The Star of Bethlehem is one of the greatest mysteries in astronomy and in the Bible. What was it? How did it prompt the Magi to set out on a long journey to Judea? How did it lead them to Jesus? Drawing on cutting-edge astronomical research and key documents from antiquity, Nicholl’s beautifully illustrated study, The Great Christ Comet, explores the remarkable celestial event that took place around the time of Christ’s birth.
It’s been more than 10 years since I last sat in a college classroom. However, as I began reading Colin R. Nicholl’s latest work The Great Christ Comet, I easily fell back into the role of a student. Drawing from his training as a Bible scholar and his belief in the inerrant truth of scripture, the author established, from the outset, that the Bible would be the foundation for his argument. That is to say, the Word of God was the plumb line by which all subsequent theories and conclusions would be vetted. I found this approach to be incredibly refreshing and faith building!
Evidence to indicate the Bethlehem Star was actually a comet is presented methodical, exhaustively, and with supportive historicity. As mentioned, scripture was the launch point for this book. Nicholl opened with careful examination of Matthew 2:1-18 (the Magi’s Messianic visit) in order to establish a timeline of events and to validate the reliability of the recorded account. He then expands the scope of supportive data to include Old and New Testament Prophecy, a brief history of astrology in the ancient world, and pertinent details from Jewish and Babylonian history. When the astronomical details are presented, I felt indebted to Nicholl for sharing the wonder of his findings in an approachable fashion. To this end, the inclusion of numerous charts, diagrams, and graphic overlays made it easier for a layman, like myself, to understand the scientific vernacular. In conclusion, The Great Christ Comet was far more than an academic text, it was also is a worship-inducing unveiling of biblical mysteries.
I received this book from Crossway for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.”
About the Author
Colin R. Nicholl (PhD, University of Cambridge) taught at the University of Cambridge and was a professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary before devoting himself to biblical research. His book From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica was published by Cambridge University Press, and his articles have appeared in publications such as The Journal of Theological Studies and The Times (London).