Prepared by Philip Johnson, Simeon Payne & Peter Wilson


The initial stimulus for this work derives from a paper composed by Peter Wilson toward an MA degree exploring the apologetic and missiological issues arising from the encounter between Christians and spiritual seekers in new age festivals; and from a chapter on astrology in Clifford & Johnson, Jesus and the Gods of the New Age (Lion 2001), where positive and negative apologetic arguments are outlined.

The following annotated bibliography collates books and journal essays concerning astrology, with particular reference to Biblical and Christian history. This collation represents the preliminary efforts behind a work-in-progress that will constitute a fresh approach in the history of Christian apologetics toward astrology.

The proposed work will first comprise a survey of how astrology itself has been conceived of from ancient Babylonian culture until the 21st century. It will then comprise a survey of Christian attitudes toward astrology encompassing “outright rejection”, “qualified acceptance” and “apologetic engagement”. In assessing these different approaches it will be demonstrated that a considerable portion of contemporary Evangelical apologetic texts that oppose astrology suffer from several crippling weaknesses. The study of astrology raises broader questions about the role of natural revelation in Christian theology, missions and apologetics, as well as highlighting the need for a robust theology of the creation, a balanced understanding of the immanence and transcendence of God, and the thorny problem of Christian guidance, discernment, spiritual gifting and divination. Finally, after considering the spectrum of Christian views on astrology, and being cognizant of the theological, missiological and apologetic context of our time, a fresh apologetic trajectory will be developed that should offer a bridge between natural and special revelation toward those who are attracted to astrology.

Preliminary thoughts about

The bibliography has been arranged into sub-topics to best facilitate the organization of ideas and issues for research. It should be noted that, for the moment, contemporary works promoting astrology, general surveys of church history (e.g. Frend’s Rise of Christianity, Fletcher’s The Barbarian Conversion), the works of the Church Fathers (Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers), Jewish Qabalists, Islamic astrology, Chinese and Vedic astrology, are not included; but such works will subsequently be incorporated into the project.

Reference Works – Astrology & Occult

Raymond Buckland, The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism (Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press, 2002).

Contains an article on astrology as it is used by practitioners of modern witchcraft. Buckland is a prominent figure in American Wicca (founded Seax-Wicca tradition), and a prolific author.

James R. Lewis, The Astrology Book: The Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences (Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press, 2003).

An 889 page encyclopedic work detailing the concepts, tools, practices, theories, influential figures and history of astrology around the world.

James R. Lewis (ed) The Beginnings of Astrology in America: Astrology and the Re-Emergence of Cosmic Religion. (New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1990).

Lewis’ introduction to this collection of out-of-print books contains some pithy incisive remarks about the appeal of astrology vis-à-vis revealed organised religion. While Lewis is a scholar of new religious movements, he is also by training and practice an astrologer (over 25 years’ experience). The out-of-print texts include: Periodicity / Jos. Rodes Buchanan -- Dr. Karr's guide to success and happiness / Frederick Karr -- Metaphysical astrology / John Hazelrigg -- The Astrologer's vade mecum / W.H. Chaney -- The daily guide / S. Gargilis -- A brief history of astrology / Temple Hungad -- How to succeed in the study and practice of astrology / Llewellyn George -- The story of the zodiac, its antiquity and its message / A.E. Partridge. Reprint of works originally published 1897-1934.

J. Gordon Melton (ed) The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology (2 Vols. 5th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001).

A major reference work (1,939 pages) on occult subjects and individuals with entires on astrology and various figures important in the history of astrology (e.g. Cornelius Agrippa, Tycho Brahe, Nicolas Culpepper, Johannes Kepler and William Lilly). Also valuable articles concerned with the history of occult and esoteric thought.

Lynn Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science (8 Vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960).

The fruit of a life’s labours, Thorndike presents in a simple chronological and elementary inductivist manner evidence of attitudes and practices relative to magic, astrology, alchemy and other precursors to contemporary science. Thorndike begins in the Roman Empire and concludes his work in the seventeenth century.

Methodology – Religious Studies Perspectives

Mircea Eliade, Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions: Essays in Comparative Religion (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1976).

Eliade locates the resurgence of the occult in popular culture within his methodological framework of the sacred and profane, and how people today seek to recapture a sense of the sacred in the mundane (e.g. re-enter paradise by rituals, techniques etc). Has some remarks on the revived interest in astrology in the 1970s. Eliade was an influential religious studies scholar of the 20th century.

Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1994).

