Christmas day and the pagan "Sol Invictus"

(Jon) #61

So what? Those are not sources I quoted. They’re also plain wrong.


The Sun or Moon Altitude/Azimuth Table on the US Naval Observatory web site and an estimation of how much of a change could be detected.

My point exactly. With no fixed observation position it would be very difficult. With a fixed observation position it would be possible, think Stonehenge,

36 minutes. And you are making my point for me. If ancient astronomers couldn’t distinguish 0.01 degree then it would take more than 3 days to see the difference. BTW the sun’s angular diameter is 0.53 degrees. It takes 9 days for the azimuth at sunset to change that much. If you can figure out how much of a change they could distinguish it would tell you how long a period of time would be considered a “pause”, but I bet somebody decided it was “3 days” to make it agree with a pet theory.

The Babylonians had a highly developed system of astronomy and probably knew the solstice only lasted one day because they measured the length of the solstice day.

So to get to a 3 day pause you need an observer that was skilled, but not too skilled. Who do you believe came up with the 3 day pause?

(George Brooks) #63


Huh? You are going to stick with that story ? That there was no celebration anywhere in the Pagan world on December 25?

Man, you are one brave dude…You don’t even know how much you don’t know … and you are adamantly denying all of it…

Here’s an Online SunTool …

Learn something…

(George Brooks) #64


You really have no idea what you are talking about. You describe the Babylonians as if they knew the Sun and the Planets were in elliptical orbits around Earth.

The reason the Planets, the Moon and the Sun were characterized as intelligent beings is because they were unpredictable.

And the general belief was that these celestial objects were communicating information to the mortals below by their every irregularity (and by some of their regularities too).

The modern astronomical analemma creates a geometric table showing the viewer how the Sun sped up and slowed down at various times of the year. These changes were filled with meaning… foolishly derived meaning perhaps… but not just randomness.

Frankly, I didn’t expect to pick up two people in the audience who virtually reject a common and accepted understanding of interpreting solstices in the A.N.E. For at least one here, the very meaning or interpretation of the word “solstice” is up for grabs! How do you two expect to defeat the atheists in the world if you don’t know your histories?

(Jon) #65

You’re not answering the question George. Here’s the question again.

(George Brooks) #66


Priestly astronomers who wanted to derive some meaning from the 3 day slow-down/pause. The interpretation became broadly accepted, and triggered secondary and tertiary interpretations over the course of multiple centuries.

But if you have a better answer, I’m eager to hear it.

(Jon) #67

Ok great. Which priestly astronomers? Who were they? When did they live? Where did they live? Where’s the documentary evidence for all this?

(George Brooks) #68


Look, I still haven’t put together the time necessary to answer your prior questions. Why don’t You answer this one this time. I actually have some pressing matters on this side of the world that don’t have anything to do with BioLogos. And the questions you are asking are not really my area of expertise. But based on the challenges I have been facing from our other 2 correspondents, there is a lot of room for lack of expertise.

How would you answer @Bill_II’s question, in the stunning @Jonathan_Burke way? I’m sure I would find your version of your answer to be quite informative.

(Jon) #69

Pro tip, don’t make claims that you can’t support. This will save you a lot of time and angst in the future. In this thread you keep making claims for which you have no evidence, and consequently the amount of work you need to do in order to substantiate your hasty claims, just keeps pilling up.

Why? Because I don’t know. Like him, I don’t know any ancient observer who came up with the idea of this “three day pause” you keep claiming was observed, recorded, and celebrated by some ancient priests who you can’t identify. That’s your claim, and you have to support it. It’s not other people’s job to look for evidence for your claims.

(George Brooks) #70


So are you here to score debating points? Or are you here to advance the discussion of facts?

I’ve asked you nicely to contribute. I don’t have time right now. And instead of responding to my request, you characterize my lack of time as some sort of grandiosity of ignorance on my part.

Look… I’m serious. I’ve got plenty of things on the fires here … and if you need my permission to take a nap, then here it is. I don’t have time to play “dueling questions” with you … especially if you reject my request to have a turn with the questions in the duel.

So your idea of a duel is: you have a machine gun, and I have a white flag? Ha. Wait your turn or help out, Jonathan. You don’t want to win the All Time Bloviating Award every year, do you? I have some matters to attend to.

