Was Jesus born between 6 and 11 BC?

I’ve heard that Jesus may have been born as much as a full decade before 1 AD, do you think that’s probable?

We know that the current calendar, based on the work of Dionysius Exiguus, was calculated incorrectly, placing the reputed birth of Jesus several years after the date in which the people of his time actually believed it occurred.

Once it was on the calendar, of course, no one wanted to mess around fixing it.

The Master Speaks, (a couple of times):

Matthew places the birth of Jesus during the reign of Herod. If that’s correct, then Jesus must have been born not later than 4 BC, which is when Herod died. But of course Matthew’s nativity story is not necessarily historical.

Luke says that Jesus was “about thirty” when he began his public ministry. He did this at a time when John the Baptist was preaching. John says that the incident when Jesus turned the moneylenders out of the Temple occurred 46 years after the Temple had been reconstructed, and John puts this incident at the beginning of his public ministry. Combining these two statements suggests a date within a couple of years either side of 1 BC for the birth of Jesus.

Which ‘Herod’ would that be - there were at least half a dozen of them. It is usually assumed to be Herod Agrippa I (c. 10 BC–AD 44),


Your link to wikipedia does not support your assertion. Herod Agrippa is said to be the Herod of Acts, the Herod of Jesus’ birth is said to be Herod the Great who died in 4 BC.

What I don’t get is why do people think the claim Jesus was born under Herod proves he’s real? I could make up a character named Uri Spoonbender and say he lived during the time of Lincoln.

They all don’t. For many people it is like working out which case Sherlock Holmes was on in March 1897 based on clues in the books.

The Devil’s Foot.


What prize do I win?

wouldnt you first have to determine that he actually was born?

Nitpick: This should be
“Was Jesus born between 11 and 6 BC?”

There may be a factual answer to this, if you just get lucky, but no one will ever know.

Any person who claims they know the date of the birth of Jesus is lying since they weren’t there to witness it. At best were talking about hearsay. There is no factual answer to the question.

You mean he didn’t have a valid birth certificate?

By that logic there’s no factual answer to *any *historical question. It’s all based on documents of various degrees of perceived authenticity. For example, there’s nobody alive today who can authenticate anything about the US Civil War. 100% of what we think of as facts of that war are actually hearsay.

Is that *really *what you mean?

I agree with what I suspect is your real point: that the whole topic of Jesus has a big circle of hooey attached to it. But don’t throw the whole logic of history and archaeology out the window in an attempt to debunk X-ianism.

I’ve been told by historical (compared with theological) scholars that the period of his birth was 3 to 6 B.C.E.

As for a birth certificate, we don’t have one for Gaius Julius Caeser either.

In 1699 the Scots mathematician John Craig published his *Theologiae Christianae Principia Mathematica *. Craig worked out a calculus of moral evidence and its decay with time; his figures showed that in 1699 the evidence in favor of the truth of the Gospel, the birth of Christ, his crucifixion, etc, was equivalent to the testimony of twenty-eight contemporary disciples, but that it would diminish to zero in the year 3144. At that date it will presumably be certain that Christ was not born at all.

I thus suggest the OP repost his question in a thousand years or so when we will be able to give him a more definitive answer.

How likely is it that Yeshua bar Joseph knew the year in which he was born? Or Miriam, for that matter? Would people of that social class and time know the year, and if so, in what calendar? Anno urbis conditae? The current Hebrew date is 5775, but how old is that calendar?

There was a census that year, everybody had to travel all over Israel to get to the towns where their ancestors came from. Surely there are records?

This is most unlikely to be true Why would the Romans care about which town a person’s ancestors came from? A census was for assessing where people lived now for tax purposes. Fulfilling biblical prophecy was not part of its remit.

You realize that we don’t exactly have tons of ‘records’ from the era, right?

Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed in 70 AD, so no records from there, and after 2000 years of subsequent history we don’t have all that much contemporary material from Rome either.