This is a major monograph that systematically treats esotericism by discussing the bibliographical sources for the Kabbalah, Theosophy, Alchemy, Rosicrucians, Hermeticism, etc. Has some remarks about astrology like: “The most popular is clearly astrology, queen of the arts of divination … astrology still responds to a more or less conscious need to find once more in our uncentered and fragmented world the Unus mundus, the unity of mankind and the universe, through an integral language based on the principle of similitude.” (p. 95). Faivre holds a professorial chair at the Sorbonne in Paris in Esotericism.

Antoine Faivre & Karen-Claire Voss, “Western Esotericism and the Science of Religions” Numen, Volume 42, no. 1 (January 1995), pp. 48-77.

This jointly composed essay is an exploration of the methodological issues and approaches concerning the scholarly study of the esoteric and hermetic sciences. This is a major essay in the discussion about methodology.

Wouter J. Hanegraaff, “Empirical Method in the Study of Esotericism,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 7/2 (1995), pp. 99-129.

Hanegraaff argues that empirical research into esoteric religious phenomena needs to be premised on a methodological agnosticism. Then considers Faivre’s definition of esotericism followed by a discussion on the use of empirical method for synchronic and diachronic studies on esotericism. Questions the distinctions between “mysticism” and “gnosticism”.

Methodology - Folklore

Bill Ellis, Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2004).

Ellis, who is a specialist in folklore at Penn State Uni at Hazelton and is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, argues that the occult is not humbug. Instead the occult represents a populist attempt to access the transcendent directly rather than mediated through the institution or hierarchy of the Church. Demonstrates the role that folklore plays in the social construction of ideas and social panics (among Christians) relative to witchcraft, Satanists, ouija boards and other occult topics. Although not discussing astrology, Ellis thesis is relevant to understanding the backlash from Christians about the occult generally.


Methodology – Psychological Perspectives

Robert L. Carrigan, “The Revival of Astrology – Its Implications for Pastoral Care” Pastoral Psychology, Volume 29, no. 209 (December 1970), pp. 7-14.

An agnostic about astrology, Carrigan seeks to explore the pastoral problems that arise when people interpret themselves and their “significant other” in the deterministic categories of “sun-sign” astrology. Although rejecting astrology as a tool for guidance, Carrigan nonetheless recognises the need for pastoral sensitivity with people attracted to astrology. Indicates that Christians are quick to make rash judgments on human experiences where those involved find strength, hope and assurance (as in astrology). Places the emphasis in counselling on relationships and understanding the attraction to astrology in that setting.

Nicholas Hume & Gerald Goldstein, “Is There an Association Between Astrological Data and Personality?” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33 (1977), pp. 711-713.

The authors tested close to 200 college students employing the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and Leary International Check List, and correlated the results to astrological charts. No link was found between personality features and natal horoscopes, but the authors argue that astrological data might be employed as part of a broader personality assessment of an individual.

 R. S. Perinbanayagam, “Self, Other, and Astrology: Esoteric Therapy in Sri Lanka,” Psychiatry, 44 (1981), pp. 69-79.

A study of Hindu astrologers in Sri Lanka, examining the astrological culture as it appertains to cures and the client-astrologer relationship. The therapeutic work of the astrologer is framed around the concept of karma, from which misfortune beyond the self is established.

Judy F. Pugh, “Astrological Counseling in India,” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 7 (1983), pp. 279-299.

Pugh evaluates the theory that astrology offers clients a form of counselling grounded in situations. The discussion explores a session between an Indian astrologer and client. The effectiveness of astrology as a counselling technique is illustrated from the session and its applicability to the client’s circumstances of life through dialogue, prediction and remedy. The author interprets astrology in India as a valid form of therapy and counselling.

Methodology - Sociological Perspectives

Shoshanah Feher, “Who Holds the Cards? Women and New Age Astrology” in Perspectives on the New Age, edited by James R. Lewis & J. Gordon Melton (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1992), pp. 179-188.

Shoshanah Feher, “Who Looks to the Stars? Astrology and its Constituency” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31, no. 1 (1992), pp. 88-93.

Feher’s twin essays relate to a survey she conducted at an astrological conference. Feher establishes who is attracted to astrology, the demographics and trends particularly among women, and bounces this off earlier sociological surveys that suggested astrology was only a marginal phenomenon.

Jacques Maitre, “The Consumption of Astrology in Contemporary Society,” Diogenes, 53 (Spring 1966), pp. 82-98.

A discussion on the contemporary spread of astrology and the occult generally, which appear to run counter to science. Astrology is examined as a divinatory technique, with its consumer appeal and social functions analysed. The grass roots impact of psychology and changing views about fate have a functional role in the modern practice of astrology.

Martin Marty, “The Occult Establishment” Social Research, Volume 37, no. 2 (Summer 1970), pp.212-230.

Marty explores the role of the occult as a spiritual outlook among the “establishment” in American religion and society, as opposed to an “underground” variety of occult.

