, Date of Jesus birth | Foundations

Date of Jesus birth | Foundations

Date of Jesus birth | Foundations


Date of Jesus birth

This is a copy of a comment on question of when Jesus was born (what time of the year, and also what year). It is not exhaustive but does offer a fairly comprehensive view.

There are a number of ways of figuring out what time of year Jesus was born in.

  • It can’t have been December because too cold for sheep outside then.
  • The dates of the possible matches for the Star of Bethlehem (see list below).
  • Jewish Mazzaroth/Zodiac: Virgo bearing wheat in her hand/hands? “Star Ascendant”? Age of Pisces?
  • The Jewish calendar of feasts/festivals/holidays and months names and starts of civil & sacred year. Some think Jesus was born on feast of tabernacles or trumps or first fruits.
  • John was conceived 6 months before, but I am not aware of any sources saying when John’s father was serving in the temple. This might match a similar period between Jewish calendar feasts?
  • The time of Roman census or “indiction”. The date of the Indiction was Sept 1 (Greek) or 25 (Caesarean) or Jan 1 (Gregorian). The mass oath was in Aug 3 bc.
  • “The De Pascha Computus, an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around 243 ad, placed Jesus birth on March 28th.” “Clement, a bishop of Alexandria (died ca 215 ad), thought Jesus was born on November 18th.”
    “Based on historical records, Fitzmyer guesses that Jesus birth occurred on September 11th”.

As to the actual year I find it difficult to narrow down Jesus life to less than the 60 years between the 19 bc and 39 ad. One major difficulty is ancient and medieval sources already using an BC/AD system and we can’t be sure whether the start dates are right or wrong in different sources.

