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The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian writers such as Irenaeus (c. This stands in sharp contrast to the very early traditions surrounding Jesus’ last days.

Each of the Four Gospels provides detailed information about the time of Jesus’ death.

According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed.

This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown).

In Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, the Last Supper is held after sundown, on the beginning of the 15th.

Its observance could even be implied in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 5:7–8: “Our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered.Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].” Clearly there was great uncertainty, but also a considerable amount of interest, in dating Jesus’ birth in the late second century.We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566.

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