Bible Review 8:4, August 1992

Readers Reply

Bible Review

Star’s Trek

The remarkable thing about that Star [said by Matthew 2:1–12 to have led the wise men from the east to Judea; see Readers Reply, BR 08:02] is that it did several things no other star has been known to do: It halted in its orbit, over Jerusalem, whose denizens ignored it despite its apparent brilliance, while the wise men confabulated with Herod. Then, abandoning its orbit, it jogged six miles to its left and stopped over Bethlehem. What did it do after that, and when? We are not told.

All such seemed simple back when the earth stood still and stars, sun, moon, planets, then near at hand, just right up yonder, orbited it each day—for denying which some 1,600 years later Galileo escaped burning only by recanting. But nowadays, the mossiest hardshell canonist credits, at least in public, the apparent motion of stars to a turning of the earth.

So will someone tell us: did the Star veer? Or, instead, did the earth tilt? That is, halt in its eastward whirl (at 1,000+ mph) and then revolve six miles north-northeastward and stop again, so putting Bethlehem under the Star—and, after a while, roll again eastward, forever six miles out of kilter—with the wise men meanwhile oblivious of the drift and halt of all stars?

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