Biblical fictions

November 5, 1999

Even though both reviewer and author happen to be professional astronomers, it is surprising that Owen Gingerich ("Born under a wandering star", THES, October 22) seems unaware that few, if any, New Testament scholars accept the Star of Bethlehem narrative as historical. Recorded as it is in one gospel only (Matthew's), it is usually regarded as yet another of the writer's attempts to fulfil a particular prediction, in this case Numbers xxiv:17, by means of invented narrative.

As Gibbon sarcastically (but correctly) observed 200 years ago, it is inconceivable that an "event" such as this would have gone unnoticed by contemporary Roman or Jewish historians; and equally inconceivable that such corroboration, had it been forthcoming, would not have been made the most of by later Christian apologists.

Brian Thomas

Bentley, Surrey

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most commented

Recent controversy over the future directions of both Stanford and Melbourne university presses have raised questions about the role of in-house publishing arms in a world of commercialisation, impact agendas, alternative facts – and ever-diminishing monograph sales. Anna McKie reports

3 October


Featured jobs

Senior Lecturer in Law

University Of The West Of England (uwe)

Lecturer in Marketing

Edinburgh Napier University

Resource Planner

Bpp University