Monday, March 04, 2013

Resources on Redeeming article on The Annunciation

The Festival of Annunciation is March 25th. This is a resource list and will change as research continues. These are resources for articles in the series Redeeming Christian Holy Days from Pagan Lies--published here and at Steadfast Lutherans.

Annunciation Sources--Against The Liturgical Day

Increase Mather's 1687 A TESTIMONY Against several Prophane and Superstitious CUSTOMS, Now Practised by some in New-England (ch. 3, par. 3)
Increase Mather was a rabidly anti-Catholic Puritan responsible for burning witches in Massachusetts.
American Puritan Increase Mather's 1687 A Testimony.. ch 3 section 4 claims "Incarnation of Christ, was in the seventh month." The argument he makes is against a Dec 25th Christmas. By "incarnation" Increase Mather seems to mean "birth" rather than "conception."

Paul Ernst Jablonski's 1754 Institutiones historiae christianae antiquioris
Alexander Hislop's 1858 The Two Babylons: or The Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrodand His Wife. (ch. 3, section 1)
Hislop's work helped form the theology of the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah's Witnesses and strongly influenced several Millerite groups.
From 1853, Bishop Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons Chapter 3 section 1
There can be no doubt, then, that the Pagan festival at the winter solstice--in other words, Christmas--was held in honour of the birth of the Babylonian Messiah.
The consideration of the next great festival in the Popish calendar gives the very strongest confirmation to what has now been said. That festival, called Lady-day, is celebrated at Rome on the 25th of March, in alleged commemoration of the miraculous conception of our Lord in the womb of the Virgin, on the day when the angel was sent to announce to her the distinguished honour that was to be bestowed upon her as the mother of the Messiah. But who could tell when this annunciation was made? The Scripture gives no clue at all in regard to the time. But it mattered not. But our Lord was either conceived or born, that very day now set down in the Popish calendar for the "Annunciation of the Virgin" was observed in Pagan Rome in honour of Cybele, the Mother of the Babylonian Messiah. *
* AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS, and MACROB., Sat. The fact stated in the paragraph above casts light on a festival held in Egypt, of which no satisfactory account has yet been given. That festival was held in commemoration of "the entrance of Osiris into the moon." Now, Osiris, like Surya in India, was just the Sun. (PLUTARCH, De Iside et Osiride) The moon, on the other hand, though most frequently the symbol of the god Hermes or Thoth, was also the symbol of the goddess Isis, the queen of heaven. The learned Bunsen seems to dispute this; but his own admissions show that he does so without reason. And Jeremiah 44:17 seems decisive on the subject. The entrance of Osiris into the moon, then, was just the sun's being conceived by Isis, the queen of heaven, that, like the Indian Surya, he might in due time be born as the grand deliverer. Hence the very name Osiris; for, as Isis is the Greek form of H'isha, "the woman," so Osiris, as read at this day on the Egyptian monuments, is He-siri, "the seed." It is no objection to this to say that Osiris is commonly represented as the husband of Isis; for, as we have seen already, Osiris is at once the son and husband of his mother. Now, this festival took place in Egypt generally in March, just as Lady-day, or the first great festival of Cybele, was held in the same month in Pagan Rome. We have seen that the common title of Cybele at Rome was Domina, or "the lady" (OVID, Fasti), as in Babylon it was Beltis (EUSEB. Praep. Evang.), and from this, no doubt, comes the name "Lady-day" as it has descended to us.
Now, it is manifest that Lady-day and Christmas-day stand in intimate relation to one another. Between the 25th of March and the 25th of December there are exactly nine months. If, then, the false Messiah was conceived in March and born in December, can any one for a moment believe that the conception and birth of the true Messiah can have so exactly synchronised, not only to the month, but to the day? The thing is incredible. Lady-day and Christmas-day, then, are purely Babylonian.
Joseph Martin McCabe's 1903 Augustine and His Age (pages 128ff)
McCabe was a man who fell from faith in Christ and spent most of his life writing against Christ, Christianity, and the Church. He was interested in discrediting Christianity so people would lose faith in God.
Will and Ariel Durant's 1950 The Story of Civilization - vol 4 (The Age of Faith) (ch. 4)
20th century "historians" who seem to have published an awful lot of material without giving accurate attribution to the sources they did use, and seem to have failed in mentioning when they were inventing things.
on paganism of church

And others: like Hermann Usener and Bernard Botte.

