This is Part 1 of a critical examination of the MMEL hypothesis of the Star of Bethlehem. Go to the index here.
In order to make the theory presented in the Star of Bethlehem documentary work, a major premise concerns the date when Herod the Great, a king of Judea, died. This is because the Gospel of Matthew says that Jesus was borne during his reign. Moreover, the Magi are said to come to King Herod, and it is only after Herod’s death that the Holy Family returned from Egypt to Palestine. So the events with the Star have to take place before Herod’s death in order to be consistent with Matthew’s account.
Now, there is a significant problem that this creates for the MMEL hypothesis. The Jupiter-Venus conjunctions take places in 3 & 2 BCE, but most historians place the death of Herod before the Passover in 4…
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