Is there any evidence to support the idea that Jesus was born long before 4BC-1AD? I am aware of the cross-cultural parallels with Jesus that date many centuries earlier, but is there any evidence placing the birth of Jesus around the time of 200-100BC?
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There is little or no evidence to place the birth of Jesus prior to the decade 5 B.C. This commonly accepted view is based on the historically verifiable figures associated with the birth and death of Jesus. The New Testament dates the birth of Jesus to the reign of Caesar Augustus, who reigned in Rome from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14 (see Luke 2:1). Luke also connects his birth to the governorship of Quirinius, another historical figure from this time period. Matthew mentions that Herod was king at the time of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:1), and Herod the Great ruled in Jerusalem from 37 B.C. to 4 A.D. The authors of these accounts have given specific time periods for the dating of the birth of Jesus. Non-Christian sources also point to the same time period. In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus mentions Jesus in connection to Pontius Pilate, placing the execution of Jesus at some point after A.D. 26. So there is Biblical and non-Biblical evidence for dating the birth of Jesus between the dates of 4 B.C. and A.D. 4.
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