About this time of year, astronomers always write up their speculations
about the star of Bethlehem. In describing the candidate events
that might have been referred to by Matthew, some events are described
as being visible in the east before dawn, others in the west after sunset.
This brings up a question on which the greek language has a bearing.
In these citations,
Mt 2:2 EIDOMEN GAR AUTOU TON ASTERA EN TH ANATOLH KAI HLQOMEN PROSKUNHSAI AUTW
Mt 2:9 O ASTHR ON EIDON EN TH ANATOLH PROHGEN AUTOUS
which interpretation was intended:
A. the magi looked eastward to see the star, or
B. the magi were located east of Jerusalem when they saw the star?
Choice A is much more natural on first reading the verses and is
the interpretation found in many Christmas songs. The problem is that
verse 1 says IDOU MAGOI APO ANATOLWN PAREGENONTO EIS IEROSOLUMA.
This means that they traveled westward to Jerusalem.
And although the PROHGEN AUTOUS refers to their travel after the
interview with Herod, not necessarily before, still it seems natural
to suppose that this sky event occurred on the Jerusalem-side
of whatever location they started their journey at.
Of course, I realize that natural _astronomical_ events do not move
in the fashion required by verse 9, but I still wonder whether
Greek Grammar permits both the A and B interpretations equally well.
Vincent Broman, code D783 Bayside Email: email@example.com
Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, RDT&E Div.
San Diego, CA 92152-6222, USA Phone: +1 619 553 1641
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