Welcome to the Stifyn Emrys blog. Visit this site to stay updated on the latest news and releases from author Stifyn Emrys, along with serious, silly and occasionally sarcastic observations about the world around us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Hate to Break it to You, Everyone, But Today Isn't Really 12/12/12

Did you know today's not really 12/12/12?

That's right. It's actually 12/12/16, or maybe 12/12/17. Or it would be if the Christians had gotten it right when they were figuring out what birth year to assign to Jesus of Nazareth.

There aren't many historically certain facts in the biblical accounts of Jesus' birth. Many of the details are likely based one earlier stories of miraculous births involving mythical characters such as Mithras and Tammuz/Dumuzi. But one thing we do know is a person named Herod the Great did exist. He's the man who supposedly ordered the "massacre of the innocents" after Jesus' birth in the Gospel of Matthew.

Herod served as Rome's client king in Palestine for about 36 years, with his reign ending at his death in 4 BCE. Unfortunately, he died four years before the traditional date of Jesus' birth, so he couldn't have possibly ordered any "massacre of the innocents" after Jesus was born.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the "massacre of the innocents" is a fictitious story based on a similar Old Testament account concerning Moses. Even if this is the case, though, it appears that very old tradition placed Jesus' birth during the time of Herod's reign, which means the 1/1/1 date or his nativity is at least four years too late.

There's a further complication to the story, too. The Gospel of Luke declares that Jesus was born during the time Quirinius was governor of Syria. But Quirinius didn't assume that post until 6 CE - a full decade after the death of Herod. So if the gospels are to be believed, Jesus had to have been born twice, 10 years apart. Maybe that's what he was talking about when he said, "You must be born again."

Read more about this and other interesting facts in the evolution of Western religion in my book "The Phoenix Principle: Pagan Birthright of the Christian God," available in paperback, on Kindle and on Nook.

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