Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1504-1505 Bradley Schaefer – Bethlehem Star Confirmed

Mike Molnar's Antioch Coin

Mike Molnar’s Antioch Coin

For many years, as Christmas approaches, we have turned our attention from archaeology to astronomy, as we focus in on the story of the Star of Bethlehem. It was 20 years ago when we first interviewed Rutgers University astronomer Michael Molnar on his theories about the Bethlehem Star, that it was not a comet or supernova or planetary conjunction but an almost invisible movement of the planet Jupiter in the constellation of Ares the Ram that had meaning mostly just to astrologers.

We interviewed Molnar again when his book came out, and again a year ago when an international conference was held in Groningen, Holland, when the main focus of the conference was Molnar’s theory.

I’ve written several magazine articles about Molnar, most recently in On Wisconsin, the alumni magazine of the University of Wisconsin. It seemed, from all of the evidence, that finally, after 400 years of astronomical speculation, Molnar has finally, and satisfactorily explained the Star of Bethlehem. To confirm that perception, I tracked down another expert in the field, Bradley Schaefer, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Lousiana State University, an astronomer who studies supernovae and similar phenomena.

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