According to modern research Jesus Christ was not born on 25th December, 1 BC at all. The Gospel of St. Matthew is considered to be the earliest account of Jesus Christ’s life. It is believed to have been written between 70-80 AD which means it is closest to the time of when Jesus lived. It was written a generation after Jesus’ death, and there could be many people alive who knew Jesus when this gospel was written. Such facts have led the Christian scholars believe that any exaggeration of facts by the writer would be quickly pointed out. But in this Gospel there is a very interesting mention of Star of Bethlehem which led the Magi from Parthia to Bethlehem. This mention has never been disputed but historians question what the star was pointing to actually.
Not only does the Bible state that Jesus Christ was born on 25th December, 1 BC but it also states that Jesus’ parents had travelled to Bethlehem to register themselves for a census carried out for some Roman taxation purpose. Historical records suggest that such a census took place in 8 BC. There are also documents that suggest that King Herod died in 4 BC. It is stated in the Bible that King Herod was alive during Jesus Christ’s birth. King Herod was threatened by the arrival of new Jewish king and ordered the slaughter of all children under two in and around Bethlehem. If we take the above mentioned information as a guide Jesus should be born between 7-4 BC.
We could take this time period as a reference to decipher what the Star of Bethlehem was pointing towards. Let us gather points from Matthew’s Gospel. He mentions: The star moved, it travelled east to west and it seems to have stood over the child. This where researchers have run into a problem. There is no Roman, Greek or Babylonian record stating such unusual astronomical activity. It is very surprising, as the Gospel clearly mentions this was the clear indication and led the Magi in their journey from Pathia to Bethlehem to greet Baby Jesus. So, there is again a doubt whether Jesus Christ was born between 7-4 BC. Some evidences suggest that these dates are wrong as well.
Roman and New Testament records suggest that Jesus Christ was crucified by the Romans in 36 AD. It is mentioned that Jesus Christ was a young man when he died, but some recent evidence suggest that he wasn’t that young. In the Jewish culture one would have to spend at least 50 years to be a religious teacher or rabbi. An account of second century BC by Bishop Irenaeus stated that Christ was about fifty years old when he taught. It should be noted in this respect that Bishop Irenaeus studied under people who actually knew Jesus. Even the Gospel of St. John states that Christ was “not yet fifty” when he taught. In another section St. John compares the body of Jesus with the Temple of Jerusalem (which was forty six years old). So it can be interpreted that Christ was the same age as the Temple. Since King Herod had built the temple in 12 BC, so Christ would be about 48 years old when he was crucified in 36 AD.
So, Jesus Christ’s revised date of birth is 12 BC and there some evidence to support this. Though there was no Roman tax census held during that year but there was a local tax census held in Bethlehem under the authority of King Herod. Astronomical analysis also suggests that Halley’s comet was clearly visible in the sky on the above mentioned year. Many people have noted down their experiences of watching this comet throughout the Mediterranean. It had a bright light that travelled East to West. Its long tail could easily been mistaken by the Magi to be pointing to Bethlehem as it hovered over the night sky.