The star of Bethlehem can be many things, Irene Baron lists 10 different astronomical events, conjunctions, eclipses etc. that can be descripted as signs of coming messiah. Planetary conjunctions and supernova or nova are best candidates for star of Bethlehem. Like Irene Baron has shown series of astronomical events is possible for prophecy of coming messiah, but star of Bethlehem was “star”. According to Eusebius, Epifanius and Origenes, Jesus was (about) two years old when “three wise men” from east come. Codex Bodmer V also has information that Jesus was standing when the three men come, so he was not just born. Also I remember old tradition that Jesus ran towards three wise men when they arrived to Jesus. Or I simply remember this thing wrong, I don t recall what source it was or was there any, so I am probaply wrong in this last thing. But anyway Jesus according to this information was about 2 years old when the three wise men come. Astronomical events could be happening when Jesus was born, and astronomical events could be happening again when Jesus was about two years old, and three wise men (from Persia?) came to Jesus. So two different astronomical events about two year or so apart. There can be more astronomical events like Baron has shown during that period, or during Jesus s childhood. So it is possible that star of Bethlehem refers to two different events about two years apart, two different astronomical phenomena. When Jesus was born there was astronomical event that had meaning of coming messiah when interpreted by astrologers. Then about two years later another astronomical event that send three wise men from east (persia) to Palestine. Two different astronomical events about two years apart. Story where three wise men come to Jesus when Jesus is just born is combination of those two astronomcal events and what happened during them (Jesus was born during one astronomical event and three wise men arrived during second astronomical event). Both astronomical events were intrepreted as messiah / king coming from Judea / Palestine. This is just a theory. Supernova or nova is best explanation for one of two events, in Korea and in China 4 BC and 5 BC is “new star” find in astronomical chronicles that was nova or supernova (perhaps). Roman empire / babylonian astronomical records suddenly end in 10 BC, like someone has removed those astronomical records (Romans did it? Or other?) because those records show star of Bethlehem? Small amount of astronomical information has survived in westernt astronomical chronicles after 10 BC but it seems that someone in ancient times has removed information from them after 10 BC. X-1 Cygnus is best candidate for star of Bethlehem, altough Puppis A and (SNR) RCW 103 is proposed also, if star of Bethlehem was supernova or nova, not planetary conjunction. I find very shady information about “Hayden observatory that find powerful radio source supernova remnant in the sky in same region where star of Bethlehem was but it was one or two years too early compared to 4 / 5 BC supernova findings”. That difference can be just difference of year 0 appearing in scientific time but missing in normal time where from 1 BC jumps directly to 1 AD. There is Heyden observatory and Hayden planetarium, but not “Hayden observatory”. This information is from before year 2001, perhaps decades older than 2001, and I cannot find its original source. This is radio astronomy, but I don t know did Heyden observatory (“Hayden”) radioastronomical research or not. There is text by Simo Parpola: “The magi and the star”, the three wise men were real and their trip to Judea / Palestine also. Also one roman historian that wrote history of Palestine under roman rule wrote that "in the sky was seen signs that were signs of coming king " (from Palestine) and that “also always superstitious arabs saw it”, and that there were “unrest in arabian peninsula” because of those signs in the sky. So those astronomical signs in the sky was seen across arabian peninsula, or in other places of roman empire than just Palestine. Emperor Augustus arranged great celebration for himself during that time, perhaps based on those astrological signs that prophecied coming powerful king, and it was perhaps reason for arranging those celebrations. Later emperor Augustus was connected similar things like Jesus, that Augustus was son of god, that when Augustus was born roman senate ordered all boy children in roman empire to be executed because signs had shown powerful king to rise etc., but those stories were invented in order to fight against christianity when christianity emerged, boy childs were no executed across roman empire when Augustus was born etc. Different planetary conjunctions and nova (?) or supernova (?) happened in those times, about 7 BC to 2 BC (?), all those events according to astrologers prophecied coming king that will rule the world, and coming from Judea / Palestine. Grant Matthews and others have proposed different astronomical events etc., triple conjunctions of planets, other conjunctions etc. has been proposed as star of Bethlehem. But star of Bethlehem could have been two events about two years apart, or series of astronomical events during many years that had astrological meaning of coming jewish king. In zoroastrian religion coming “great relayer” of mankind was to be