Some alteration of hyperlink placement on my part…
I am impressed by Colin Humphreys’ “The Star of Bethlehem – a Comet in 5 BC- and the Date of the Birth of Christ” (click link to see original paper), [also in Qtrly Journal of Royal Astronomical Soc 32, 389-407 (1991)]. Colin argues that the ‘star’ was a comet noted in Chinese records. He gives lots of interesting detail, which includes:
–three striking celestial phenomena took place over two years (7-5 BC) of which the last was the ‘Star’ – a comet (so Jesus born in 5BC)
–Herod’s slaughter of two-year-olds is likely to be related to this timing
–references to a comet ‘standing over’ a place were standard terminology for historians (Dio Cassius, Josephus, Tacitus)
–the census was not for taxation but for oath of loyalty to Augustus, shortly before death of Herod the Great (which 6,000 Pharisees famously refused)
–the census was not ‘when’ Quirinius was governor of Syria, but ‘before’ that famous census Colin proposes the sequence:
- – Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
- – Visit of the Shepherds
- – Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
- – Visit of the Magi.
- – Flight to Egypt
- – Death of Herod.
- – Return from Egypt to Nazareth
and even gives dates to within a month or so.
Of course it makes sense that the Temple visit was before the Magi. Colin specifically refers to Raymond Brown’s work and answers it.
Compare the interesting ‘Astrophysicist researches Biblical star of Bethlehem’, http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/12/astrophysicist_researches_bibl.php