Greeting Everyone! Here are the final results to the St. Cyprian Algorithm. If you what greeter insight to what I blog about, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Essence of Perfection. History tells us how the concept of the integral existence of Jesus was popular among many early Christians. I help to explain how this idea was slowly destroyed by Antisemitism generated by some early Church Fathers. This was further helped along with the desire by some of the same men to create a holiday that could compete with pagan winter festivals. Here is the results!
The St. Cyprian Algorithm for finding the date of the Nativity
This one is for the non-computer geeks. An algorithm (pronounced AL-go-rith-um) is a procedure or formula for solving a problem, based on conducting a sequence of specified actions.
The De Pascha Computus is an important source for the birth of Jesus, and the only one linking it to the creation account in Genesis. It also can be used to produce an algorithm that could unlock the date to the Nativity. It was written around 250 CE by an unknown theologian, most likely from northern Africa. The work as attributed to St. Cyprian. Although Passover is not mentioned by name in it, the Torah indicates that its seven days are on the same dates as the seven days of creation. The seven days of Passover coincide with the seven-day week that coincides with seven days of creation. According to the De Pascha Computus, the anniversary of creation was the same time as the spring equinox. It was also the same time as the Nativity. The passage reads:
O the splendid and divine providence of the Lord, that on that day, even the very day on which the sun was made, the 28 March, a Wednesday, Christ should be born. For this reason Malachi the prophet, speaking about him to the people, fittingly said, “Unto you shall the sun of righteousness arise, and healing is in his wings.
So, this is what an algorithm would look for the De Pascha Computus.
1. A verse from scripture that agrees with the De Pascha Computus.
2. A year from 7 BCE to 1 BCE that had Passover and the vernal equinox occurring at the same time.
3. A year that March 28 was on a Wednesday.
4. A year that March 25 was the first day of Passover and March 28 was the fourth day.
5. A celestial event or events that was occurring at the same time that could have been the Star of Bethlehem.
6. Reasons for the Magi recognizing those celestial event.
7. Further proof of a Passover Nativity.
8. Further proof of a Passover Nativity.
9. Further proof of a Passover Nativity
10. A connection to modern day Christmas (if this was widely accepted, there would be a connection to Dec. 25).
 Susan Roll, Toward the Origins of Christmas, 82. The verse reference is from Mal 3:20.
Results for the the algorithm for the first 3 steps. I must confess that I had a pretty good idea of which of the years from 7 BCE to 1 BCE would come out on top, but I was not sure how well the other years would do.
First Step- A verse from scripture that agrees with the De Pascha Computus.
According to the De Pascha Computus Jesus was born near the vernal equinox. Therefore, if one was searching for a verse that backs up this believe, it would need to indicate a springtime birth for Jesus during the month of Nissan. There is a verse from the Talmud that does just that. Thus, the De Pascha Computus is valid due to the fact that it is plainly backed by sacred Jewish scripture. It states,
R. Yehoshua, says: In Nissan the world was created, and in the same month the patriarchs were born, and in Nissan they also died; Isaac was born on the Passover; on New Year’s Day Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were visited, Joseph was released from prison, and the bondage of our fathers in Egypt ceased. In Nissan our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt, and in the same month we shall again be redeemed.
Second Step- A year from 7 BCE to 1 BCE that had Passover and the vernal equinox occurring at the same time. Here are Passover dates from 7 BCE to 1 BCE. Tekufot (Jewish vernal equinox) according to Mar Samuel Yarhinai. This is based on the Jewish calendar converter by R. H. van Gent. Of the seven years, only 5 BCE and 2 BCE have a Passover and vernal equinox occurring at the same time.
7 BCE- 1st day of Passover is April 14, Jewish equinox is March 26
6 BCE- 1st day of Passover is April 3, Jewish equinox is March 26
5 BCE- 1st day of Passover is March 23, Jewish equinox is March 25
4 BCE- 1st day of Passover is April 12, Jewish equinox is March 25
3 BCE- 1st day of Passover is March 31, Jewish equinox is March 26
2 BCE- 1st day of Passover is March 20, Jewish equinox is March 26
1 BCE- 1st day of Passover is April 8, Jewish equinox is March 25
Third Step- A year that March 28 was on a Wednesday.
