Matthew dates the nativity to 6/5 BC; and Luke, to 6 AD. Please explain how you reconcile the 2 dates. -- Dennis Goffin

First of all, there are not hard dates given in either gospel for the nativity, or the birth of Christ. Herod the Great, who died in 4 BC -- and whose tomb was located earlier this year [2007] -- tried to kill the infant Jesus. Thus any AD date for his birth will be highly problematic! The pivotal point is the dating of the Census of Quirinius. For more on this, see Q&A 0732.

I place the nativity in 6 BC, if not earlier. But the evangelists Matthew and Luke do not explicitly contradict one another.