201612181630聖誕節大問哉:基督教是為什麼又是在什麼時候認定12月25日是耶穌的生日

http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_sel.htm

 

About Christmas

Why and when the Christian Church selected DEC-25 for Jesus' birthday

聖誕節大問哉
基督教是為什麼又是在什麼時候認定12月25日是耶穌的生日

 

 Summary:

The actual birthday of Jesus was forgotten by the early Christian movement. Various groups at the time celebrated his birth on JAN-6, APR-21, MAY-1 etc. By the 4th century, the church selected the approximate time of the winter solstice as the date to recognize Jesus' birth. They picked up this date from Pagan sources. As luck would have it, the autumn equinox about SEP-21 might have been a more accurate choice.

總結:

早期的基督教運動其實早已遺忘了耶穌真正的生日。當時各個團體慶祝的日子不一,例如1月6日、4月21日、5月1日等等。到了4世紀,教會最終宣布大約是冬至的那段時間就是耶穌的出生之日。不幸的是,9月21日,亦即秋分其實可能是更精確的選擇。

 

About the reason for the season:

關於季節的原因:

 

the winter solstice: The winter solstice occurs about DEC-21 each year. It is the day of the year when the night is longest and the daytime shortest. Many centuries ago, during the early history of the Christian religion, it was a time of high anxiety throughout the Northern Hemisphere. For the previous six months, the daylight hours had been progressively shortening and the noonday Sun had been lower in the sky each day. There was a fear that the Sun would continue this trend, that the cold season might continue forever, and warmth might never return to Earth.

冬至:每年的12月21日就是冬至。在每一年中的這一天,夜晚會長過白晝。在數個世紀以前的早期基督教時代,這是一個會令整個北半球的人們都驚恐不已的時刻。從過去六個月開始,白天的時間逐漸縮短,而且每天正午太陽的位置都會變得越來越低。人們不免擔心,太陽該不會就這麼直到消失不見,屆時寒冬將永無寧日,地球再也不會回溫。

 

Using the crude instruments available, ancient astronomers were able to detect by DEC-25 of each year that the daytime had become noticeably longer and the noonday Sun was once more higher in the sky. This date was chosen, and remains, the traditional date for followers of many different Pagan an Neopagan religions to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun. Following the solstice, each succeeding day has slightly more sunlight than the previous day. It was interpreted as a promise that warmth would return once more to the Earth. Numerous pre-Christian Pagan religions honored a birth or rebirth of one of their gods or goddesses on or about that day. Their deities were typically called: Son of Man, Light of the World, Sun of Righteousness, Bridegroom, and Savior.

透過粗糙的儀器,古代的天文學家已經可以計算出每年的12月25日就是白天再次變長,而且正午時的太陽也變得更高的時候。許多異教甚至是新異教主義者都會大肆慶祝這個太陽的重生之日。由於在冬至過後的每一天的陽光都會愈加強烈,人們相信這就是地球遲早會再次回暖的承諾。很多前基督教時代的異教徒都會把這一天當作他們的男神或女神的生日或復活日。他們的神都會被很典型的稱為:人子、世界之光、公義的太陽神、新郎還有救世主。

 

Some examples of gods whos birthdays were honored on that day are:

生日被相信是在那一天的神明的例子就包括:

 

Roman Pagan Religion: Attis was a son of the virgin Nana. His birth was celebrated on DEC-25. He was sacrificed as an adult in order to bring salvation to mankind. He died about MAR-25, after being crucified on a tree, and descended for three days into the underworld. On Sunday, he arose, as the solar deity for the new season. His followers tied an image of Attis to a tree on "Black Friday," and carried him in a procession to the temple. ["Black Friday" has a very different meaning today.] His body was symbolically eaten by his followers in the form of bread. Worship of Attis began in Rome circa 200 BCE. 1

