SSU showcases Star of Bethlehem

Joseph Pratt

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There are plenty of holiday traditions in the area, from the Annual Jaycees Christmas Parade, to JAX Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” and even, as seen in recent years, Shawnee State University’s showing of “Star of Bethlehem.”

The show is a projection that appears every year around the holiday season in the Shawnee State University (SSU) Clark Planetarium.

Who were the wise men? Were there only three? Did they come from Persia, Babylon, Ethiopia, or somewhere else? By searching for the celestial object, could they have been led to the Christ child? What exactly was the “star?”

All of these questions will be discussed at the showing. Discover what this event might have been like by looking at planets, shooting stars, and comets as possible guides that led the wise men to Jerusalem and on to Bethlehem.

Tim Hamilton, associate professor at SSU and director of the SSU Clark Planetarium, said that the show is the planetarium’s most attended production.

“This tends to be the most popular show,” Hamilton said. “It is Christmas time and it is just a great event to take the family to, because it is good entertainment and open to people of all ages. We have even scheduled it early enough for families with young children, so they can get home early enough for bed.”

Hamilton explained that there are many topics and theories discussed in the show.

“A lot of people take it in a very literal sense, and believe the wise men followed an actual star,” Hamilton explained. “The trouble with this is, if it was an actual physical star, well, as it rises in the evening and sets in the morning, it would be in different directions.”

Hamilton said that his personal preference in the collection of theories is one that challenges the supernatural aspects.

“Most theories lead to supernatural phenomenal, but the best explanation I’ve heard is that the star is in the east, but following doesn’t necessarily mean seeing a bright object and walking towards it. It is an astrological description. East would mean an eastern end of a particular constellation. The best description I’ve seen, is that it could have been in the constellation of Aries, which had associations with Judah.”

Hamilton claimed that this theory is even backed up with recent proof uncovered by archaeologists.

“Archaeologists have even found a coin from that time period, where it has the symbol of the lamb and a star in it,” Hamilton explained.

According to the professor, this symbolism is often related to the birth of a king.

The show is free to the public and no reservations are required. The “Star of Bethlehem” will replace the usual Monday and Thursday planetarium show schedule. The normal public shows will resume in January.

The Shawnee State University Clark Planetarium will be holding its annual “Star of Bethlehem” show at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Dec. 8 through Dec. 22 in the Advanced Technology Center.

For more information, please contact the SSU Clark Planetarium at 740-351-3147 or at [email protected]

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.