When Was Jesus Born? Why December 25?

Dr. Platypus

One can make a credible case for January 6, 2 BC as the date of Jesus’ birth and December 25, 2 BC as the date of the visit of the Magi. It would make sense for the two dates to be switched on the church’s liturgical calendar so that the celebration of Jesus’ birth would come two weeks or so before the commemoration of the Magi’s visit rather than after.

The December 25 date, however, also has very old associations with the birth of Christ itself. It was popularized by Julius Africanus in his Chronicle (AD 221), so it must have been around by the end of the second century at the latest. Hippolytus of Rome (d. 236) also suggested the date of December 25. It is worth one last post to explore two additional reasons for the popularity of this date.

The Computation Hypothesis

One reason the church may…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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