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Was the Star of Bethlehem real after all?

International specialists meet for two-day conference in Groningen
15 October 2014
Star on the Academy Building (photo John Welling)
Star on the Academy Building (photo John Welling)

Very few phenomena appeal to the imagination in quite the same way as the Star of Bethlehem. Experts have been debating the existence of this Biblical star for centuries. New studies made using modern computer programmes have now come up with a new theory about the authenticity of the star. International specialists from countries including the US and the UK will attend a two-day conference organized by the University of Groningen on 23 and 24 October to consider the new evidence.

International experts come to Groningen

Twenty international specialists in the field of astronomy, religious studies and ancient history have combined the new theory with traditionally accepted astrological theories and come up with a new explanation for The Star. The leading authority on the history of astronomy, Prof. Owen Gingerich from Harvard University, will be joined in Groningen by other specialists from the field, including Prof. Bradley Schaefer (Louisiana) and professors of antiquity Alexander Jones (New York) and John Steele (Rhode Island).

The British Professor David Hughes, author of many famous articles and a book about The Star, will deliver the concluding lecture. A number of Dutch academics will also address the conference.

Thirty observers have been invited to attend the conference, and will be welcome to join in the group discussions.

400 years after De Vero Anno

This year, it is four hundred years since Johannes Kepler published his book De Vero Anno, in which he sets out his interpretation of The Star. This, in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the University of Groningen, is the reason for organizing the conference on the Star of Bethlehem.

More information and to register

More information is available from the organizers, Prof. P.D. Barthel (Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Groningen) and/or Prof. G.H. van Kooten (Professor of New Testament & Early Christianity at the University of Groningen); e -mail: pdb and g.h.van.kooten

To register:

University of Groningen: Gernant Deekens, e-mail:, tel. +31 (0)629 006 966
Last modified:18 December 2023 08.56 a.m.
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