Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Interviewing Colin Nicholl On "The Great Christ Comet"

Earlier I wrote here about a remarkable new book "The Great Christ Comet" that is breathtaking in its scholarship. In this video, Eric Metaxas interviews the author Colin Nicholl (PhD from Cambridge).



[While I'm still reading the book, apparently the author makes a strong case that the birth of Jesus happened on the Feast of Tabernacles in September (something I argued for in 2013 here). (Interestingly, if this is true, then the conception would have happened very close to Dec 25!)]

Book Reviews:

“The Great Christ Comet is a stunning book. Colin R. Nicholl develops a convincing case for what exactly the Star of Bethlehem was. The book reads like a detective novel, and while it is full of evidence, information, and argumentation, it is accessible and enjoyable to read. This work is now the definitive treatment of the subject. I highly recommend it.”
J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University; author, The Soul: How We Know It’s Real and Why It Matters

“I am simply in awe of this book. The Great Christ Comet is an absolutely astonishing triumph of interdisciplinary scholarship so rarely seen and so tremendously illuminating as to merit bright comparison with the very celestial phenomenon it describes. Both lead us to the manger and to the Great Poet within, whose syllables are the moon and sun and stars.”
Eric Metaxas, New York Times best-selling author, Miracles and Bonhoeffer

“In every respect this volume is a remarkable achievement. I regard it as the most important book ever published on the Star of Bethlehem and enthusiastically commend it.”
Gary W. Kronk, author, Cometography; Consultant, American Meteor Society

“The most comprehensive interdisciplinary synthesis of biblical and astronomical data yet produced. It is a remarkable feat that a biblical scholar has been able to master the scientific data at such a level of erudition. No discussion of the historicity of the Star of Bethlehem can afford to ignore this book.”
Simon Gathercole, Senior Lecturer in New Testament, University of Cambridge; author, Where Is Boasting? and The Preexistent Son

“In this erudite, engrossing, and compelling book, Colin R. Nicholl painstakingly develops a new solution for the enduring mystery of the Star of Bethlehem, bringing together the biblical story and ancient descriptions of the sky with modern understandings of astronomy. Nicholl’s argument—that the celestial visitor was actually a phenomenal comet that passed perilously close by Earth in 6 BC—is certain to be discussed and debated for years to come.”
Duncan Steel, Visiting Astronomer, Armagh Observatory; Visiting Professor, University of Buckingham; author, Eclipse and Marking Time

“This is an amazing study. It reads like an absorbing detective story. Nicholl starts with a detailed reading of Matthew’s account of the visit of the Magi. He makes the case, based on ancient and modern astronomy, that the star of Bethlehem was a great comet whose behavior in the sky would have been interpreted by ancient astrologers as announcing the birth of a Jewish Messiah. The depth and breadth of learning that Nicholl displays is prodigious and persuasive, and all future studies will have to take its proposals most seriously.”
Gordon Wenham, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament, Trinity College, Bristol

“This is an outstanding book, quite breathtaking in the range of its scholarship, yet a page-turner in terms of its accessibility. Colin R. Nicholl is eminently followable, using detective skills to assess the biblical, historical, and astronomical evidence that lead him to conclude that the ‘star’ of Bethlehem was a comet. A real tour de force that I recommend unreservedly to a broad readership.”
John C. Lennox, Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford

“Colin R. Nicholl brilliantly tackles a subject that has been debated for centuries. The Great Christ Comet is a captivating book on the Star of Bethlehem. You will not be able to put this book down!”
Louie Giglio, Pastor, Passion City Church, Atlanta, Georgia; Founder, Passion Conferences

“Readers of this book will learn a lot of astronomy, history, and theology. Nicholl has produced a remarkable and fascinating book that combines the best of recent scientific scholarship with the best biblical scholarship. The Great Christ Comet is a model of the integration of science and Scripture, and presents a tightly reasoned and highly plausible argument that the Star was a comet. A terrific read!”
Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary; author, Matthew (Word Biblical Commentary)

