A few years back, I edited a book by Dr. Aaron Adair called The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View. It is a fantastic book that Richard Carrier described in this way:
I was a peer reviewer for this book’s ancient history content, and I was very impressed. I have a Ph.D. from Columbia University in ancient Greco-Roman science, philosophy and religion, and yet even I learned things from Adair’s book. It contained no significant errors (within my specialization) that I could detect. The rest of it impressed me as well. So I contributed the promotional quote:
Well researched, scientifically reasoned, elegantly concise, this book will long be required reading on the ‘Star of Bethlehem’. Full of fascinating historical facts, and better informed and more careful than any other book on the subject, this should be on the shelf of everyone interested in that legendary celestial event.
I added on my own blog review of the book, that Adair’s bibliography alone is of great value. Scientists will find the book especially heartwarming. Historians will as well. It even taught me a few things. Even the foreword by astronomer and science writer Bob Berman was educational, with an example of creationists even interfering in public astronomy education, through the pretext of the Star of Bethlehem literature. So Adair’s book is much needed and will be of value to science educators.
Beyond that, however, I find this book of value not just because it will teach you a lot of cool things about history and astronomy with an economy of words, nor only because it has a great bibliography and is the go-to resource now for discussing this subject, but also because in the process of addressing astrological theories of the Star account, Adair deftly demonstrates a point I had long made myself but never had the time to demonstrate: ancient astrology was so wildly inconsistent and diverse that any astrological theory of either Christian origins or biblical accounts is probably beyond any possibility of demonstrating.
So for a number of reasons, this will be an essential addition to anyone’s bookshelf who is at all into any of these subjects.
Back to me, now. Here is an interview I gave Aaron some time back: