Christmas on December 25th?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Nick the Pilot, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    So the time of the census doesn't narrow the date at all? Or at least move it out of fall and winter??
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Wil —
    Trouble is, we can't date the Lucan census with any great accuracy ...

    Without rehearsing the whole argument, the general critical view was the Luke is unreliable on the details and this section had been considered a fabrication, to link Joseph to the House of David. The Lucan account and the Matthaen account differ by about ten years ... also, the idea of everyone having to return to their home towns was regarded as laughable ... some argued that only Romans would be counted in a census required by Caesar, yet the Jews revolted against the census because they refused to be counted ... so lots of divided opinions.

    Recent discoveries however reveal that the Romans did have a regular enrollment of taxpayers and held a formal census every 14 years, beginning with the reign of Caesar Augustus.

    As Herod the Great died 4BC, and the census under Quirinius was 6AD, either Matthew or Luke is wrong. Archaeological evidence however shows that someone (the name is missing from the fragment) served two terms as a Governor, which before critics had said was not the case ... we now know that Quirinius was "governing" Syria around 7BC (although in a military capacity, under the titular governor). A papyrus discovered in Egypt generally discusses the system of Roman taxation, declaring the following: "Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their home should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment..."

    Also, there could well have been a 'local' census (as was the practice, with a change of administration, for example) that was rolled into the larger Augustinian one.

    ... so more and more Luke is being shown to be a reliable historian. However, this still does not give us a fixed date or season for the Scriptural journey.

    Thomas
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I'll be back...
     
  4. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Wil,

    I want to bring two ideas back into this discussion.

    December 25th was chosen because of the winter solstice. In those days, the winter solstice was on Dec. 22nd. (It has since been moved to Dec. 21st.) The winter solstice was chosen because it is the ‘darkest day of the year.’ (The idea being that Jesus ‘lights the darkness.’) As we all know, according to the story, Jesus died and came back to life three days later. 22 + 3 = 25. This is why Dec. 25th was decided upon. It can also be said the date was decided on for astrological reasons. The winter solstice is also the first day of Capricorn (a very important day astrologically), and the people who chose Dec. 22nd knew of the astrological importance of this day. The first day of Capricorn (the winter solstice) is still an important day for many people, so there is an important astrological connection between Christmas and Dec. 25th.

    Christmas is a difficult day for many people, financially as well as emotionally. (Many people pine for the fun they had on Christmas as children, they do not find it, and feel melancholy as a result.) When we keep in mind that Dec. 25th is really just another day, we can get though it much more easily.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No it wasn't, as the evidence makes clear.

    Pure nonsense. Or, put another way, can you provide your source materials to evidence such a claim?

    Not to the Christians, who set the date ... so, unless you can support that claim with evidence, I suggest it's another piece of nonsense.

    Thomas
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Thomas,

    Agan you post in a condescending way. I won't discuss this with you any more. It is a shame, because your message, something worth considering, gets lost in your condescending way of presenting it. But our discussion in over.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  9. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    QUOTE=bob "March, June, September, and December 25 were the original dates of the equinoxes and solstices in the calendar as Julius Caesar intended it. But since 365 1/4 days is not exactly the year, the dates drifted backward over the centuries. ..."


    I find this a more satisfactory explanation of how the date came about than others I have heard (here and elswhere). That said, I have no problem with the idea -

    QUOTE=Thomas "... that Dec 25th was arrived at by a 'committee' who added 3 (the Trinity) to 22 (the Solstice) is so condescending ..."

    - because Nick did not introduced it as "this is how it was" but as one of "two ideas".
    I do not find it satisfatory as a theory, but it is not condescending when presented as such.

    To make my own position on this clear, I do not care what dates and festivals people choose to follow or ignore. As I understand it there were no fixed celebrations prescribed for the early Church to observe but they adapted in accordance with the culture around them, whether Jewish or pagan:

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

    What is important for Christians is that whatever we do, we do fully convinced (ie. in faith) that it is to the Lord:

    5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. Romans 14:5-6
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Aardvark — welcome to the forum.

    I suppose I should have said it's a silly idea, and anyone who accepts it is equally silly. Nick, however, seems to believe it, as he's offering it as a reason for choosing the 25th in subsequent posts.

    Actually, the celebration of birthdays was frowned upon, if not actually forbidden, in Judaism — because of the links to magic and other rituals — so the Early Church followed the same practice, of not making big deals about birthdays.

