Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Update on the Date of Christmas...

Someone sent this to me in response to my post a few weeks ago on the date of Christmas.  It is an attempt to prove December 25 from Scripture only.... Take it for what its worth....

Here is something from Benedict the XVI on the subject.

And a column from the ever popular sage, Terry Mattingly, on the subject.


Terry Maher said...

Would have, could have, why would they not have -- nothing. Scripture simply does not record the exact when of Christ's birth, and all this twisting and turning to get things to fit some sort of neoPlatonic ideal co-aligment of dates is unnecessary and silly.

Particularly the 25 March creation of the world thing. An earth date is meaningless as a date of the creation of the universe. Earth dates are earth specific -- time does not flow uniformly throughout the universe.

God's creation, and His entry into it, is incredibly more wondrous than these latter day Scholastics and Platonists and creationists imagine.

Anonymous said...

I posted the link to this site. To me, the single strongest thing is the fact that Clement of Rome himself says that church was observing the birth of Christ on Dec 25th. Clement is mentioned by Paul and was in the circle of Peter and Paul etc. This gives us a first century anchor to the church observing Christmas on 12/25.

The Festorum Metropolis PDF on that site by an Anglican in the 1600s under the name Pastor Fido has some very interesting historical references from the church, outside of the more speculative calculations presented in the video.

It is, to me, also interesting that the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Western Christianity all celebrate Christmas on the 25th day of the 12th month. The problem is the Eastern churches still use the Julian calendar and thus the 25th day of the 12th month is quite a ways into January on our Gregorian calendar.

But what is even more startling to me is the Feast of the Dedication whcih the gospels show Christ going to the temple for, the Festival of Lights, Haunnakah which begins on the 25th day of the month that corresponds to our December. This is recorded in the Maccabees and is the tradition of Judaism to this day. The reason this festival moves around on our calendar is because the Jewish calendar is Lunar and has the leap month etc. Thus the start of that month itself moves around but the day of the month is still the 25th day.

Yet no one ever accuses the church of reusing a Jewish festival rather a pagan one. To me that is interesting.

Terry Maher said...

That is because Hanukkah is a minor festival in Judaism (though not among North American secular Jews) and is extra-Biblical. The Books of Maccabees are not part of the Hebrew Bible. Even so I hope Hanukkah Harry left plenty of presents for you at the Hanukkah Bush.

The original celebration of the birth of Christ was along with his entire life prior to his public ministry, on Gregorian 6 January. The spin off of the Nativity to 25 December was a Western development later largely adopted in the East, although it is still celebrated as part of the Epiphany/Theophany in some places.

The Julian/Gregorian calendar thing is not the origin of the date thing. 25 December Julian is now 7 January Gregorian. 6 January Julian is now 19 January Gregorian.