When Was Jesus Born?
Note: The following Post is taken from the book by Joseph Lenard entitled Mysteries of Jesus’ Life Revealed—His Birth, Death, Resurrection, and Ascensions. For an overview and complete chapter listing of this fascinating study, click here.
The “Dark Decade” in History – 6 BC to AD 4
I have established with near certainly in earlier Posts that September 11, 3 BC is the likely birth date of Jesus. Can this date be further confirmed from secular historical records? This is puzzle piece 6.
Although the answer is “Yes,” secular records are scarce from the Roman Empire during the years 6 BC to AD 4. Ernest Martin has stated that
“It is a common lament among Roman historians that this ten-year period (one of the most important in the history of western civilization) bristles with many historical and chronological difficulties because of garbled or imperfect records that have come down to us.”
This problem was echoed by Sir Ronald Syme in his work The Crisis of 2 BC (1974), in which he wrote about “. . . the hazards inherent in the obscure decade 6 B.C. – A.D. 4.”
And of the great first century historian Josephus, Ernest Martin wrote:
“One must exercise caution in the reading of Josephus—especially in chronological affairs from about 9 B.C. to A.D. 6. We do not know why Josephus in that period neglected to give cross-references to internationally recognized eras of time, but he was negligent! And this is precisely where our problem lies. Not only are the records from Roman historians very deficient at this period of time (it was when that dark decade was in effect), but Josephus himself fails us too when it comes to precise chronological indications. It is no wonder historians are confused regarding the time of Jesus’ birth.”