Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The star and Shekinah

Scholars debate the identity of the Star of Bethlehem. Some think it's a natural astronomical phenomenon. One problem with that identification is that the "star" doesn't behave like an inanimate object. There's a specificity to its behavior. Its localized appearance. It's intermittent appearance. The "star" acts like a personal agent on a mission. Liberals think it's mythical. 

I'd like to conjecture that the "star" might be the Shekinah. The Shekinah seems to be a good candidate for the "star":

i) As a visible manifestation of God's presence, the movements of the Shekinah reflect personal discretion, unlike a naturally occurring or naturally intermittent phenomenon.

ii) The Shekinah is luminous at night.

iii) Matthew refers to the Shekinah in the Transfiguration account.

iv) In OT and NT accounts, the Shekinah appears and disappears at will. 

v) The Shekinah has a guiding function in the OT, leading the Israelites in the wilderness. Guiding the Magi would be another case in kind.

vi) The Shekinah positioning itself over the home of the Holy Family would have emblematic theological significance. A divine witness to the person inside.


  1. Nice conjecture, Steve.

    Using those criteria, would you also consider the wind as Shekinah?- Acts 2:6

    1. That might well dovetail with the stormy/fiery imagery of Acts 2:2-3,19.