|From:||Bryan Maloney <slimehoo@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, January 21, 2003, 22:14|
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, James Landau
> In a message dated 1/19/2003 7:40:30 PM PacificStandard Time,
> peter-clark@B... writes:
> > On Sunday 19 January 2003 07:14 pm, James Landauwrote:
> > > I've usually seen it given as "4 B.C.". (If youcan think of
> > way
> > > to express the would-be year 0 that marked thetransition from
> > > A.D., tell me). Of course there had to be somesignificance to
> > or
> > > else why would anyone have started there if theyknew he wasn't
There was no year zero for the same reason that there
is no "base
zero" when one talks about RNA transcription. In
DNA bases in a gene can be given a position number
based either on
start of transcription. In both cases, "-1" is
by "+1". This is perfectly meaningful and logical. A
base is either
before a transcribed region begins or after it begins.
There are no
"zero bases" that are neither transcribed nor not
Messes up computer jocks who try to program for
but why ruin a true-to-the-state model merely for the
sake of some
kind of rigor? Indeed, a mathematically rigorous
would actually be quite false.
> I never asked about the year 0 A.D. or the year 0B.C., only the
> point between 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 1 B.C. and12:00 midnight
> 1, A.D. 1 on at which you'd logically think Jesuswas traditionally
> to have been born (of course, many put it atDecember 25, 1 B.C.,
> "4 B.C." estimate won out, but even that would stillmean he was
born a full
> six days before "the birth of Jesus").
> > We have to thank a monk by the name ofDionysius Exiguus
> > the
> > Little), who had the task of figuring out theEaster cycles. In
> > unhappy that the current system of numbering yearscounted from
> > of
> > Diocletian, who had persecuted Christians duringhis reign,
> > the
> > Church needed a new system, and so (naturally)based it on his
> > of
> > Christ's birth. Unfortunately, we're a littlefoggy on why he chose
> > December 753 AUC[**] (ab urbe condita, i.e. sincethe founding of
> > there are a couple of theories, but I'm not awareof any that have
> > decisively proven.
> What I always heard was that Christmas had actuallybeen celebrated
> earlier and was moved to the twenty-fifth ofDecember to coincide
> winter solstice festivals of Norse and Celtic paganreligions to try
> them over to Christianity. They could make Christmasmuch more fun
> convince the pagans who couldn't be convinced bymere missionary
Here is the actual situation.
1: The Romans had a calendar that had certain months.
continued to be used because it was considered too
change everything. The Roman calendar originally
began in the month
of Mars (March) but this was moved to the month of
before Julius Caesar took power. He hired experts to
calendar, thus producing the "Julian" calendar of
exactly 365.25 days
2: For at least the first century of Christianity,
the birth of
Christ was not considered an extremely important
holiday. It was the
Resurrection that was the big deal (and is still the
big deal in my
own Church--Orthodoxy). However, over time, local
the birth were observed, the earliest known being
around AD200 in
Alexandria, and it was in the spring..
3: The Western Empire was very Latin in culture, and
this Latin part
of the Empire had a pre-extant winter solstice
leaders in the West decided that it would be a good
idea to at least
put some brake on the pure selfishness of this revelry
by having a
major Church holiday (holy-day) during this festival.
25th was chosen. It also made for a good symbol--the
new light of the
sun as a symbol for the New Light of Christ. This was
not done as a
way to "convert more pagans". At the time, the Church
worried about surviving.
Missionizing of "German and Celtic pagans" would not
start for a
couple of centuries. Even then, the East did not
accept the new date
until a century after the West fixed it.
Unfortunately, the general
mass of the laity eventually erroneously concluded
celebration of the date meant that it was "Jesus's
on, in the 19th century, Protestant scholars jumped to
that it was some sort of intentional conversion
policies came later. Then we have the 20th century
when a bizarre
coalition of neopagans and fundamentalists came along
with an agenda
to "prove" that all the old Church festivals were
"really" just pagan
festivals, and we have fodder for the Today Show.
4: When Dionysus ("Dennis" is just the English form
of the name) set
the calendar, January 1 was not chosen as the new
year. Instead, he
counted back from December 25th, setting the new year
at March 25th.
England celebrated new years day on March 25th as late
as the reign of
> At least that explains why the A.D. system beginsin A.D. 1 and
> Tradition says Jesus was born when we made thetransition from B.C.
> a birth that was only dated then in retrospect andthen magically
> years when no one was around to double-check onDennis the Little.
Nothing was "magically lost". He just didn't add up
the tax records
> So why would they be all that keen to celebrate>
> > Christmas? Unless they converted to Christianity(Missionaries in
Actually, the Japanese are keen on Christmas but
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