblical wise men has been long neglected. The Magi who arrived in Bethlehem seem to have been influenced by Judaism. They apparently understood at least part of the meaning of Daniel’s sixth-century BC prophecy concerning the 70 “sevens.” The prophecy has to do with time. The Babylonian astronomers were uniquely qualified to perceive the connection between time and the heavens. Based on their knowledge and the ancient biblical texts, they saw how the “sevens” were related to the birth of the Messiah. The Magi were seeking God’s kingdom centered on the Messiah, the Righteous One. Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, is still making himself known. His ways are as mysterious as ever, and his humility is unsurpassed. The third edition of The Lion Led the Way contains about 45 pages of new material. Book website:
Alexandria, Egypt / AD 391 ─ When the great temple of Serapis and its library annex are destroyed by the Christian mob, the Neoplatonist philosopher Hypatia becomes concerned the Great Library might suffer the same fate. She vows to save as much of the ancient knowledge as she can, especially certain telling documents concerning the origins of Christianity. But rather than merely hiding the heretical scrolls and codices in desert caves and hoping for the best, Hypatia contrives a far more ingenious plan. She sets up an elaborate sequence of burials, each of which is governed by actual ancient linguistic and geometrical riddles which must be solved to gain access. Only one steeped in Platonic mysticism would be capable of finding and unlocking the buried secrets. Oxford, England / June, 2006 ─ American Rhodes scholar Lex Thomasson is sent to Alexandria to aid a mysterious Vatican group known only as “The Commission.” They require a specialist in ancient languages to solve a sequence of Greek Mystery puzzles in what soon becomes evident is Hypatia’s ancient treasure hunt. The Oxford paleographer demonstrates his unique talents by unlocking the secrets along the trail. It does not take long, however, for him to become suspicious of the Commission’s true motives, and the trail becomes a trial fraught with danger. The scene alternates between the two time periods. In both, assassins lurk and fanatics abound. And all along, religious Faith and historical Truth struggle for supremacy.
Two thousand years ago, according to the Bible, a star rose low in the east and stopped high above Bethlehem. Was it a miracle, a sign from God to herald the birth of Christ? Was there a star at all, or was it simply added to the Bible to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy concerning the birth of the Messiah? Or was the Star of Bethlehem an actual astronomical event? For hundreds of years, astronomers as prominent as Johannes Kepler have sought an answer to this last baffling question. In The Star of Bethlehem, Mark Kidger brings all the tools of modern science, years of historical research, and an infectious spirit of inquiry to bear on the mystery. He sifts through an astonishing variety of ideas, evidence, and information--including Babylonian sky charts, medieval paintings, data from space probes, and even calculations about the speed of a camel--to present a graceful, original, and scientifically compelling account of what it may have been that illuminated the night skies two millennia ago. Kidger begins with the stories of early Christians, comparing Matthew's tale of the Star and the three Magi who followed it to Bethlehem with lesser-known accounts excluded from the Bible. Crucially, Kidger follows the latest biblical scholarship in placing Christ's birth between 7 and 5 B.C., which leads him to reject various phenomena that other scientists have proposed as the Star. In clear, colorful prose, he then leads us through the arguments for and against the remaining astronomical candidates. Could the Star have been Venus? What about a meteor or a rare type of meteor shower? Could it have been Halley's Comet, as featured in Giotto's famous painting of the Nativity? Or, as Kidger suspects, was the Star a combination of events--a nova recorded in ancient Chinese and Korean manuscripts preceded by a series of other events, including an unusual triple conjunction of planets? Originally published in 1999. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
When the shepherds are invited to follow the star to visit the Christ child, a young boy is left behind to watch the flock until the Angel Gabriel returns for him so that he can be the first to witness a true Christmas miracle.
An important and encyclopaedic study of the Christian doctrine of the Virgin Birth by a leading evangelical scholar.
The publication of the King James version of the Bible, translated between 1603 and 1611, coincided with an extraordinary flowering of English literature and is universally acknowledged as the greatest influence on English-language literature in history. Now, world-class literary writers introduce the book of the King James Bible in a series of beautifully designed, small-format volumes. The introducers' passionate, provocative, and personal engagements with the spirituality and the language of the text make the Bible come alive as a stunning work of literature and remind us of its overwhelming contemporary relevance.
A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible is a concise account of the whole biblical narrative and the lifestyle it inspires, representing a unique and engaging framework for those observing Christianity from the outside, especially those who think there are good reasons not to believe. In this book, Dickson provides a readable and winsome Bible primer summarizing the main themes in scripture, and addresses tough questions such as “How can we read the creation account in Genesis in light of modern science? “ and, “how do we approach Old Testament law when it appears inconsistent and irrelevant?” By presenting the whole of the Bible as an account of God’s promise to restore humanity to Himself, and humanity to one another and to creation, Dickson allows believers and skeptics alike to gain insight into why the Bible has been a compelling, life-changing, and magnetic force throughout the ages.
