The Star of Bethlehem
A Skeptical View
Onus Books 2013
“And having heard the king, they went their way; and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:9-11, NASB).
The story of the Star of Bethlehem leading the Wise Men to the birthplace of Jesus is one that has spawned movies, books and even beloved Christmas carols. But did this star ever really exist, and was it really a star? Aaron Adair probes this question in his new book The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View (Onus Books, 2013). Coming from a physics and astronomy background, Adair investigates whether the object described in Matthew’s narrative could have actually been a star, and combs other possible theories, such as that it could have been a supernova, comet, or the product of a conjunction of planets. Adair also explains the reasons why conjuring a scientific explanation for a “miraculous” star has been important to theologians since the 1800s, though his conclusions do not bode well for their theories. The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View brings a scientific view to a story that is often told but rarely questioned.