Nativity Conference - Forty Years On!
On 16 December 2023, it will be exactly forty years since the day the 'Nativity Conference' was held at Mississippi State University (16 December 1983). First of its kind, this conference marked the study of the chronology of Jesus for years to come.  It was organised by the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, and dedicated to Professor Jack Finegan, then a doyen of biblical chronology.

The programme below lists the scholars who gave papers on that day, all being members of American universities with the exception of Nikos Kokkinos, although invited studies of other European scholars were incuded subsequently in the publication of the proceedings (1989).  The volume was entitled Chronos, Kairos, Christos, and edited by Jerry Vardaman and Edwin Yamauchi (also seen below).

An informal group photo survives (taken by Rikki Kokkinos during an intermission to the proceedings), which seems a real classic forty years on.  It depicts a vanishing age, a generation of New Testament experts now largely retired or sadly gone.

From left to right:

E. Jerry Vardaman (1927-2000)

Edwin M. Yamauchi (1937-   )

Dale Moody (1915-1992)

Paul L. Maier (1930-   )

Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002)

Nikos Kokkinos (1955-   )

Jack Finegan (1908-2000)

Unfortunatelly, two speakers happened not to be present when the photo was taken:

Bastiaan Van Elderen (1924-2004)

Harold W. Hoehner (1935-2009)

This page is dedicated to the departed.

An entertaining moment during the Nativity Conference should be remembered here. When Dale Moody was delivering his paper, a lengthy eulogy on Luke's Acts, a voice with heavy American accent complained in the background: "Don't you think you make a lot out of Luke?" Dale's reply, which was followed by unstoppable laughter, was clinical: "It is better to make a lot out of Luke than a lot out of nothing"!

(cf. Kokkinos, The Herodian Dynasty, p. 31)


Jerry Vardaman and Edwin M. Yamauchi (eds.), 
Chronos, Kairos, Christos
Nativity and Chronological Studies Presented to Jack Finegan
, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1989 (Hb). 
ISBN: 0-931464-50-1. 16 X 23.5 cm. i-xxiii, 240 pp.



A Tribute to Jack Finegan on His Eightieth Birthday (Jerry Vardaman)

Jack Finegan: A Tribute (Bastiaan Van Elderen)

Of Time and History (Jack Finegan)

Bibliography of the Writings of Jack Finegan


The Significance of the Structure of Matthew 1 (Bastiaan Van Elderen)

The Episode of the Magi (Edwin M. Yamauchi)

The Star of the Magi and Babylonian Astronomy (Konradin Ferrari-D’Occhieppo)

Jesus’ Life: A New Chronology (Jerry Vardaman)


The Nativity and Herod’s Death (Ernest L. Martin)

“And They Went Eight Stades Toward Herodeion” (Douglas Johnson)

The Date of the Death of Herod the Great (Harold W. Hoehner)

The Date of the Nativity and the Chronology of Jesus’ Life (Paul L. Maier)


Crucifixion in A.D. 36: The Keystone for Dating the Birth of Jesus (Nikos Kokkinos)

Astronomy and the Date of the Crucifixion (Colin J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington)

Cautionary Notes on the Use of Calendars and Astronomy to Determine the Chronology of the Passion (Roger T. Beckwith)


The First Missionary Voyage of Paul: Historical Reality or Literary Creation by Luke? (S. Dockx)

A New Chronology for the Life and Letters of Paul (Dale Moody)

(The Dead Sea)