"On what date was Jesus born?
What was Jesus Christ's real birthday/date of birth? (Many know that it wasn't Dec.25th; I have heard that it may be March 25th.) Please help!
It will definitely not be possible to find out the real birth date of Jesus Christ. It's, to make things even worse, not even possible to find out the exact year. Some sources state 6 B.C.E. others 4 B.C.E . There's more confusion and opinions than real facts.
"According to a Roman almanac, the Christian festival of Christmas was celebrated in Rome by AD 336. In the eastern part of the Roman Empire, however, a festival on January 6 commemorated the manifestation of God in both the birth and the baptism of Jesus, except in Jerusalem, where only the birth was celebrated. During the 4th century the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25 was gradually adopted by most Eastern churches. In Jerusalem, opposition to Christmas lasted longer, but it was subsequently accepted. In the Armenian Church, a Christmas on December 25 was never accepted; Christ's birth is celebrated on January 6. After Christmas was established in the East, the baptism of Jesus was celebrated on Epiphany, January 6. In the West, however, Epiphany was the day on which the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus was celebrated. The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain,but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun" (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky. The traditional customs connected with Christmas have accordingly developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observances at midwinter. In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain, and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, and gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian. Since the European Middle Ages, evergreens, as symbols of survival, have been associated with Christmas. Christmas is traditionally regarded as the festival of the family and of children, under the name of whose patron, Saint Nicholas (q.v.), or Santa Claus, presents are exchanged in many countries."
There are almost no reliable historic sources as The Synoptic Gospels are not written history:
"The Synoptic Gospels, then, are the primary sources for knowledge of the historical Jesus. They are not, however, the equivalent of an academic biography of a recent historical figure; instead, the Synoptic Gospels are theological documents that provide information the authors regarded as necessary for the religious development of the Christian communities in which they worked. The details of Jesus' daily life are almost entirely lacking, as are such important features as his education, travel, and other developmental experiences. The characters on the whole are "flat": emotions, motives, and personalities are seldom mentioned. There are, nevertheless, a few exceptions that show how little is actually known. Peter wavers (Matthew 14:28-31; Mark 14:66-72); James and John ask for preferential treatment in the coming kingdom (Mark10:35-40); and Pilate anguishes over the decision to execute Jesus (Matthew 27:15-23; Luke 23:2-25). On the other hand, the Pharisees and scribes periodically challenge Jesus and then disappear, with little indication of what, from their point of view, they hoped to accomplish. Even Jesus is a rather flat character in the Gospels. He is sometimes angry and sometimes compassionate (Mark 3:5; 6:34, respectively), but one can say little more. This is a frustrating aspect of the Gospels. The situation is different with regard to Paul, whose letters are extant and self-revelatory. The force of his personality is in the letters, but the force of Jesus' personality must be found somewhere behind the Gospels.
both quotes from:( The Encyclopedia Britannica CD Rom Edition 2003 )
As expected there is similar uncertainty in another source:
"The early Christians revered Dionysus's birthday as Jesus's birthday (Christmas) and the three-day Spring festival of Dionysus roughly coincides with Easter. Jews had their own version of this festival (the "therapeutae") since at least the year 10 (it is reported by Philo of Alexandria), which is 23 years before the crucifixion of Jesus (Armenians still celebrate the birthday of Jesus on January 6)." from: ( http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/jesus.html )
There´s another source that considers "most likely" the month March B.C.E. 6 as the month and year:
"On what date was Jesus born?There are three basic references to the year and the month of the birth of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, the apostles tell of the Magi following the star from the east, and the shepherds with their flock out in the fields. The third reference comes from the dating of the founding of Rome.
The MagiThe Magi were astrologers and probably came from Persia or southern Arabia. They are believed to be linked with the priesthood of Zoroastrianism, who practised astrology. The 5th Century BC historian Herodotus attested to the astrological prowess of the priests of Persia. (The Bible does not give the number of magi that visited Jesus. The number of three was derived from the three (types of) gifts they presented.) Which star did the Magi follow? In ancient astrology, the giant planet Jupiter was styled as the King's Planet, representing the highest god and ruler of the universe: Marduk to the Babylonians; Zeus to the Greeks; Jupiter to the Romans. The ringed planet Saturn was deemed the shield of Palestine, while the constellation of Pisces, which was also associated with Syria and Palestine, represented epochal events. Jupiter encountering Saturn in Pisces would have meant that a divine and cosmic ruler was to appear in Palestine. The astronomer Kepler noted in the early 17th century that every 805 years, Jupiter and Saturn come into conjunction, with Mars joining the configuration a year later. Since Kepler, astronomers have computed that for ten months in 7BC, Jupiter and Saturn travelled very close to each other in the night sky, and in May, September, and December of that year, they were conjoined. Mars joined the configuration in February of 6BC. The Chinese had more exact and more complete astronomical records than the astrologers of the Middle East, particularly in their tabulations of comets and novae. In 1871, astronomer John Williams published an authoritative list of comets derived from Chinese annuals. Over March and April 5BC, Comet No. 52 on the Williams list appeared for some 70 days near the constellation Capricorn, and would have been visible in both the Far and Middle East. As each night wore on, the comet would seem to have moved westward across the southern sky. This could have been the Magi's astral marker. Comet No. 53 on the Williams list is a tailless comet - which could have been a nova - that appeared over March and April in 4BC in constellation Aquila, which was also visible all over the East. The star that the Magi followed - the Star of Bethlehem - could be any of the astral markers that appeared in 6, 5 and 4BC.
