Christmas Facts: In Which Year was Christ Born?


It seems to be a simple question: the new era has been counted since the Nativity of Christ. However, when considereing Abbot Dionysius Exiguus, the Roman compiler of paschal tables, made an error and missed some years.

It is quite hard to find out the real date when Jesus Christ was born. The Gospel of Matthew says Christ was at most 2 years old during the massacre of Innocents. As Herod the Great was cruel in general, that event in the suburban area of Jerusalem was not significant for the whole country, and that is why it was not reflected in the documents.

Herod the Great died 750 years after the foundation of Rome, or in 4 BC. As Apostle Matthew the Evangelist says that time the Savior was still a child: “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel(Matthew, 2:19-21). The Greek word “πας” can mean not only a baby, but refer to "any child". According to Jewish tradition, boys are considered to be children up to the age of 13.

Another clue is the year when John the Forerunner began his preaching. Evangelist Luke states this year precisely: “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar(Luke, 3:1). This date is counted as 28 AD. That time (or some time later) Christ was about 30, as He began to preach after He had been baptized by John. It cannot be that Christ was exactly 30 years old, as that would mean that Christ was born after Herod’s death. However, He was about 30, not 40. If we assume Christ started to preach in 28 AD when He was at least 32 and at most 35, that would mean that the year of Christ's birth was between 7 and 4 BC.

Translated from: http://www.pravmir.ru/sem-faktov-o-rozhdestve/

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