Despite its brief mention in the Gospel of Matthew and in a few early Christian texts, the mysterious star that supposedly guided a group of wise men (magoi) from the East first to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem in search of the new-born Messiah-King of the Jews has for many centuries inspired countless devout Christians, artisans, writers and storytellers.
It has also generated a vast amount of literature by theologians, historians, astronomers and laymen attempting to explain the physical nature of the phenomenon and to obtain chronological information that could help to determine the date of birth of the founder of the Christian faith.
This website offers no new or best theory of what the Star of Bethlehem may have been, nor does it attempt to determine the ‘true’ calendar dates for the birth, ministry and passion of Jesus Christ. It merely attempts to catalogue the various theories that have been proposed during the past few centuries in the hope that it may inspire the curious and be useful to those who wish to study the phenomenon and related issues from an astronomical, historical, theological or sociological perspective.
Contrary to most bibliographies, the references on these webpages are arranged chronologically – the earliest references first and the most recent references at the end. In this way the bibliography indicates how the popularity of various theories for the Star of Bethlehem and related issues have evolved, waxed and waned through the past few centuries. When online editions for items in the bibliography are known to exist, an appropriate weblink has been included.