born sometime, and not perhaps persian nationality but from some other nation near persians, so when persian astronomers / astrologers saw signs in the sky of jewish king that will rule the world they went to Palestine to find that king. Also when Jesus died there was eclipse of the moon in the very same day when Jesus died, and Jerusalem was in the very center of this lunar eclipse. This has been calculated using computer. There was also earthquake in Jerusalem (“Christquake”) when Jesus died, it has scientific evidence. Julius Africanus wrote about Flagonus (Phlegon) and Thallus of Samaria (52 AD) that reported how sun darkened during daytime when Jesus died, and that there was earthquake at same time. However no eclipse of the sun was in that time, so event could have been supernatural, because it was observed outside Jerusalem / Judea perhaps also. But those were pagans, not christians referring that event, which makes that historical evidence more plausible. There can be more than those two writers that reported that sun darkened during day. In one of those writings is that become so dark that stars were visible in the sky altough it was day. Church father bishop Agapius (Agapius of Ceasarea / Palestine / saint Agapius, or Agapius of Hierapolis, which one?) presented a list of pagan writers that wrote about Jesus, but those people and their writings are unknown now, or writers are known but their writings have disappeared, because romans destroyed those writings like they destroyed astronomical chronicles. Tacitus s annals miss years 29-32 AD, historical work of Seneca the elder is almost completely lost. When Jesus was born and was child there was over 10 (!) different astronomical events that can be described as signs of coming messiah, supernova RCW 103 in about 10 BC, then from 7 BC to 2 BC planetary conjunctions and other conjunctions (about 10 different in just 5 years of time, all astrological signs of coming messiah), about 5 BC nova or supernova (X-1 Cygnus?), and another supernova perhaps (Puppis A) also during 10 BC - 1 BC time period?. So roman historian noticed that there was unrest in arabian peninsula because of those heavenly signs that prophecied of coming messiah / king. The “great conjunction” 7/6 BC can be event of Jesus s birth and nova 5/4 BC when three wise men came, or 5 BC nova when Jesus was born, and “triple conjunction” 3/2 BC when three wise men came. But that is just theory, star of Bethlehem can be just one stellar event, not two. But there was lots of happening in sky 7 - 3/2 BC, and lots of signs of coming messiah, because huge amount of signs pointed to coming messiah. So explanation that star of Bethlehem was invented by apostoles and nothing peculiar happened during that time in the sky is not true. Supernovas in our galaxy are super rare, and two of them in about 10 years, and also one nova during same time is truly extraordinary (if Gygnus X-1 was nova, if it was supernova then there was three supernovas in 10 year period). Supernovas in our galaxy are super rare events, and novas also. So several supernovas / novas in our galaxy just few years apart is truly incredible. In text by Gerardus D. Bouw: “The darkness during the crucifixion” is other sources of crucification darkness, some of them are from apochryphic texts so not reliable, but those early acta-literature writings (about 150 AD) often included traditions that came from first century, altough those traditions were buried in later unreliable text. Apochryphic literature has no connection to real historical events, except perhaps gospel of Thomas and gospel of Peter, but acta-literature (apochryphic Acts) often has tradition of things that happened, altough it has folk legends and other unreliable additions also, but at least some apocryphic Acts has something to do with real events. The earlier text the better. In jewish literature is Mishna Sanhedrin / Avoda Zara and Talmud (Yoma 39 B) that refer to crucification. Another matter is studies of Gospel of Mark that claim that its ending is missing in earliest texts. However earliest church fathers refer to that longer ending, later ones (when shorter ending become more numerous in text copies?) not. Simply explanation is that text corrupted because text scroll weared off in ends. However closing chapter is inside scroll not outside, so it is claimed that this theory is not valid. However old copies that are missing longer ending also have in the beginning missing verses, so scroll weared off in both ends. When text scroll was rolled and squeezed tightly (because it must be hidden or smuggled) it corrupted both ends of scroll, text not wear off just on the outside. That is one explanation that longer ending is missing in old copies of gospel of Mark. Text analysis have shown that copies of shorter ending Gospel of Mark, either latin or greek (I don t remember which) originate from one single copy, and that one copy was damaged in both ends because text was missing in beginning and in end. Textual variants show that one single copy origin. At same time was in circulation longer ending gospel of Mark also, text that had both in the beginning and end text that was missing in shorter ending of Mark copies. Later on copyists restore in their copies beginning of longer Mark because those verses have little signifigance, but missing