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The answer, amazingly, is yes. It described, very specifically, a planet that would rise above the eastern horizon just before the sun would appear. Then, just moments after the planet rises, it disappears in the bright glare of the sun in the morning sky. We need a little bit of astronomy background here.

In a human lifetime, virtually all the stars remain fixed in their places; the stars rise and set every night, but they do not move relative to each other. The stars in the Big Dipper appear year after year always in the same place. Though the planets, sun and moon move along approximately the same path through the background stars, they travel at different speeds, so they often lap each other. And now we need a little bit of astrology background. A heliacal rising, that special first reappearance of a planet, is what en te anatole referred to in ancient Greek astrology.

In particular, the reappearance of a planet like Jupiter was thought by Greek astrologers to be symbolically significant for anyone born on that day. It refers to a particular moment when a planet stops moving and changes apparent direction from westward to eastward motion. This occurs when the Earth, which orbits the sun more quickly than Mars or Jupiter or Saturn, catches up with, or laps, the other planet. Together, a rare combination of astrological events the right planet rising before the sun; the sun being in the right constellation of the zodiac; plus a number of other combinations of planetary positions considered important by astrologers would have suggested to ancient Greek astrologers a regal horoscope and a royal birth.


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Molnar believes that the wise men were, in fact, very wise and mathematically adept astrologers. They also knew about the Old Testament prophecy that a new king would be born of the family of David. Most likely, they had been watching the heavens for years, waiting for alignments that would foretell the birth of this king. When they identified a powerful set of astrological portents, they decided the time was right to set out to find the prophesied leader.

After all, the baby was already eight months old by the time they decoded the astrological message they believed predicted the birth of a future king. The portent began on April 17 of 6 BC with the heliacal rising of Jupiter that morning, followed, at noon, by its lunar occultation in the constellation Aries and lasted until December 19 of 6 BC when Jupiter stopped moving to the west, stood still briefly, and began moving to the east, as compared with the fixed background stars.


  • East Jesus South?
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  • Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem?;
  • By the earliest time the men could have arrived in Bethlehem, the baby Jesus would likely have been at least a toddler. Matthew wrote to convince his readers that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. Given the astrological clues embedded in his gospel, he must have believed the story of the Star of Bethlehem would be convincing evidence for many in his audience. Creepy crazy killer chapters made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

    Wow This is my first book by this writer, and wow. I was surprised I enjoyed the book as much as I did. The characters were believable, and the plot took just enough twists and turns to keep me reading late into the night. A great book, pick this today, you won't be sorry. Mar 07, Cynthia Bazinet rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. It has been an interesting experience to watch T. This dark story is alternately told from the overlapping first-person perspectives of the three major characters: Buck, P. Occasionally, Buddy invites something bumping up against sympathy, while most of the time he engenders nothing but pure disgust.

    And the narrative perspectives from Buck and P.

    Puzzles for astronomy

    The few there are, however, come in the form of a highly distilled dialogue that rings both true and edgy. Dec 16, Susan rated it it was amazing. I almost turned back, unthinkable for a T. Pearson book. I almost did not finish. This is a funny, tightly written window into the scruffy backwoods and how a transplant detective navigates them to solve a mysterious string of murders. I know these people.

    I am related to these people. I went to school with them. Maybe I am them, I don't know. Pearson's ability to speak as them is a gift that I cannot fathom, but he does it. And he does it writing unbelievably beautiful sentences. Not the kind I almost turned back, unthinkable for a T. Not the kind of sentences he wrote in earlier books, the ones that go on for pages and make you hear the person speaking.

    Just the opposite, in this book he uses sentences that are spare and short, yet perfectly capture complicated personalities, places, time, situations. Sentences that I kept re-reading because they were so spot on, dialog that make me feel at home. This is not to say the story is beautiful or funny or innocuous. Although funny in places, it is dark and gruesome, gruesome enough that I almost stopped reading it. I am glad I did not stop although I wished that the Buddy chapters were a little less graphic in the violence.

    Stuarts Draft and Skyline Drive may never be the same for me. I imagine some tourist boards are none too eager to stock East Jesus South at their information booths. Aug 24, Carol Jean rated it it was amazing. Pearson is a unique writer with an unmistakable style. This book is written in a slightly less convoluted fashion than his usual, but with the same band of complicatedly foolish characters.


    • East Jesus South.
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    • COL'S CRIMINAL LIBRARY: T. R. PEARSON - EAST JESUS SOUTH ();
    • I quote my first laugh out loud moment -- "He had a wife and has a brother, and they were up to no good together in a Best Western at one of the clotted exits on Interstate They weren't terribly discreet about it Then the wife finally crossed a line, and like most lines in a marriage, it wouldn't have Pearson is a unique writer with an unmistakable style. Then the wife finally crossed a line, and like most lines in a marriage, it wouldn't have seemed like much at all to somebody outside peering in.

      Apparently, she had baked a nectarine cobbler and tried to serve it to her husband who was obliged to remind her that he was the brother with the stone fruit allergy.

      The other one was the nectarine lover, the one that she was regularly bedding This is a novel in the vein of 'ex-detective goes PI', but with an unconventional structure multiple first-person POV , along with Pearson's ironic and sympathetic for the most part view of human nature. The writing, as always with Pearson, is vivid and pointed, using a minimalist approach to bring his damaged, and damaging, characters to life. The book This is a novel in the vein of 'ex-detective goes PI', but with an unconventional structure multiple first-person POV , along with Pearson's ironic and sympathetic for the most part view of human nature.

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      East Jesus South

      The book is spare and unsentimental, certainly not a care-free stroll through a sun-dappled Southern landscape, rather a serious hike through dark woods where one might encounter a rattlesnake, or other kind of viper, at any moment. Jul 13, R. One of the main characters in this book is one of the creepiest people I've ever read about.

      It's a testament to the quality of Pearson's writing that while I was repulsed by that character, the characterization--of the creep and the other characters too--made me want to keep reading. In fact, it was a book that was hard to put down. As always in Pearson's books, the main story is just one of many that are told. The nooks and crannies in this book are chock full of other stories and characters cl One of the main characters in this book is one of the creepiest people I've ever read about.

      The nooks and crannies in this book are chock full of other stories and characters clamoring for some attention. Overall, a very good read. Jan 16, Brian Wilcox rated it liked it. A much darker work than Pearson's previous books. I always enjoy the voices he gives his Piedmont region characters.

      I did not feel Pearson developed his characters as completely as usual. One star deducted for so many typos. I appreciate that this was a self-published work, but the typos were frequent and jarring.

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      Pay for a good copy editor. Apr 23, nina rated it liked it.

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      Pearson writes a book, I'm certainly going to read it. And he's always good on the topic of what we owe the dead and what we owe each other. Half of this book is about that; the other half is the surprisingly hilarious odyssey of a serial killer. Most serial killers in fiction are either unconvincing Grand Guignol geniuses of evil, or composites of psychological studies to the point of boredom.

      Pearson's serial killer is much better than either of those things, but I'm a bit uncomfortabl If T.

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      Pearson's serial killer is much better than either of those things, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with funny serial killers. The balance of the two halves of the story, the compassionate half and the satiric half, didn't quite work for me. That's OK. If you've written "Off for the Sweet Hereafter" you're allowed to try something else. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About T. Pearson has also ghostwritten several other books, both fiction and nonfiction, and has written or co-written various feature film and TV scripts.