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Date Of Christ's Birth Discussed






The day on which Jesus Christ died is plainly distinguishable, but the
day of His birth is open to very much question, and, literally, is
only conjectural; so that the 25th December must be taken purely as
the day on which His birth is celebrated, and not as His absolute
natal day. In this matter we can only follow the traditions of the
Church, and tradition alone has little value.

In the second and early third centuries of our aera, we only know that
the festivals, other than Sundays and days set apart for the
remembrance of particular martyrs, were the Passover, Pentecost, and
the Epiphany, the baptism or manifestation of our Lord, when came a
voice from Heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased. This seems always to have been fixed for the 6th of January,
and with it was incorporated the commemoration of His birth.

Titus Flavius Clemens, generally known as Clemens of Alexandria, lived
exactly at this time, and was a contemporary of Origen. He speaks
plainly on the subject, and shows the uncertainty, even at that early
epoch of Christianity, of fixing the date:[1] There are those who,
with an over-busy curiosity, attempt to fix not only the year, but the
date of our Saviour's birth, who, they say, was born in the
twenty-eighth year of Augustus, on the 25th of the month Pachon,
i.e. the 20th of May. And in another place he says: Some say that
He was born on the 24th or 25th of the month Pharmuthi, which would
be the 19th or 20th of April.



But, perhaps, the best source of information is from the Memoires
pour servir a l'histoire ecclesiastique des six premiers Siecles, by
Louis Sebastian