verses in the end were left out, because those verses were significant, and copyists were careful and did not know what version they should follow, longer version or shorter version. Earliest church fathers refer to the longer ending, and in Peshitta also has longer ending, altough it discards other texts that are included in the bible, as “unreliable”, so they are missing in Peshitta. In Codex Vaticanus empty space was left for longer ending, but it was not written down for same reason (should they follow longer or shorter version). Both were known from early times, longer version had many text variants (greek, latin and aramaic, text variant means miniscule differences in text, in one gospel perhaps one word is missing or added compared to another copy, or one word is different but has almost same meaning than in other copy, those are marked as “families” of A, B, C,D, E etc. text variant copies), shorter version originated (either latin or greek version) from one single (damaged) copy which had text missing in both beginning and end. In beginning text was missing because it worn off, in end text was missing because papyrys scroll was rolled and squeezed too tightly because it had to be hidden or smuggled. This is just theory, but this has been proposed by academic research scientist (text is in finnish language, and I don t even remember in what book I read it and who was author, but it was real scientist doing academic research). But text variants show one copy origin of shorter ending text. Often is proposed that Jesus never existed or was non influental in his own time because there are no texts about him in roman literature or roman historians. Answer is simple, of course there are no pagan sources because romans destroyed them, they during many centuries tried wipe out christianity so they destroyed christian writings and any positive or neutral mention of christianity. So it is no wonder that in roman pagan literature is not much about Jesus or christianity. This wipeout of christianity continued for centuries so it is little miracle that any mention of christianty has survived from pagan roman sources, romans tried to destroy even smallest traces of it. And now because there are no historical records left (because they were destroyed) is claims that “Jesus never existed”, “Jesus is not historical person”, “there is no historical evidence of Jesus”. And when there is evidence, like list of pagan writers that wrote about Jesus by Agapius, that information is hidden by academic scholars up to this day because it does not fit to their atheist agenda. You won t find any information about list of Agapius anywhere, not in the internet and mention of it in books are rare, but there are thousands of netpages and thousands of books that claim there is no historical evidence of Jesus, and if there was Jesus he was not at all so important what christians proclaim because there is no pagan roman sources of him. Of course there is no sources because romans destroyed them. If for example Philo wrote something about Jesus, how we know? Ancient roman texts are missing bits and pieces almost in every writing. If Philo wrote something about Jesus, and it was neutral or even positive, romans removed that chapter from his text. So how can writings of Philo used as evidence that Jesus never existed when is well known that romans tried to wipe out christianity. Only negative mentions about Jesus or christianity exist, or something like Josephus s writing about Jesus s brother Jakob/James and mentions shortly Jesus also.There is no information whatsoever concerning what is explanation for shorter ending of Mark, but there is thousands of netpages and thousand books and in universities to people are thought that longer ending of Mark is just forgery, fabrication and invention, and that this is “well accepted fact” and scientific truth. But there is nowhere found this simple explanation of shorter ending of Mark what I noticed in short couple of sentance “by the way, shorter ending of Mark is because…” in just one book of exegetic studies in finnish language. Of course scholars and professors of universities know the story behind shorter ending of Mark, but they don t want you to know, and they know about the list of Agapius also, but don t want people know about it either. So information of them, either in internet or in books, is very difficult to be found. I don t claim longer ending of Mark is true, but at least there is (strong) evidence that it can be true. One aramaic four gospels text / Peshitta has kolofon (marking which is the earliest writing of which copy is based) that states it was copied from text from about 160 AD. In “Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis” is that text of four gospels was found in Baghdad that has kolofon saying it is based on year 78 AD copy that originated from “Aggaeus, pupil of Taddeus” (apostle Thaddeus). Astronomical records in west start missing information from 10 BC, same year was supernova RCW 103 presumably, and beginning of “signs in the sky” period. I have not found that roman historian that wrote about unrest in arabian peninsula during those times because people across Arabia saw signs in the sky text again, is it also “hidden” like list of Agapius and shorter ending of Mark explanation. It is claimed that there was no taxation