No, it is not in vain that the church persecuted the science. The question whether the knowledge makes for the belief, or on the contrary, the knowledge results from the belief, is put aside. This is because on the Christmas eve the science gave the church several stunning hypotheses concerned with the Bible; these hypotheses cast doubt on the inner sanctum of the Holy Scripture.
First of all, as the science insists, there is no reason to consider that Jesus Christ was born on the day when the whole of the world celebrates his birth, no matter if based on the Gregorian or on the Julian calendars. British astronomer David Hughes, guided by the story about the three wise men or Magi, decided to find the Bethlehem Star that appeared on the ski on the day when Jesus Christ was born. What astronomic events are similar to those described in the Bible? After studying the ancient Babylon and Chinese astronomical records, Hughes discovered a rare conjunction of two planes, Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation Pisces in 7 B.C. The Magi were interested in any bright “star” as a sign of birth of a new tsar. In that case the combination was ideal: Jupiter symbolizes the Tsar of Gods, Saturn – Palestine and Pisces – the Jewish people. Based on the exact astronomic data we can suppose that the actual date of the Christ’s birth is September 15, 7 B.C.
Astronomer Persy Seymour from Plymouth recreated a sky model in the planetarium and got a confirmation to the Hughes’ theory.
It was at the beginning of the 17th century that great German astronomer Johannes Kepler calculated that a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter would be the most appropriate on the Christmas night: because of the difference in the speeds of the planets and the Earth, they can join into one bright spot three times within less than a month. Thus, if we follow the scientific principle, this year must be not 2003, but 2010. If we stick to the time scale of the current epoch, we may soon see with the naked eye a phenomenon similar to the Bethlehem Star; it will be a comet in 2005. There is a blunder in the Bible then.
The very fact of the Christ’s birth in 7 B.C. is confirmed by the travel made by Maria and Joseph to Bethlehem for payment of some tax a year before Jesus Christ was born; the travel is mentioned in some apocryphal sources. As based on the wall inscriptions made in Turkey, it was a general tax imposed by the Roman Empire on the territory of Asia Minor and Middle East. The tax was paid regularly once in several years, including 8 B.C.
But the birth is not only the date, it is also a memorable event. Once again, the science couldn’t stay aside in this situation. Israeli and British forensic anthropologists tried to restore the image of Jesus Christ with the help of programmers. The work was carried out on the basis of the principles of archeological and anatomic researches developed by Richard Neave from the Manchester University. The image of Jesus Christ could be restored with a high degree of reliability judging by his skull or the DNA. But as the church insists that Jesus Christ ascended to the skies, his skull and DNA are unlikely to be obtained. The research was made on the basis of the skull of a Jesus’s contemporary, an Israeli living in 1 Common Era and on the Gospel text. At the final stage, the image was modeled with a computer. Earlier, the same technology was applied to make “portraits” of famous people of the past, for instance, portraits of Alexander the Great and King Midas. As the research revealed, the real Jesus Christ was 153 cm tall, his weight was less than 50 kg, the hair was black and curly, the nose was massive and the skin tawny. An anthropologist professor from the University of California, Alison Halloway says about the image: “It is highly likely to be more close to the reality than the images of Jesus Christ made by famous artists.”
The science also decided to focus its attention on one more participant of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Maria. Right before Christmas, a documentary about the Mother of Christ made by BBC was broadcast in Great Britain. The film rejects majority of the truths belonging to the religious canons of the Christianity; it gives a new picture of the events connected with the birth of Jesus Christ as seen from a scientific point of view. Maria was tawny, with dark hair and was poorly dressed; as we see this depiction has nothing in common with the traditional images of the Virgin. The Mother of God was illiterate for sure.
The most delicate problem is the problem of birth as a result of the immaculate conception; the science rejects this idea completely. As based on the morals of that time, we can suggest that Jesus was conceived as a result of sexual abuse by the Roman centurion; at that, Maria became mother at the age of 12-13. Other versions say that Maria got pregnant from some secret lover or actually from Joseph, who wasn’t her husband yet at that period. Which by the way was a really hard task for Joseph at his old age (90 years).
It is also possible that the very interpretation of the immaculate conception was translated incorrectly. Experts say that the word “virgin” meant “young woman or girl” in the original texts, it was certainly not obligatory that the young woman was virgin in fact.
We would like to add that revision of some symbols of the belief isn’t a revision of the belief itself or a blasphemy. It is not the birth of Jesus Christ that is of special importance, it is his life and his ideas that really matter. These ideas are still of considerable importance.
Translated by Maria Gousseva