羅馬異教:阿提斯是處女娜娜的兒子。他出生在12月25日。他在長大成人後為了拯救人類所以犧牲了生命。他死於5月25日,在被釘在一棵樹上然後經過三天進入地府後,他在星期日以全新的太陽神之姿重獲新生。他的追隨者會在“黑色星期五”時把阿提斯的偶像綁在樹上,然後遊著神殿示眾。(這裡的“黑色星期五”與今天流行的含義已經大相徑庭)他的肉體隨後會被象徵性的以麵包的形式被追隨者分食。羅馬對於阿提斯的崇拜至少可以追溯到公元前200年。(註1)

 

Saturnalia was a Roman seven-day celebration starting each DEC-17. It was "... marked by unrestrained revelry and often licentiousness; an orgy." 2

每到12月17日,羅馬人就會舉辦為期七天的農神節狂歡。這個節日,“通常就是無止盡的享受與尋歡作樂;非常放蕩。”(註2)

 

During his reign of 270 to 275 CE, the Roman Emperor Aurelian attempted to increase unity within the Roman Empire by establishing Sol Invictis (the Unconqured Sun) as the supreme god of the Empire. He proclaimed DEC-25 as Natalis Solis Invicti (The Birth of the Unconquered Sun) circa 274 CE. 3 This celebration continues today among Neopagan followers of the reconstructed Roman neopagan religion, Nova Roma.

羅馬皇帝奧勒良在公元270-275年的統治期間曾試圖將索爾(無敵太陽神)提升成羅馬帝國的至高之神,好加強帝國的團結。他在公元247年宣布12月25日就是Natalis Solis Invicti(無敵太陽神的誕辰)。(註3)崇尚羅馬異教的新異教主義團體,新羅馬直到今天都還會繼續這個日子。

 

Greek Pagan Religion: Dionysus is another savior-god whose birth was observed on DEC-25. He was worshipped throughout much of the Middle East as well as in Greece. He had a center of worship in Jerusalem in the 1st century BCE. Some ancient coins were found in Gaza with Dionysus on one side and JHWH (Jehovah) on the other. In later years, his flesh and blood were symbolically eaten in the form of bread and wine. He was viewed as the son of Zeus, the Father God. This religion has been reconstructed in recent decades by Hellenic Neopagans.

希臘異教:狄奧尼索斯是另一位出生在12月25日的救世神。中東的許多地方以及希臘都對他廣為崇拜。在公元前1世紀的耶路撒冷甚至還有一座為他而立的崇拜中心。在加薩出土的一些古硬幣也有一面刻著狄奧尼索斯,另一面刻著JHWH(雅威)的例子。他的肉和血會被人們象徵性的以麵包與葡萄酒的形式吃掉。他同時也被認為是父神宙斯的兒子。這個信仰在最近幾年因為新希臘異教團體的關係而有了死灰復燃的趨勢。

 

Egyptian Pagan Religion: Osiris is a savior-god who had been worshipped as far back as Neolithic times. "He was called Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God of Gods...the Resurrection and the Life, the Good shepherd...the god who 'made men and women be born again'" 4 Three wise men announced his birth. His followers ate cakes of wheat which symbolized his body. Many sayings associated with Osiris were copied into the Bible with minimal alteration. These include:

埃及異教:奧西里斯是救世之神,其崇拜足足能追溯到新石器時代。“他被尊為列主之主、萬王之王、眾神之神...復活的生命,好牧人...‘賦予男人和女人新生’的神”(註4)有三名智者昭示了他的降生。他的追隨者會吃掉象徵他的肉體的小麥蛋糕。許多與奧西里斯有關的記載都在只有進行些微更動的情況下被直接抄到了《聖經》裡面。例如:

 

23rd Psalm: an appeal to Osiris as the good Shepherd to lead believers through the valley of the shadow of death and to green pastures and still waters.

《詩篇》第23章:呼求好牧人奧西里斯引領信徒,穿過死亡之谷來到那片翠綠的牧場和永恆的水地。

 

Lord's Prayer: "O amen, who art in heaven..."

《主禱文》:“阿門,天上的工匠...”

