The Star of Bethlehem in the Blogosphere

NOTE: There is an announcement at the end of this post.

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 found here. 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 a red 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.

9 thoughts on “The Star of Bethlehem in the Blogosphere

  1. Kindle version? 😛

    Sounds highly useful. I didnt know there was so much debate about it. Especially since Christians shouldnt have any problem saying it was all supernatural and a miracle. Unless they want to copy the naturally occuring “star” from Mithradates’ birth or the “star” that signaled Caesar’s ascension

    • There ought to be electronic versions as the publisher I’m working with had both material and electronic versions of books.

      There have been centuries of naturalistic proposals for the Star, some by Bible scholars (mostly in the past) and some by astronomers (more commonly now), and they are used by apologists. After all, a natural event is easier to defend than a supernatural one. It’s also a lot easier to show that an alignment of planets happened than a miracle Star moved about Judea. That gives it power, and some apologists have straight-out said the naturalistic Star has great apologetic utility.

      So, I hope you will buy at least seven copies. 😉

      • Someone should question why an atheist would tackle the Gospel of Matthew.

        It should be obvious: only to spread atheist propaganda and to make an exegete of the Ant-Christ!!! How hilarious can you get and what hidden motives are behind this claim of historical prowess?. To drain the Gospels of historical truth and inject atheism into the origins of Christianity and deny the historicity of the IGospel accounts. It is called Crocodile Exegesis.

        If you should meet a crocodile
        Don’t take a stick and poke him.
        Ignore the welcome of his smile,
        Be careful not to poke him.

        For as he sleeps upon the Nile,
        He thinner and gets and thunner.
        Whene’r you meet a crocodile,
        He’s looking for his dinner.

        Don’t be devouredby this atheist crocodiles!!!!!!!

        Father Clifford Stevens
        Boys Town, Nebraska l

      • Instead of presenting anything like an argument, you are just posting insults. If you can’t change that, if you cannot discuss things like a normal person, you will be blocked, just as you recently were for the same reasons at Skeptic Ink.

  2. Pingback: The Star of Bethlehem Documentary–A Critical View Index | Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars

  3. Everyone should ask the question why an atheist is attacking the Gospel of Matthew. For one reason and one reason alone: he wants to infuse the Gospel with his atheist interpretation of the Gospels and of history. It is religious bigotry at its most clever trying to use history for atheist purposes. It is rather something like the AntiChrist as exegete.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  4. Aaron – Discuss things like a normal person? You are not a normal person – You are an atheist blogger, using science for unscientific purposes —- to undermine the historicall foundations of Christianity. If you stuck to science, there would be no problem Your hands are dirty and you have betrayed the very purpose of scientific research. You have left the domain of science and have entered the world of propaganda – for atheist purposes – and that doesn’t shame you?

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

    • OK, I had to let this comment through the spam filter to show anyone interested that they simply cannot have a conversation with you. You have explicitly said you will not treat me like a normal human being. Simply because I am an atheist and have opinions you don’t like. Well, don’t expect to convince anyone of your beliefs with that attitude, and don’t expect to be able to leave any comments here.

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