in Palestine during those times and Kyrenius / Quirinius was not governor of Syria in that time, so story of Joseph and Mary going to taxation is based on wrong information. Also Eusebius wrote that Sentius Saturninus was governor of Syria then, which he was in official roman governor list in 6 BC. In gospel of Luke in original greek language word that means Kyrenius s profession is “leader / commander” of Syria. When examined better, was then found that emperor send special ambassador / commander (legato) Kyrenius to Syria, and he was commander / leader of Syria (as Luke told) in 6 BC when Saturninus was the official governor. Also was found that there really was taxation in Syria, Egypt and Palestine in 6 BC, when Kyrenius was leader of Syria and it was Kyrenius s job to do the taxation. So in fact bible has more accurate historical information than history research that previously claimed that all that information is wrong. But still up to this day is taught in universities that there was no taxation in Palestine those times, Kyrenius was not leader of Syria, and nothing happened in sky during those times, that everything is just story and fabrication. That is the “historical truth” and “fact”, altough historical research has in fact proved bible to be right. Also much has been written who was “the other Mary” that was in crucifixication and then went to Jesus s tomb with Mary Magdalene. In greek text she has named “Maria he Iakobou” and “Maria he Iosetos”, the word “he” means that Maria was either mother or wife of Jakob or Josia (Josetos / Joseph), but unfortunately writer does not tell exactly was he mother or wife to Jakob or Josetos (Joseph), but uses word “he” that can mean both wife and mother. So there is two possibilities, if in the bible “younger Jakob” the word “younger” is in original greek text, that mean that mysterius Maria is mother of younger Jakob, wife of Joseph. If word “younger” is not in original greek text, Maria can be (younger) Jakob s mother, wife of Joseph, or mother of (younger) Joseph, wife of Jakob. Bible knows that Jakob and Joseph were brothers of Jesus. So “other Maria” can be wife of either Joseph or Jakob (James). This is just theory. Another possibility, but not probable is that it means mother of Jesus, Maria, but that is highly improbable, Maria is clearly always mentioned as mother of Jesus, not “mother of Jakob” etc. New testament quotes have been searched from church father s texts and other early “official” christian sources, but nobody has really extensively searched huge amount of apocryphic New testament literature, gnostic writings etc. to find out New testament quotations. Or has someone done it? Early apocryphic writings dated to second century at earliest possible dating (or even first century), and third century writings also. Those texts have no value of real history, because they are fiction, but they are good base where old New testament quotes can be found, from second and third century. Early New testament quotes can prove that New testament really was written early. There is just list in agapebiblestudy (com) netpage “Early patristic quotations from the New testament” of “official” church fathers etc. More accurate listing is biblequery (org) “The Canon and how much did early christians refer to the New testament - notes”. Earliest church fathers quoted 2. Peter, letter to Titus, John s 1. letter, and Book of revelation. These quotes may come from first century (1.Clement, letter of Barnabas, Didakhe, letter to Diognetius, Shepherd of Hermas are from first century perhaps) altough it is claimed sometimes that those New testament writings that are quoted are from second century. But church fathers quote them already in first century or very near 100 AD. 1.Clement may be from 65-70 AD if Clement died in 95 AD. Writer of this list sometimes swaps who quoted who, but maybe this is because there are rules for what are quotes and what are allusions, to make quote “legal” and not just allusion he must swap who quote who. Apocryphic writings can also be source of New testament quotes, the earlier the better. Those have NT quotes few and far between, writers of those were not so interested in NT canon because they wrote their own, but NT quotes in early apocryphic works can be found, comprehensive list of apocryphic literature early NT quotes can be made. Otherwise apocryphic works are not historically useful because they are not about real historical events, acta-literature may be exception in some cases. Instead of searching apocryphal quotes from official NT canon, which has been popular for some odd reason, better would be searching NT (official New testament) quotes from apocrypha. In Wikipedia is article “Seventy disciples” of other apostoles than just twelve. In netpage peterkirby (com) “Putting Papias in order” is another historical research. in christianthinktank (com) “Non-christian witnesses to Jesus before 200 AD” is list. In netpage pericopedeadultera (blogspot com) “James Snapp Jr. on textual evidence for PA” is how textual evidence is studied in another case when is searched is text in gospels originally or not.