7 BCE- March 28 is a Saturday
6 BCE- March 28 is a Sunday
5 BCE- March 28 is a Tuesday
4 BCE- March 28 is a Wednesday
3 BCE- March 28 is a Thursday
2 BCE- March 28 is a Friday
1 BCE- March 28 is a Sunday
Of the seven years, the only one that works with this step is 4 BCE.
Fourth step- A year that March 25 was the first day of Passover and March 28 was the fourth day.
There is only one year, 5 BCE in which a Passover occurs at the same as the Jewish equinox on either March 25 or March 26.
March 23 5 BCE was the first day of Passover, March 25 was the third day of Passover, March 28 the seventh day of Passover.
Fifth step- A celestial event or events that was occurring at the same time that could have been the Star of Bethlehem.
The Chinese observed a comet in March 5 BCE in the constellation of Capricorn. This is the only primary source available, that I know of, that could have been the Star of Bethlehem. A total lunar eclipse also occurred on the Passover Moon on March 23. Thus, based on ancient primary sources, the only celestial event or object that could have been the Star of Bethlehem was this comet that was in the sky during the month of Passover.
Sixth Step- Reasons for the Magi recognizing those celestial event.
Although we will most likely never know what the 5 BCE Chinese comet looked like or how its tail pointed, it is a historical fact that Caesar Augustus justified his reign based on a comet shortly after Julius Caesar’s death. Augustus was also a proud Capricorn. Both comets and Capricorn are depicted on the back of his official coins. The Talmud inform us that a total lunar eclipse was bad for Israel. Was this the reason told in Matt. 2 for Herod and Jerusalem being troubled?
Seventh Step- Further proof of a Passover Nativity.
Matthew 2:2-4 states, After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.
The teachers of the law knew the Oral Law and the belief of the patriarchs being born in Nissan, the month of Passover. Herod and Jerusalem being troubled could be due to the fact that the Passover of 5 BCE was a total eclipse.
Eighth Step- Further proof of a Passover Nativity.
Clement of Alexandria notes in the 2nd Century that some of the Gnostic Christians of Alexandria were worshiping Jesus’ birth and death on the same date.
Ninth Step- Further proof of a Passover Nativity.
A 3rd statue of St. Hippolytus of Rome was rediscovered in 1551 noting that Passover was not only the death of Jesus, but also the Genesis. This indicates that his followers, not Gnostic Christians, believed Passover to be the time of the Nativity.
Tenth Step- A connection to modern day Christmas (if the Passover birth was widely accepted there would be a connection to Dec. 25).
St. Hippolytus statue indicates that Jesus was born on Passover. 200 years latter St. Augustine said that Jesus was conceived on March 25, the the day of the Jewish equinox. This is nine months before December 25.
Of all the years from 7 BCE to 1 BCE, 5 BCE is the clear best choice as the winner of the algorithm. Steps 3 and 4 do not match with 5 BCE. Step 3 is one day off and step 4 is two days off. 5 BCE has an excellent Star of Bethlehem candidate, valid reasons for the Magi to visit Jesus, and proof from the Talmud and Matthew. Any Christian who is Anti-Semitic should reconsider their views or do further research. Remember Jesus told us to obey the Law, cleansed the Temple, and fulfilled prophecy from the Bible and Talmud. Until next time, GO WITH GOD!
1 Michael L. Rodkinson and Isaac M. Wise, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (Boston: Boston New Talmud Society, 1918), 917.
15 years ago I became interested in the date that Jesus was born. This led to several years of research, I quickly realized that there was no valid information that provided any real answers to this question. Since this website is getting some interest, I will post from time to time some of the information I learned during this quest.