Greetings, What date or month was Jesus born? I know that many scholars say it was December. Is this true? Thank you very much.


Because we know that Herod tried to have Jesus killed and because Herod died in 4BC, it is most likely that Jesus was born about 6BC plus or minus one year.  As to the date/time of the year, no one knows.  What we can say almost for sure is that it was not in December.  The best hint that I know of is that we learn in Luke that “the shepherds were out in the fields.”  I am not an expert on the seasons and farming cylces in the ancient Near East, but from what I have heard, the most likely time that shepherds would be out in their fields with their flocks at night was the Spring or Fall, so it is more likely that Jesus was born either in the Spring or Fall.

Another comment is that, apparently, it is not important when Jesus was born.  If it was important, we can assume that God would have let us know in the scriptures.  So…. for what it is worth, the traditional date for the birth of Jesus, either the Western date of December 25th or the traditional date of Christmas in the East of Jan 7th, almost certainly is not the correct date. Historians tell us that the Western date was created as a Christian alternative to the pagan holiday known as the Saturnalia.  It appears that when the Roman Church chose this date, they knew it was not the actual birthday of Jesus of Nazareth.

You say that “Many scholars say it was in December.”  I disagree with this.  As far as I know, the great majority of scholars agree that Jesus probably was NOT born in December, so I am not sure where you heard this.

Anyway, this is a fun question, but clearly not an essential one.

John Oakes

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