(Jon) #71

Advance the discussion of facts. That’s why I made a fact filled post which was thoroughly supported by a range of scholarly sources.

And I have contributed. You’ve asked me to find something which I don’t think exists, and I’ve told you I don’t think it exists.


Huh? You are going to stick with that story ? That there was no celebration anywhere in the Pagan world on December 25?

I never said there were none, I simply said that if you really wanted to, you could probably find a pagan celebration close to almost any date in the year. Thus, saying that Saturnalia is “close enough” to Christmas in time isn’t enough. No matter when Christmas happened, there would probably be some pagan holiday close to it in time.

As far as I’m concerned, 1) If there are any pagan celebrations, I’m not aware of them, and 2) if there are any such pagan celebrations or events, it definitely isn’t the solstice or saturnalia.

I could try using that sun earth tool, but it’d take a bit for me to figure it out. Pretty complicated. Are you telling me that your use of the sun earth tool has proven a rise of the sun after the solstice for exactly three days?

Or maybe you can admit that there are no pagan events relating to December 25th and that the entire claim is a modern fiction.

(Jon) #73

That would be just too hard!

(George Brooks) #74


Careful what you wish for.

I have already put together a fairly impressive list of academics who don’t agree with what you say about Jesus and December 25. Indeed, I was surprised at the sheer variety of conclusions these folks want to draw from different parts of the five centuries or so where December 25 became increasingly discussed by the early Church, east and west.

If you want to be a hero, explain the interpretation of the 3 days after the Winter Solstice to our onlooker disbelievers. Or are you going to tell me that you reject my presentation for how these 3 days were interpreted?

That would be quite interesting to here you state. The reason you won’t answer my questions is that it galls you that you would have to support my interpretation of this much of what I’m saying.

But don’t worry, Jonathan, there will be plenty left for you to disagree with.

(Jon) #75


What interpretation? Who’s interpretation? Yours?

Sure I do. I already told you that.

No, the reason why I haven’t answered your request to find evidence for your interpretation, is because I do not agree with your interpretation. I don’t believe the evidence exists! You are asking me to find something which I don’t believe exists! You are in this thread literally piling up false claim after false claim, unsubstantiated statement after unsubstantiated statement, and when you’re called out on these claims you ask other people to find evidence for them! You wouldn’t take this from a YEC, would you?

(George Brooks) #76


Go ahead… tell the world that you agree with Korvexius that there were Zero pagan events relating to December 25. Go ahead. State your position.

If you don’t state your position with clarity at this time, I will consider the whole debate null and void. Because now all you are doing is trying to score points…

State your position, or drop the whole thing. In fact, I encourage you to agree with him. It would give me something funny to think about now and then - - for years to come.

(Jon) #77

No, because he didn’t even say that. You can’t even represent him correctly.

I have stated my position with great clarity.

  1. There were no pagan festivals held on December 25 in the Roman empire from the first to the sixth century.
  2. The early Christians did not arrive at the date of December 25 for Jesus’ birth in order to try and replace an existing pagan festival.
  3. There is no evidence that Tammuz was believed to have risen on December 25.
  4. There is no evidence that Saturnalia was celebrated on December 25.
  5. There is no evidence that any festival for Sol Invictus was celebrated on December 25.

I have provided abundant evidence for this, and maintained this position throughout this entire thread.

(George Brooks) #78


I’m not talking about how the 3 days were interpreted by Christians.
I’m talking about how the 3 days were interpreted by pagans.
You disagree with me about that as well? Really? Bwaaa haaaaa…

(George Brooks) #79


Are you 5 years old? I didn’t ask you to state your position on the Roman Empire. I asked you to answer his question the way he asked it.

He said No Pagans… he didn’t say No Pagans in the Roman Empire.

(Jon) #80

I know you’re not.

I know you are.

I disagree with you that there were any pagans in the Roman empire between the first and sixth centuries who celebrated a festival on those three days. There might have been some pagans somewhere on the planet in the last 10,000 years who celebrated a festival on those three days, but I haven’t seen any evidence for this and you have failed to provide any. So until you provide some evidence, I disagree with you on this too.

He has already corrected you on this. He said this.

I agree with that.