“Nicholl breaks important new ground in the quest for the historical Star of Bethlehem. Not only does he develop a formidable case for identifying the Star as a great comet; he also proposes a fresh explanation as to what it may have done to so impress the Magi. Nicholl has a clear understanding of the relevant areas of modern astronomy, and especially of the nature, evolution, and orbital dynamics of comets as currently understood. This work will be of great interest to astronomers, theologians, historians of science, and the general public, and will hopefully stimulate important new lines of scientific enquiry.”
Mark E. Bailey MBE, Director, Armagh Observatory; coauthor, The Origin of Comets

“Colin R. Nicholl’s magnum opus, which interprets Matthew’s Nativity ‘star’ as a spectacular comet, is fascinating and illuminating. He supports his thesis by appealing to Babylonian, classical, and patristic texts as well as modern astronomical data on comets. His comprehensive mastery of the data enables him to present a detailed scenario of the Magi’s initial sighting, subsequent observations, journey, and visit to the house in Bethlehem to view the newborn Christ child.”
Edwin M. Yamauchi, Professor Emeritus of History, Miami University

“This is the only book I know of by a biblical scholar on the Star of Bethlehem. It is rooted in a detailed analysis of the biblical text and offers a comprehensive scientific explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. Nicholl makes a compelling case that the Star was a comet, supporting this conclusion with a mass of evidence from a variety of sources. I strongly recommend his work on one of the most fascinating biblical mysteries.”
Sir Colin Humphreys, Professor and Director of Research, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge; author, The Miracles of Exodus

“This rigorous and compelling book sets a new standard for the study of the Star of Bethlehem. No prior investigation of this mystery has brought the disciplines of biblical studies and astronomy together in such a clear, thoroughly researched, and decisive way. Nicholl lets us observe the skies with the Magi and walk with them all the way to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. This richly illustrated and pleasantly accessible work is a must-read for everyone even vaguely interested in the Magi’s Star. I enthusiastically recommend this eye-opening book!”
John J. Hartmann, former Assistant Lecturer of Greek, University of Cambridge; Pastor, New Reformation Church, St. Louis, Missouri

"Colin R. Nicholl offers an impressive case for understanding the Magi’s star as a comet. He has produced a readable and beautifully illustrated introduction to relevant fields of astronomy, and has laid out pertinent historical data with proportion, care, and integrity. Based on detailed biblical study and current astronomical knowledge, Nicholl develops a fascinating reconstruction of the unprecedented events relating to the Star and the Magi.”
John Nolland, Tutor in New Testament, Trinity College, Bristol; Visiting Professor, University of Bristol; author, The Gospel of Matthew (The New International Greek Testament Commentary)

“The Great Christ Comet is a significant new contribution to the long-running debate over the nature of the Star of Bethlehem. One of the book’s many strengths is its critique of earlier, widely discussed hypotheses proposed to explain the Star. The book also explains the relevant astronomy very clearly at a level the general reader should have no trouble following. The case Nicholl makes for the Star being a great comet is certainly worthy of serious consideration.”
Martin Gaskell, Department of Astronomy, University of California at Santa Cruz

“Fascinating reading. Clearly the author has not only done his homework but has meticulously mined both quarries, theological and astronomical.”
Paul L. Maier, Professor of Ancient History, Western Michigan University; author, In the Fullness of Time

“It is a real pleasure to commend The Great Christ Comet to everyone who has ever wondered what could possibly account for the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem. Few have expended as much earnest research, or written as clearly, on the astronomical basis for this special event as has Colin R. Nicholl. When you’re reading this book, the pages turn rapidly—similar to the way the pages fly when you’re engrossed in a mystery novel. All readers will be richly rewarded!”
Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and President Emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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).

Gary W. Kronk is a consultant of the American Meteor Society, the author of Cometography, and the webmaster of cometography.com and meteorshowersonline.com.

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