Annunciation Sources--Ancient Statements

Clement of Alexandria

Earliest documentary evidence that March 25th was celebrated as the date on which Christ was conceived comes from Clement of Alexandria:

Clement of Alexandria wrote his “Stromata” during the period 193-215 AD: Clement wrote. [Stromata 1.21.145-146 ]

γίνονται οὖν ἀφ' οὗ ὁ κύριος ἐγεννήθη
ἕως Κομόδου τελευτῆς τὰ πάντα
ἔτη ρ δʹ μὴν εἷς ἡμέ ραι ιγʹ.
εἰσὶ δὲ οἱ περιεργότερον
τῇ γενέσει τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν
οὐ μόνον τὸ ἔτος,
ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν προστιθέντες,
ἥν φασιν
  ἔτους κηʹ Αὐγούστου
ἐν πέμπτῃ Παχὼν καὶ εἰκάδι. ...
τό τε πάθος αὐτοῦ ἀκριβολογούμενοι φέρουσιν
οἳ μέν τινες
τῷ ἑκκαιδεκάτω ἔτει Τιβερίου Καίσαρος
Φαμενὼθ κεʹ,
οἳ δὲ Φαρμουθὶ κεʹ·
ἄλλοι δὲ
Φαρμουθὶ ιθʹ πεπονθέναι τὸν σωτῆρα λέγουσιν.
ναὶ μήν τινες αὐτῶν φασι
Φαρμουθὶ γεγενῆσθαι κδʹ ἢ κεʹ.
From the birth of Christ, therefore,
to the death of Commodus are, altogether,
194 years, 1 month, 13 days.
And there are those who have determined
our Savior’s genesis
not only the year,
but even the day, which they say took place
in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus
on the 25th of Pachon…
And treating of his passion, with very great accuracy,
some say that it took place
in the sixteenth year of Tiberius,
on the 25th of Phamenoth,
but others the 25th of Pharmuthi
and others say
on the 19th of Pharmuthi the Savior suffered.
Indeed, others say
that he came to be on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi.”

As noted in a previous article in this series on Christmas 
The important line is τῇ γενέσει τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν “our Savior's genesis.” The month of Pachon in the Egyptian calendar at that time corresponded to March in the Julian Calendar.
Christ’s genesis, or conception on the 25th of Pachon was in what our calendar would equate with March 25th. The celebration of Christ’s birth would be nine months later: December 25th, in our calendar. ANF 2:333 translates “birth” rather than “conception”. The translation of “genesis” as conception is consistent with Clement's usage of this word in other contexts, for example:
It is not therefore frequent intercourse by the parents, but the reception of it [the seed] in the womb which corresponds with genesis.” (Clement of Alexandria Stromata
For more information on the interpretation of γενέσει as “conception” see

This first evidence from Clement of Alexandria Egypt strongly suggests that before his writing the Stromata there were people in the Church who had already fixed December 25th as the birth of Christ. 


Hippolytus' Chronicon (234/235AD)
…from Adam until the transmigration into Babylon under Jeconiah, 57 generations, 4,842 years, 9 months. And after the transmigration into Babylon until the generation of Christ, there was 14 generations, 660 years, and from the generation of Christ until the Passion there was 30 years and from the Passion up until this year which is year 13 of the Emperor Alexander, there is 206 years. Therefore all the years from Adam up until year 13 of the Emperor Alexander make 5,738 years. ~Chronicon §686-688

Holweck, F. (1907). The Annunciation. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from New Advent:

Holweck, F. (1907). The Feast of the Annunciation. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from New Advent:

Four Homilies (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus)  Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. 

Dating the Passion: The Life of Jesus and the Emergence of Scientific Chronology (200–1600) C. Philipp E. Nothaft, E.J. Brill, 1999

Symbols of Saints: Theology, Ritual, and Kinship in Music for John the Baptist and St. Anne (1175--1563). Michael Alan Anderson ProQuest, 2008 - 767 pages