The birth of Jesus stands as a pivotal moment in the history of the world, marking a dramatic turning point in God’s plan to redeem creation from sin and death. Much to the world’s surprise, redemption had arrived . . . in the form of a lowly baby. Aimed at stirring your affections for Jesus, this meditative book will lead you on a step-by-step journey through the Gospels’ birth narratives, clearing away common misconceptions, making messianic connections, and setting the stage for Jesus’s later life and ministry.
A highly respected physicist demonstrates that the essential beliefs of Christianity are wholly consistent with the laws of physics. Frank Tipler takes an exciting new approach to the age-old dispute about the relationship between science and religion in The Physics of Christianity. In reviewing centuries of writings and discussions, Tipler realized that in all the debate about science versus religion, there was no serious scientific research into central Christian claims and beliefs. So Tipler embarked on just such a scientific inquiry. The Physics of Christianity presents the fascinating results of his pioneering study. Tipler begins by outlining the basic concepts of physics for the lay reader and brings to light the underlying connections between physics and theology. In a compelling example, he illustrates how the God depicted by Jews and Christians, the Uncaused First Cause, is completely consistent with the Cosmological Singularity, an entity whose existence is required by physical law. His discussion of the scientific possibility of miracles provides an impressive, credible scientific foundation for many of Christianity’s most astonishing claims, including the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Incarnation. He even includes specific outlines for practical experiments that can help prove the validity of the “miracles” at the heart of Christianity. Tipler’s thoroughly rational approach and fully accessible style sets The Physics of Christianity apart from other books dealing with conflicts between science and religion. It will appeal not only to Christian readers, but also to anyone interested in an issue that triggers heated and divisive intellectual and cultural debates.
Infinity and God have been close bedfellows over the recent millennia of human thought. But this is James A. Lindsay's point. These two ideas are thought, mere concepts. Lindsay shows in a concise and readable manner that infinity is an abstraction, and shows that, in all likelihood, so is God, particularly if he has infinite properties. This book is about math. It is about God. It is about stressing the importance of not confusing these two ideas with reality. Never the twain shall meet. "A short and engaging read on the meeting of two huge ideas, infinity and God, that leaves us seeing both as abstract ideas that may have nothing to do with reality. Honest and accessible, Dot, Dot, Dot is a great little book to stretch your thinking." - Peter Boghossian, author of A Manual for Creating Atheists "Timely, important and very readable, this book pulls the rug from under theists' feet." - Jonathan MS Pearce, The Little Book of Unholy Questions "Read this to avoid making any more cardinal sins and learn how much math is an amazing human endeavor." - Aaron Adair, PhD, The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View
This series of sermons was meant to challenge the rigid and uncompromising views that were held by Christianity in England at the time. Reverend Taylor was originally a doctor who took up the holy orders in the Church of England. His intense curiosity and desire to find the truth found him studying the roots of Christianity and its interesting connections to astrology and the signs of the zodiac. He came to the conclusion that Christianity is based on much older religions and its rituals are directly descended from ancient Egyptian and pagan practices. Although Taylor's holy orders were revoked and he was banned from preaching in the U.K., he continued his work in Ireland. He later returned to England and became even more controversial than ever. Arrested for blasphemy, he kept writing in jail. Upon his release he toured the universities of England with a colleague, debating and beating virtually everyone with material covered in this book. Subjects covered include the origins of Christianity, the real purpose of Jesus and the apostles, and the importance of the zodiac and its symbolism in relation to Christianity. Rev. Taylor was a trailblazer for all those who dare to question current beliefs.
"How utterly refreshing and encouraging to read Fr. Longenecker's extraordinary ruminations on something we all thought we understood, and obviously hardly begin to understand, until now. That he has dug so deep—so we can see things we have never seen before—is a testament both to his archaeological implacability and genius and to the happy fact that God has hidden endless treasures in the Scriptures for our benefit. —Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Martin Luther Modern biblical scholars tend to dismiss the Christmas story of the “wise men from the East” as pious legend. Matthew’s gospel offers few details, but imaginative Christians filled out the story early on, giving us the three kings guided by a magical star who join the adoring shepherds in every Christmas crèche. For many scholars, then, there is no reason to take the gospel story seriously. But are they right? Are the wise men no more than a poetic fancy? In an astonishing feat of detective work, Dwight Longenecker makes a powerful case that the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem really happened. Piecing together the evidence from biblical studies, history, archeology, and astronomy, he goes further, uncovering where they came from, why they came, and what might have happened to them after eluding the murderous King Herod. In the process, he provides a new and fascinating view of the time and place in which Jesus Christ chose to enter the world. The evidence is clear and compelling. The mysterious Magi from the East were in all likelihood astrologers and counselors from the court of the Nabatean king at Petra, where the Hebrew messianic prophecies were well known. The “star” that inspired their journey was a particular planetary alignment—confirmed by computer models—that in the astrological lore of the time portended the birth of a Jewish king. The visitors whose arrival troubled Herod “and all Jerusalem with him” may not have been the turbaned oriental kings of the Christmas carol, but they were real, and by demonstrating that the wise men were no fairy tale, Mystery of the Magi demands a new level of respect for the historical claims of the gospel.

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