The shepherdsLuke 2: 8: "And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night." In Palestine - as in the rest of the Middle East at the time - shepherds stayed with their flocks in the fields only from Spring to Autumn. They brought their sheep in during the winter to protect them from the cold and rain. It is thus unlikely that the shepherds went to Bethlehem in December. The Bible does not mention the celebration of Christ's birthday, and the early Christians seem not to have celebrated His birthday. However, to avoid persecution, they would hang holly on their doors during December just as the Roman pagans did for Saturnalia, their feasts honouring their god of harvest. Likewise, in September, during the Jewish Feast of Trumpets (modern-day Rosh Hashanah), they would borrow some of the custom to protect themselves, carrying on with their own customs behind closed doors. This added to the speculation that early Christians celebrated the birth of Christ in September. It is noted that Jerusalem swelled from about 100,000 people to over 1 million during the Feast of the Trumpets, which meant that there would have been little room at the inns of Jerusalem and the surrounding towns.
The dating of the founding of RomeIn the 6th Century, the Roman monk-mathematician-astronomer named Dionysis Exeguus (Dionysis the Little) reformed the calendar to pivot around the birth of Christ. He dated the Nativity 753 years from the founding of Rome, calculated to the date King Herod died. But Dionysis miscalculated, because Herod died only 749 years after the founding of Rome, thus 4BC. Herod, who ordered all the babies in Bethlehem younger than 2 years killed, was, of course, alive when the Magi visited the baby Jesus. So we know that Jesus was born in or before 4BC, as astronomers point out when referring to the Star of Bethlehem. Early Christian appear not to have celebrated the birth of Christ. In fact, Christmas became widely popular only in the 19th Century.
Christmas todayThe reference to the birth of Jesus "two thousand years ago" is wrong in two ways:
- there was no year 0, thus we have had only 1998 years since Dionysis (incorrectly) calculated the year of the Nativity.
- Dionysis's calculation was off by at least 5 years, as mentioned above.
Merry Christmas!The most likely year that Jesus was born, is 6BC, probably in the month of March. There was no year 0 (zero) recorded, so the 2nd millennium celebration of the birth of Jesus should have been held in March 1995. But considering that Nativity was not celebrated at all for the first 300-or-so years, and that Christmas became widely popular only in the 19th Century, it remains remarkable that the birthday of Jesus Christ today is one of the biggest industries in the world. A rather apt acknowledgement." from: ( http://www.didyouknow.cd/xmas/Jesus.htm )
None of the many sources I examined states exact dates or years as they simply do not exist.
I hope this helps to solve your problem.
Based on Bible scriptures, it could not have been December 25th. At that time, in Jerusalem, and being in the northern hemisphere, it is mid winter. Jerusalem does experience very cold weather, even snow. The scripture at Luke 2;8 states " There were also in that same country shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks". They proceeded straight to Bethlehem where they found Mary. It must have been summer or spring as it was common practise in those days to keep livestock protected from the weather in a lower part of the house. Further to this, the Bible says Jesus preached for three and a half years and there are a number of prophecies stating this time period. If you count back the three and a half from the accepted "Easter" period, March/April, the result is October. October is Spring in Jerusalem, so it fits.
If December is winter in Jerusalem, how can October be spring in Jerusalem?
The city of Jerusalem is located in the northern hemisphere of the Earth. Common wisdom says that Autumn goes in the northern hemisphere from September 22nd to December 21st (astronomically this dates could vary by 1 or even to days). Anyway, the conclusion is that October in Jerusalem and its surroundings is Autumn, not Spring.
I agree, October likely was never Spring in the Northern hemisphere. The Mormon Church = The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has revelation that the Savior's birthday was April 6 th, but the exact year is unknown. Nearly all Mormons celebrate Dec 25 th anyway. We have our annual conference in early April each year. Leap year has been adjusted, and several other calender adjustments have been made in the last 2000 years, so both the date and year are subjective. Neil