 

Many parables that are attributed to Jesus.

很多比喻後來都被用到了耶穌身上。

 

Worship of Osiris, and celebration of his DEC-25 birth, spread to many places in the Roman Empire by the end of the 1st century BCE. This worship continues today among followers of Kemetism -- a Neopagan revival of ancient Egyptian religions.

對奧西里斯的崇拜,還有他的12月25日生日慶祝在公元前1世紀末已在羅馬帝國的許多地方廣為流傳。今天的新古埃及主義者——那些尊奉古埃及宗教的新異教主義者仍在延續著這種崇拜。

 

Persian Pagan Religion: Mithra was a Persian god-man and savior. Worship of Mithra became common throughout the Roman Empire, particularly among their civil service and military. Mithraism was a competitor of Christianity until the late 4th century CE when Christianity became the state religion, Mithraism was suppressed, and its priests exiled or executed. Mithra was believed to have been born on DEC-25, circa 500 BCE. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and by Magi who carried gifts. His birthday was celebrated as the "Dies Natalis Solic Invite," The "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun." Some followers believed that he was born of a virgin. During his life, he performed many miracles, cured many illnesses, and cast out devils. He celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples. He was believed to have ascended to Heaven at the time of the spring equinox, about March 21. 1 His birth as the "Sun of Righteousness" was celebrated on DEC-25.

波斯異教:密特拉是波斯的神者與救世主。密特拉崇拜遍佈整個羅馬帝國,在公務員和軍隊中尤為常見。直到基督教在公元4世紀末被獨尊之前,密特拉教一直是基督徒最大的競爭對手,但後來密特拉教的祭司都遭到了流放或處決。據說密特拉出生在大約公元前500年的12月25日。牧羊人和帶著禮物的賢士見證了他的出生。他的生日被稱為“Dies Natalis Solic Invite”,亦即“無敵太陽神的生日”。有些追隨者相信他是處女之子。他在一生中行過很多奇蹟,包括治病和趕鬼。他與他的12名門徒進行了最後的晚餐。相傳他是在春分之時,差不多3月21日的時候升上天堂。(註1)他的生日被以“公義的太陽神”之名在12月25日慶祝。

 

It is farily obvious that many attributes, including the birth dates, of gods were shared among various Pagan religions in ancient time, and that during the first and second century, a lot of these were picked up by Christianity.

我們不難發現,包括生日日期在內有非常多古代的異教諸神彼此都有著共同的特徵,然後基督教在第1和2世紀時借鑒了其中的不少。

 

December 25 transitioned from a Pagan celebration to Jesus' birthday:

原本是異教在慶祝的12月25日,最後卻變成了耶穌的生日:

 

The actual date of Jesus' birthday had long been forgotten by the time that some of the early Church leaders advocated that his birth be celebrated:

一些早期的教會領袖其實都已經指出,耶穌真正的生日日期早已佚失:

 

Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) noted that others had suggested APR-18, APR-19 and MAY-28. He preferred MAY-20.

據亞歷山卓的克萊門特(公元150-215)說,4月18日,4月19日還有5月28日都是可能的日期。但他個人傾向於5月20日。

 

Hippolytus (c.170-c.236) suggested JAN-02.

希波呂托斯(公元170-236)主張是1月2日。

 

About 220 CE, Turtullian declared that Jesus died on MAR-25 of the year 29 CE. This led to the widespread belief that Jesus was born on or about the same date about three decades earlier. This came from the Jewish belief at the time that prophets died at an "integral age" -- either an anniversary of their birth or of the approximate date of their conception. 4

特土良在大約公元220年時宣稱耶穌應該是逝世於公元29年的5月25日。這讓人們普遍相信耶穌也是出生在三十多年以前的同一或大約同一天。因為猶太人有所謂的先知“均一年份”說——就是他們的出生和死亡都應該是在同一個日期。(註4)

 

In 221 CE, Sextus Julius Africanus' book Chronographiai suggested that DEC-25 was Jesus' birthday. He based the estimate on the nominal length of human pregnancy of nine months, using the already established Festival of the Annunciation as a starting point.

