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Famed German astronomer Johann Kepler (1571–1630) calculated that there would have been a partial lunar eclipse (40%) visible in Palestine during the night of 13–14 March 4 noted that Herod the Great was named king of the Jews in “the one hundred and eighty-fourth Olympiad, when Caius Domitius Calvinus was consul the second time, and Caius Asinius Pollio [the first time]” ( According to Josephus, following the death of Herod, his son Archelaus sent to Caesar (Augustus) his petition for approval of Herod’s testament.

Caesar consulted with others, including his grandson Gaius, about the matter (, meaning that his father died before that time.

In his compilation of ancient chronographies, Michael, the Jacobite Christian patriarch of Antioch, Syria (1166–1199), wrote that the wise men came in Herod’s thirty-fifth year and that the king died at the age of 70 after a reign of 37 years.

His son Archelaus ruled for nine years, after which he was succeeded by Herod (Antipus) the tetrarch, in the same year that Caesar Augustus died and Tiberius Caesar succeeded him for twenty-three years ( at the time of his baptism and that John the Baptist began preaching “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod [Antipas] being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother [Herod] Philip tetrarch…

Because the prefect of Judaea had no authority over Antipas’s territory, scholars have doubted that Joseph could have gone to Bethlehem for taxation purposes.

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