reply to post by brooklyn87
I have a sound file on my computer by the brilliant Rick Levine that does a pretty good job of explaining this. E-mail or message me and I'll send it
to you. But here's what I remember from it.
The wise guys (Zoroastrian astrologers) were watching the sky and saw a certain kind of planetary conjunction in a certain constellation which they
knew in a month or two would culminate in a bright light not unlike a star. They did not see a star shining over Bethlehem because a star shines
everywhere at once, of course.
So the wise guys start makin' a fuss, because this conjunction means that a great king is about to be born. A king among kings, even. So they start
packing and tell king Herod, or perhaps he just heard they fuss they were making. Anyhow, he hears about this conjunction rumor and calls them over to
the palace so they can explain things to him.
They take him out in the desert and show him the planets getting closer together and explain what it means to them. Specifically, Herod is told, this
king of all kings will be a king of the Jews (I think the constellation in question was considered Jew-related). He sets them free and they manage to
get to Bethlehem just as the conjunction happens, and as the baby is born.
A year or so later, maybe not that long, Herod decides it would be best to eliminate the kid, and makes the proclamation that all male babies under 1
were going to be slain. Presuming, foolishly, that he had nothing to worry about from the females.
This is in about 4-6 BC. The man who was tasked with inventing the calendar decided (since he worked for the pope) that the most important thing in
the world was the birth of the baby Jesus. So he wanted the calendar to start from there. He decided a good place to start counting from (since they
didn't have Jesus' birth certificate) was the reign of a certain king.
BUT he forgot that that same king had previously reigned for a few years under a different name. So that's why the calendar is messed up. The length
of the king's first reign was 5 years or so. Plus, there were no zeroes back in those days, so there it's off by another one. Which makes the count
4-6 years off and that's where we get the idea that Jesus was born in 4-6 AD
Side note: Most cultures viewed time as circular, not linear before the Jews or so. Because time really is a circle, at least for the lifespan of us
humans. Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, etc. You're born, then you die, then you're born, then you die. Water goes down
the mountain, into the sky, and back down the mountain again.
However Judaism and it's precedents were all based on this "Messiah" idea. That one day in the future, all this crap will be over. Most cultures
aside from this think it's the person which will eventually disappear or change form, not the whole world. "The world ends with you" kinda concept
versus "The world just ends". So if there's a future date where it ends, and it began sometime, time has two ends and is therefore a line. So now
we need a calendar. If time isn't going to end sometime then there's really no need for the concept of linear time at all.