Calculating December 25 as the Birth of Jesus in Hippolytus’ Canon and Chronicon

Calculating December 25 as the Birth of Jesus in Hippolytus’ Canon and Chronicon This article argues that around 235 ce Hippolytus of Rome placed the birth of Jesus on December 25. While this has been theorized in the past, this article brings forward hitherto unheralded evidence about Jesus’ birth from Hippolytus’ Canon and his Chronicon . First, the Canon marks the Passover as the γένεσις of Jesus, a word which scholars have previously thought refers to birth. This article however uses evidence from an extensive word study to show that the term most likely refers to conception, which would then place the birth of Jesus sometime in late fall or early winter. Secondly, the article shows that in his Chronicon Hippolytus placed Jesus’ birth exactly nine months after the anniversary of the world’s creation. Calculations in his Chronicon and Canon indicate that Hippolytus thought the world was created on March 25, meaning that he likely believed that Jesus was born on December 25. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Vigiliae Christianae Brill

Calculating December 25 as the Birth of Jesus in Hippolytus’ Canon and Chronicon

Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 69 (5): 542 – Oct 28, 2015

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0042-6032
eISSN
1570-0720
DOI
10.1163/15700720-12341243
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article argues that around 235 ce Hippolytus of Rome placed the birth of Jesus on December 25. While this has been theorized in the past, this article brings forward hitherto unheralded evidence about Jesus’ birth from Hippolytus’ Canon and his Chronicon . First, the Canon marks the Passover as the γένεσις of Jesus, a word which scholars have previously thought refers to birth. This article however uses evidence from an extensive word study to show that the term most likely refers to conception, which would then place the birth of Jesus sometime in late fall or early winter. Secondly, the article shows that in his Chronicon Hippolytus placed Jesus’ birth exactly nine months after the anniversary of the world’s creation. Calculations in his Chronicon and Canon indicate that Hippolytus thought the world was created on March 25, meaning that he likely believed that Jesus was born on December 25.

Journal

Vigiliae ChristianaeBrill

Published: Oct 28, 2015

Keywords: Hippolytus; Christmas; December 25; Calculation Theory; History of Religions Theory

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