    The work of the Fathers, as noted above, were more to do with Christian esoterica and metaphysics, and the relation of Christ to the Cosmos, I don't think they had in mind a 'celebration' although one should not rule out specific liturgical references.

    A tradition of December 25th having been established within a theological and esoteric tradition from early on, there was no reason to 'oppose' the significance of that dates arrived at by profane astronomy and cosmology ... especially when the Logos of God was seen as the Architect of all, and arrayed the heavens according to His will (a theophany) ... as ever the Christian believes the revealed data of faith illuminates the veiled realities which underpin the religious practices of their contemporaries.

    Indeed, the Greek word for truth aletheia means the state of not being hidden, of being revealed, or unveiled ... one should try and avoid discussion that conceals and deceives, rather than reveals and illuminates.

    +++

    One of the problems facing the contemporary Christian is the assumption that his or her faith is naive or uninformed, and founded on nothing but outmoded superstitions. Circulating such silly 'stories' without truth or foundation only exacerbates the issue — so it is incumbent upon Christians to point out errors which, if not challenged, are soon assumed to be true:

    2 Timothy 3:16
    "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice... "

    2 Timothy 4:2
    "Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine."

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    In reading everything you've posted and everything I can find.... it appears it is all quite contrary to what you've posited in the opening line.

    December 25th appears to be one of many dates prior to the establishment of it as the date...and even then it is one of two dates.

    But 'early on' it appears no one knows the date. And most modern inferences and discussion reduce the probability of Dec 25 or anytime around there being anything close to factual.
     
  13. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    QUOTE=Thomas - Hi Aardvark — welcome to the forum.

    Thank you

    QUOTE=Thomas - I suppose I should have said it's a silly idea, and anyone who accepts it is equally silly. Nick, however, seems to believe it, as he's offering it as a reason for choosing the 25th in subsequent posts.

    I could have said that myself, but then how does one (Nick, myself, or anyone) put forward an uncertain idea for discussion without speaking as if one holds it to be true? Surely that is a basic debating tool?

    I think the idea of a comittee adding the numbers to make 25 feels too obscure. That is, if there actually were some such comittee (akin to the council of Nicea but which decided upon the 25th by using numerology) I would not presume that the person who told me about it was silly but that the comittee itself was silly because it had adopted a method not consistent with Christ's methods. It would be a method that required obscure or secret knowledge (Gnostic) rather than the common knowledge employed in Christ's parables.

    That said, I think I have just re-itterated what you go on to say below...?

    QUOTE=Thomas - Actually, the celebration of birthdays was frowned upon, if not actually forbidden, in Judaism — because of the links to magic and other rituals — so the Early Church followed the same practice, of not making big deals about birthdays.

    The work of the Fathers, as noted above, were more to do with Christian esoterica and metaphysics, and the relation of Christ to the Cosmos, I don't think they had in mind a 'celebration' although one should not rule out specific liturgical references.

    I belong to a church which practices community living and common purse. At first (in the 70's) we did away with birthdays and Christmas on the basis that we already had "all things in common" so what was the point of buying presents? However, we soon found that making non-celebration into a rule was too simplistic. It was replacing one work of law (to celebrate) with another (to not celebrate). The times that British society has time off work still provide our pattern of celebrations anyway (whatever we call them), because those are the times when our buisnesses and the many members employed outside the church get time off. This is why I do not think of the scriptures I quoted (Romans 14:5-6 and Galatians 3:28) as "esoteric" but as pragmatic. I have tried not celebrating birthdays and Xmas but found it better (ie. "nobler in the mind" to quote Shakespeare's Hamlet) to esteem my friends and family, inside and outside the church, by embracing national customs, regardless of their origin. It is because I am "clear in my own mind" (Romans 14:5), and not because I have been told that I must/must not celebrate, that I am able to celebrate and enjoy this pagan festival.

    Bless you and merry Christmas one and all.
     
  14. theTopicsmile

    theTopicsmile New Member

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    Maybe someone has forgotten to mention the book of Jeremiah 10:2-5? :)
     
  15. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    The 2011 winter solstice is only a few hours away. It is the time of year for me to bump this thread. Enjoy!
     
  16. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Ring out, Ring Solstice Bells!!!

    Greetings of the Season to Everyone! :D
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Season's Greetings, Andrew. :)
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    One more year to go, and you can have the last one, this one is mayan.
     
  19. johnhawk

    johnhawk Interfaith Forums

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    thanks for nice information here. Keep it up.!
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone,

    It's Dec. 21st once more, and time to give this thread its yearly bump.
     

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