Everything hangs together, and the following is another instance.
With some delay, my conscience protested that my discussion last week about Greek music did not mention Manos Hatzidakis (1925-1994), a.k.a. Hadjidakis. Listen to this great album Pame mia bolta sto fengari.
See this documentary on him, with a scene in which he handles a cardboard Moon sickle.
When is the Moon sickle on the left and when is it on the right ?
Astronomer Peter Barthel of Groningen university did a small sociological study that showed that people tend to portray a Moon sickle on the left also for early times in the evening, e.g. when children are still up and sing Xmas songs. In reality the evening has a right sickle, while the left sickle appears around four o’clock in the morning. See this paper in arxiv or this other in the Guardian on Xmas cards or this Dutch Talkshow in 2011. Barthel is a proponent for more attention to science in the public sphere.
Barthel’s conference on the Star of Bethlehem, October 2014
On the occasion of Groningen university’s anniversary of 400 years, Professor Barthel of the Kapteyn institute teamed up with Geurt (George) van Kooten, professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, and they organised a conference on the Star of Bethlehem. Professor Heino Falcke took the liberty to write this early report, in anticipation of the book that will be published by Brill.
Michael Molnar‘s proposition of his 1999 book The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi gets much attention by Falcke. Let me copy his copy of Molnar’s coin and the superimposed trajectory of Jupiter, and let me quote Molnar from his website.
“Superposed on the photograph of the coin is what I found: Jupiter underwent two occultations (“eclipses”) by the Moon in Aries in 6 BC. Jupiter was the regal “star” that conferred kingships – a power that was amplified when Jupiter was in close conjunctions with the Moon. The second occultation on April 17 coincided precisely when Jupiter was “in the east,” a condition mentioned twice in the biblical account about the Star of Bethlehem. In August of that year Jupiter became stationary and then “went before” through Aries where it became stationary again on December 19, 6 BC. This is when the regal planet “stood over.” – a secondary royal portent also described in the Bible. In particular, there is confirmation from a Roman astrologer that the conditions of April 17, 6 BC were believed to herald the birth of a divine, immortal, and omnipotent person born under the sign of the Jews, which we now know was Aries the Ram. Furthermore, the coins of Antioch and ancient astrological documents show that there was indeed a Star of Bethlehem as reported in the biblical account of Matthew. ” (Michael Molnar)
PM. Molnar refers to Firmicus Maternus at the time of Constantine in particular, but that is too late for our purposes. Interestingly, there is mention of Nero’s horoscope and Halley’s comet in 66 AD, which might give some credibility of Flavius Josephus’s story that he provided Vespasian that the latter would be the new king to rule the entire world. But FJ refers to an ancient tale and not the recent heavenly signs. And this still is 70 AD and not 6 BC.
Addendum December 24: It took me a while to find the criticism but here it is: Aaron Adair attended the Groningen Conference too, and this is his Summary. He is highly critical of Molnar’s approach, e.g. the Antioch coin and Aries sign would have no proper connection to the Holy Land. This is Adair’s book on the SoB, this is a refutation of Molnar’s review of Adair’s book, and this is Adair’s major criticism on Molnar:
“But if instead one sees what the texts says and to what purpose it was written, it makes so much more sense that the author of Matthew was not writing history, his Star was purposefully miraculous, and was written to show that Jesus was God’s anointed one, the Morning Star, son of the Dawn (Isaiah 14:12).” (Aaron Adair)
Jesus – Discussion of Jona Lendering’s new book “Israël verdeeld” (Israel divided)
Readers of this weblog know that I wrote a book The simple mathematics of Jesus (2012). The analysis shows that the Bible actually is an astrological book. Jesus wasn’t born in reality. There are stories overall, and the scene with the three magi may be taken from Alexander the Great or such. Jesus is the proverbial scape-goat born in Capricorn to be sacrificed on Easter (while Barabbas is the other goat that is set free into the wilderness, see this example in Yom Kippur).
Dutch historian Jona Lendering of the website Livius.org now in 2014 published a book Israël verdeeld (in Dutch) claiming a historical Jesus. Apparently he did not study my analysis. Stagnation again.
My discussion on the book: How a mainstream historical method creates its own Jesus.