公元221年,塞克斯塔斯・朱利葉斯・阿弗里卡納斯在他的著作《編年史》裡提出了12月25日說。他是根據天使報喜作為起點,再依據人類的九個月懷孕週期推算而來。

 

Others preferred NOV-17, NOV-20, or MAR-25. Even the nominal date of the Spring Equinox, MAR-21, was suggested because that was believed to be the date when God created the Sun. Jesus was often identified with the Sun by the early Christian church.

其它選項還包括12月17日,12月20日或3月21日,因為他們相信上帝是在這一天創造太陽。早期教會經常把耶穌視作太陽的化身。

 

However, Origen (c.185-c.254) taught that the religious celebration of birthdays belonged to the worship of Pagan gods, and should be rejected by Christians. He believed that only sinners, not saints, celebrated their birthdays. 4

然而,奧利根(公元185-254)卻宣稱,慶祝生日是異教崇拜的行為,基督徒應該拒絕。他相信只有罪人,而不是聖人才會慶祝他們的生日。(註4)

 

Elesha Coffman, the Christian History editor for Christianity Today, suggests that the decision of DEC-25 for Jesus' birthday was made as early as 273 CE. This was four decades before Emperor Constantine recognized Christianity as a legal religion by Edict of Milan during 313-FEB. At the time, various religions in the Roman Empire had celebrations at this time as noted above, while other religions observed the Winter Solstice itself.

據《今日基督教》的〈基督教歷史〉編輯埃爾蕭・科夫曼指出,12月25日最終變成耶穌的生日可以追溯到公元273年。這是在皇帝君士坦丁頒佈《米蘭赦令》將基督教合法化的四十年前。當時,羅馬帝國的各種宗教都會進行上述的慶祝,有些宗教這麼做也是因為觀察到了冬至的現象。

 

Saturnalia (the Festival of Saturn) was celebrated from DEC-17 to 23 throughout the Roman Empire. In late 274, the Roman Emperor Aurelian blended Saturnalia with a number of birth celebrations of savior Gods from other religions, into a single holy day: DEC-25. 5

12月17日至23日的這段期間是羅馬帝國慶祝農神節(土星之日)的時候。在公元274年末,羅馬皇帝奧勒良兼併了農神節和其它宗教裡的救世神的生日,創造出了一個唯一的聖日:12月25日。(註5)

 

The people of the Roman Empire were accustomed to celebrating the birth of a God on that day. So, it was relatively easy for the church to later alter its meaning to a celebration of Jesus' birth.

羅馬帝國的人民已經習慣在那一天慶祝神的生日。所以教會後來也相應的改變了耶穌的生日。

 

The first known celebration of Christmas was in Rome during 336 CE. 6 Well established celebrations of Christmas occurred there by the year 360 CE. It spread to Constantinople in 379, to Antioch about 380, and to Alexandria about 430 CE. 4

已知最早的聖誕節慶祝可以追溯到公元336年的羅馬。(註6)到了公元360年,聖誕節幾乎已成慣例。這個節日在379年被傳到君士坦丁堡,380年到安提阿,然後在430年到亞歷山卓。(註4)

 

References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

1. B.G. Walker, "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets," Harper & Row, (1983) Review/order the book "Saturnalia," The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, (1992), Page 1605. Excerpted at: http://www.the-goldenrule.name/

2. Christian Korner, "Aurelian and rebellions during his reign (A.D. 270-275), at: http://www.roman-emperors.org/

3. "Christmas - History," Wikipedia, as on 2008-JUN-14, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/

4. Elesha Coffman, "Why Why December 25? For the church's first three centuries, Christmas wasn't in December—or on the calendar at all," Christianity Today, 2008-AUG-08, at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/

5. "Christmas," The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture, (1996), Page 104. Excerpted at: http://www.the-goldenrule.name/

 

 

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