I must add something. In my text about who was the “other Mary”, i made reference to two bible verses, Mark 15:40 and Mark 16:1. There is theory that the “other Mary” is mentioned in those verses, and those two verses are not about two separate persons (Maria he Iosetos, Maria he Iakobou) but one. Same Maria is mentioned in Mark 15:40 and Mark 16:1. I read that theory from somewhere. Reason that reference to her male relative changes is that those two verses are told to writer (Mark / Markus) by two different eyewitnesses. This is one theory. There is also “Secret gospel of Mark” and new claim by Timo Paananen that it is really written in antique age and not a forgery. This is highly impropable, only one person, the founder of that text, ever saw the original text, and when others wanted to see the original text, not just photos about it, that text “disappeared”. So only photos from 1950s to 1980s remain. Just photos of some text cannot prove that text is written in antique times or not. Original text must be carbon dated or other way analysed, pergament / paper examined etc. Only that is proved that text was written before 1960s when photos were made in 1950s. So claim that it is proved that “Secret gospel of Mark” is real old text just examining photos is not even possible. If the text really was from antique times, it is just about carpocrates, another of many gnostic sects, and text is originally written about third century AD or later (if it is real), by Clement of Alexandria or Origenes. Gnostic sects had little to do with mainstream christianity anyway, and their writings also had little to do with “real” christianity and with real history even less. But it is highly suspiciuous that “Secret gospel of Mark” is old, all about history of that text show to that direction that it is modern forgery. So claim that just 1950s / 1980s photographs can prove text as not a forgery is not possible, original text must be found and analysed. If it is not a 1950s forgery it can be from 1700- century (according to another study) or anytime between antique times and 1950s. Morton Smith who “found” this text was the only one who had access or controlled access to original text during its about 40 years of existence before it “disappeared” in early 1990s. During this 35-40 year period original text was never analysed, only photographs of it. If important text is found it is usually analysed with many experts when it is found. Morton Smith however never allowed that. If handwriting of text does not match Smith s, that only means that text was forged for Smith by someone else. If text really is from antique times it means only that text is from antique times, it does not mean that text is actually written by Clement of Alexandria or Origenes. Paananen himself said that altough he claims text is from antique age, it is perhaps written by someone else than Clement of Alexandria or Origenes. So it is then forgery from that old age. But is highly propable that Secret gospel of Mark is modern forgery made by Morton Smith. He had his own personal agenda, and then he happened to “found” ancient gospel text that supported his own “dissident” personal views. And then that text was never allowed to be analysed properly. And then that text disappeared. After all this, it is very clear that text is most propable a forgery.
About “third quest” of historical studies: “Handbook for the study of the historical Jesus” Holmen, Graves. About virginal birth and son of God principle, writings of John P. Meier, and Graham Twelthtree, and also writings of Erkki Koskenniemi from 1990s. Son of God principle had not used in pagan religions before Christ, Erkki Koskenniemi analysed all claims of sons of gods used as religius form before Jesus in pagan sources, and did not find any, altough it is often claimed otherwise. Epiteth son of god used as religious principle in a similar way that it is used concerning Jesus, was not used before Christ. Pagan sons of gods as religious principle were concepts born after Jesus or historical fabrication (according to Koskenniemi). The list of Agapius that was mentioned in the very first post of this message chain, is perhaps Agapius “Universal history” part 2 (in internet) and his list of early followers of Jesus and his mention of early converts among greeks etc. In book “Idän tietäjät” (not in english language) by emeritus professor Jouko N. Martikainen is that zoroastrian religion had very close ties with judainism in the beginning, and even Zarathustra himself was in zoroastrian tradition Bileam, student of Bileam, or other old testament jewish prophet. According to Solomon of Basra the secretary of prophet Jeremia, Baruk, is Zarathustra. Also there is legend that Baruk wrote Avesta (bible of zoroastrians), altough Avesta is not written by Zarathustra himself but it is collective work of writings from later age than Zarathustra. There is very close ties between judainism and early zoroastrinism. So concept of messiah was direct loan from judainism and the “relayer of mankind” principle was directly copied from jewish sources and their scriptures to religius writings of mythical Zarathustra. There has been studies how zoroastrianism influenced judainism, but not so much studies how early judainism was in the very root of zoroastrian religion, and how much zoroastrianism borrowed from judainism, and it borrowed a lot. The mention in first post in this message chain about aramaic gospels that had colophon written that it was copied from a text from 160 AD, that was Khabouris codex.