  • Daniel prophesied 69 weeks of 7 years, or 483 years from decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple to the Messiah. This may possibly linked with Halley’s comet (76 yrs)?
  • Jesus born “in the 309th year of Alexander (the Great)” & Cyrinus sent year before?
    “Archelaus succeeded … in the year 312 of Alexander”.
    “in the year 341 of Alexander, 1 year before the crucifixion of our Lord the Christ ….”
    “… in the year 342 of Alexander, Our Lord Christ was crucified ….”
  • There are candidates for the Star of Bethlehem between 17 bc and 9 ad including:
    17 bce comet?
    12/11/9 bc Halley’s comet Aug 25th 56/63 days China (Dio Cassius RH 54:29)?
    9 bc conjunction Uranus & Saturn?
    7/6 bc/bce conjunction of (Mars &) Jupiter & Saturn (3 x in Pisces) 5 months in (20th/end Feb, 12th Apr), 20/21/29th May, sep / (2)3rd Oct, 4th Dec, (end Jan)? *
    6 bc conjunction (Sun &) Jupiter & Moon & Saturn in Aries (Ven & Mars in neighbouring constellations) 6/17 Apr.
    6 bc conjunction Uranus & Venus?
    5 bc object/tailed-comet/nova (70 days, China/Korea)?
    4 bc comet with no tail that didn’t move (Korean)?
    ca 4 bc comet & conjunction several planets in Pisces (DSS)? *
    (3 bc conjunction of Venus & Saturn (in eastern sky) in 12 Jun?)
    (3 bc conjunction of Jupiter & Venus in Leo in 12th Aug?) *
    3 bc conjunction Venus & Mercury 31 Aug?
    3-2 bc 7 conjunctions Jupiter & Regulus?
    3-2 bc conjunction of Jupiter & Regulus in Leo (1st of 3 x over 8 mo) between 14 Sept 3 bc & Jun 2 bc? *
    2 bc conjunction of Jupiter & Venus near Regulus in Leo in (West at) sunset in 17 Jun?
    2 bc Venus rose to mark sceptre in Leo 18/20/24 Aug? *
    2 bc Jupiter stationary 25 Dec.
    1 bc Jupiter & Venus in Virgo in sw (July)?
    1 ad Venus rose in Aries 27 Mar?
    9 to the comets (Dio Cassius).
    11 ad ban on astrology,
    14-37 Tiberius interested in astrology and nativities.
    19 Jewish astrologers expelled from Rome.
    23 ad Chinese astronomer.
    36 ad Egyptian astronomer.
    39 ad comet.
  • Jesus was born near the end of Herod the Great’s reign 47/44/41/40/38/37-4/1 bc or 3 ad (ASC).
    Jesus born “in the 32nd year of Herod” & Cyrinus sent year before.
    (Temple built in 15th/17th/18th yr Herod ca 21/20/19/early 17 bc.)
    “Then Herod died, having lived in his city 70 years, he reigned 34, in the year 44 of Caesar.”
    There was an eclipse at/before Herod’s death: eclipse 9 bc? 6 bc double occultation of Jupiter by Moon close to sun in Aries 17 April? 4 bc lunar eclipse 13/15 Mar? eclipse 1 bc? Eclipse 10 ad? eclipse 26 ad? eclipse 29 ad?
    (Eclipse cycle is 56 (19, 19, 18) or 65 (19, 19, 27) yrs.)
  • Jesus was born in the reign of Augustus Caesar 44/43/42-31/30/28/27/19 bc – 14 ad. (Census Augustus & Tiberius 13/14 ad. Josephus has Augustus with 57 yrs (14 yrs with Antony) and died at 77 yrs old. Or “Augustus lived 75 years and died after having reigned for 56 years”.)
    Cyrenius is the 37th yr of Augustus in Josephus.
    “Jesus born 42nd Augustus 1 ad” (ASC, Exiguus) or “the 44th year of Augustus” & Cyrinus sent year before.
    “Archelaus succeeded him in the year 45 of Augustus Caesar”.
  • Jesus was born in the time of Cyrenius/Quirinus (or Kyrios “lord”?) whose dates are 14 bc (Cyrene), 12 bc (consul), 12/11-2/1 bc or 10-7 bc or 5-3 bc or 4-1 bc, 6/7-11/12 ad. Cyrenius is the 37th yr of Augustus in Josephus.
    “prior to that year (32nd of Herod, 309th Alexander, 1st of Jesus, 44th of Augustus), the Romans had sent the judge Cyrinus to count the population subject to tax.”
    Or it might be Quin(c)tilius whose dates are 13 BC consul, 7/6-4/3 BC Syria, Varus 6-3 BC, 8 ad consul.
  • There was a census when Jesus was born. The period of censuses in different sources is either 21/20 yrs, 14/15 yrs, 11 yrs, 7 yrs, or 5 yrs. There were censuses in 30 bc (Egypt), 28 bc (Suetonius, RGDA), 27 bc (Gaul), 12 bc (Gaul), census of Herod 12 bc? 12/11 bc (Dio Cassius)? 9 bc (Egypt), 9/8/7 bc (of Roman empire/citizens, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Censorinus, Josephus 16:6:1-8, Tertullian, Ancyra, Suetonius), 7/6 bc (maybe, not recorded)? 7 bc (Cyrene), 3 bc (mass oath, Josephus 17:41-45, pater patriae 2 bc), 6/7 ad (Quirinus), 13/14 (RGDA, Suetonius), 20, 33/34.
    It is also said that there was a census in time of Saturninus according to Tertullian. Saturninus’ dates are consul 19 bc, consul 11 bc, 9-7/6 bc (Tertullian), consul 4 bc, “3/2 bc”? 4-6 ad (Tertullian), 19-21 ad (Tertullian).
    “prior to that year (32nd of Herod, 309th Alexander, 1st of Jesus, 44th of Augustus), the Romans had sent the judge Cyrinus to count the population subject to tax.”
  • Herod Archelaus was ruling when Joseph & Mary & Jesus came back from Egypt. His dates are 4 bc or 3 ad – 6 ad (Matthew, ASC).
    “Archelaus succeeded him in the year 45 of Augustus Caesar in the year 312 of Alexander; and Archelaus ruled for 9 years”.
    Jesus “was then aged 4”.
  • Jesus was 12 yrs old when they went up to Jerusalem at passover.
  • Jesus was (between 12 and) “about 30” years old in the 15th regnal year of Tiberius whose dates are (13 bc, 7 bc,) heir 4, emperor 12/13/14/15/16-37/39 (census Augustus & Tiberius 13/14, 18, 21, 31). (“Tiberius Caesar reigned for 23 years and lived 78 years.” Quake in his 1st year. “In the year 7 of his reign, Herod built … Tiberias. In the year 14 the procurator Pilate was sent to the Jews.”)
    So the 15th yr would be 27/28/29/30 ad?
    “In the year 17 of Tiberius Caesar… 1 year before the crucifixion of our Lord the Christ ….” “In the year 19 of Tiberius Caesar… Our Lord Christ was crucified ….”
    The saying of ‘Tammuz’ that “great Pan is dead” in the reign of Tiberius might possibly connected with the death of Jesus according to some sources.
  • Luke also says there were also reigning/ruling at the time of Jesus baptism:
    Herod Antipas 4 bc – 17-27/31/35-defeat 36-deposed 38/39 ad. (“Herod as successor who reigned 28 years”.)
    Herod Philip 4 bc or 12 ad – 34 (or 33-36) ad. (“In the year 7 of his (Tiberius’) reign, Herod built … Tiberias.”)
    Lysanias 14-29/42 ad?
    Annas 6-15 (son 16-17, son in law 18-36, son 36-41, 43, 44, 63).
    Caiaphas 18-36. (“There were between Hannan and Caiphas less than 4 years, according to Eusebius”.)
  • Jews said the temple had been built for 46 yrs (John 2). Temple built in 15th/17th/18th yr Herod ca 21/20/19/early 17 bc. Temple quarry date 19 bc. (15 bc Agrippa visits Jerusalem and offers hecatomb in temple.)
  • Matthew 16 occurs at Caesarea Philipi. 25-13 bc Caesarea built.
    Caesarea Philip’s dates include 3 BC – 14 – 29/30 – 34 ad.
  • Pilate was in office at time of Jesus baptism (Luke). Jesus was crucified during the rule of Pontius Pilate whose dates are 26 – 36/37 (ASC).
    “In the year 14 (of Tiberius) the procurator Pilate was sent to the Jews.”
  • There was a quake and a darkness/eclipse at the crucifixion.
    Eclipse 10 ad?
    Quake in 1st year of Tiberius.
    17 earthquake Anatolia.
    eclipse 26 ad?
    eclipse 29 ad?
    “Jewish tradition (Talmud & Josephus) makes mention of a mysterious spontaneous opening of the heavy iron temple-doors 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem (70 ad)”.
    32 ad darkness/eclipse (Thallus/Africanus).
    33 ad Fri 3rd Apr “eclipse/blood-moon”?
    Crucifixion 33 ad (ASC).
    37 ad earthquake Antioch.
  • Jesus was (between 12 and) “about 30” when he was baptized, and is often supposed to of had a 1-3 yrs ministry (half week in Daniel?) but bible also says “his generation” and says “you are not yet 50”, so he might have lived anywhere from 31 to 49 yrs?

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