Scientific Rationale

"The Star of Bethlehem" (1999) by Michael Molnar, formerly astronomer at Rutgers University, has set a scholarly agenda which still needs to be assessed and compared with other theories. This will be undertaken in a unique colloquium, organised by the Institutes of Astronomy and New Testament Studies at the University of Groningen, which will bring together all relevant experts. Molnar's theory is both astronomical and historical, in the sense that he combines modern astronomical tools to detect what the heaven looked like around the birth of Jesus, but uses Hellenistic-Roman astrology from the time of Jesus to interpret the relevant events. Molnar's assumption is that the Magi, the "Wise Men" from the East in Matthew's birth narrative of Jesus, shared the dominant astrological world-view of their time. This multidisciplinary colloquium brings together all the relevant international experts for an open, non-polemical, scholarly discussion. The Colloquium has been structured around four sessions, each dealing with a key aspect of The Star.