Edward A. Tiryakian, “Toward the Sociology of Esoteric Culture” American Journal of Sociology, Volume 78, no. 3 (November 1972), pp 491-512.

One of several important discussions on the sociological contours of contemporary occultism (also see the essay by Truzzi).

Marcello Truzzi, “The Occult Revival as Popular Culture: Some Random Observations on the Old and the Nouveau Witch” Sociological Quarterly, Volume 13, no. 1 (Winter 1972), pp. 16-36.

This has been a seminal essay in the sociology of alternate religion.

Marcello Truzzi, “Astrology as Popular Culture” Journal of Popular Culture, Volume 8, no. 4 (Spring 1975), pp. 906-911.

A smaller essay that needs to be understood in the light of Truzzi’s 1972 essay. Distinguishes between pop astrology (the newspaper sun-signs variety), and the serious consumption of astrology – first by those who become clients of astrologers, and then those who progress to expertise where self-charting occurs.

Gabriel Weiman, “The Prophecy That Never Fails: On the Uses and Gratification of Horoscope Reading,” Sociological Inquiry, 52 (1982), pp. 274-290.

Methodology – Missiological Issues

Stephen B. Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1992).

Stephen B. Bevans, “Living between Gospel and Context: Models for a Missional Church in North America”, in Confident Witness-Changing World edited by C. Van Gelder (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1999), pp. 141-154.

David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1991).

Harvey M. Conn, Eternal Word and Changing Worlds: Theology, Anthropology, and Mission in Trialogue (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 1984).

Irving Hexham, Stephen Rost & John W. Morehead (Eds) Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004).

The theme justifying this collection of essays is the integration of missiological principles (like cross-cultural contextualization) into the discipline of apologetics in ministry with devotees of new religious movements. Contains essays about “incarnational” ministry in Scripture and church history, methodological essays about missiology, communications in missions, new religions as global cultures, together with various case studies on applying such insights into reaching New Age, Neo-Pagan seekers and other groups.

Paul G. Hiebert, Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Insights (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1994).

A collection of Hiebert’s previously published essays on critical contextualization, spiritual warfare and cosmology, etc.

Paul G. Hiebert, Missiological Implications of Epistemological Shifts: Affirming Truth in a Modern/Postmodern World (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 1999).

Paul G. Hiebert & Eloise Hiebert Meneses, Incarnational Ministry: Planting Churches in Band, Tribal, Peasant, and Urban Societies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995).

Paul G. Hiebert, R. Daniel Shaw & Tite Tiénou, Understanding Folk Religion: A Christian Response to Popular Beliefs and Practices (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1999).

Harold Netland, Encountering Religious Pluralism: The Challenge to Christian Faith & Mission (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press/Leicester: Apollos, 2001).

Wilbert R. Shenk, Changing Frontiers in Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999).


John Mark Terry, Ebbie Smith & Justice Anderson (eds) Missiology: An Introduction to the Foundations, History, and Strategies of World Missions (Nashville TN: Broadman & Holman, 1998).

Judith Gundry-Volf, “Spirit, Mercy, and The Other,” Theology Today, 51 (1995), pp. 508-523.

Discussion concerning the encounter between the Samaritan woman and Jesus (John 4), with helpful observations about this episode as an example of cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

Amos Yong, Beyond The Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003).




Methodology – Apologetic Styles

E. M. Blaiklock, “The Areopagus Address,” Faith and Thought, 93/3 (Summer 1964), pp. 175-191.

The Third Rendle Short Memorial Lecture (June 1964). Blaiklock presents the keen perspective of a classicist historian in examining Paul’s encounter at the Areopagus. Considers the context of the passage and the historical backdrop to the Areopagus sermon, and evaluates misconceptions about Paul’s effectiveness in Athens. Notes Paul’s apologetic gambits from a creation framework, contextual circumstances, and the impact of his message.
Philip Johnson, “Apologetics and Myths: Signs of Salvation in Postmodernity,” Lutheran Theological Journal, 32/2 (July 1998), pp. 62-72.

Philip Johnson, “The Aquarian Age & Apologetics,” Lutheran Theological Journal, 34/2 (August 2000), pp. 51-60.

An assessment of five different evangelical models of apologetics employed to counter the influence of New Age spirituality. Assessment locates strengths and weaknesses in each model. A concise argument is offered for developing a more holistic approach that is informed by cross-cultural missions principles.

John Warwick Montgomery, “The Holy Spirit and the Defense of the Faith,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 154/4 (October-December 1997), pp. 387-395.

Harold Netland, “Toward Contextualized Apologetics,” Missiology, Volume 16, no. 3 (July 1988), pp. 289-303.

John A. Saliba, Christian Responses to the New

General Revelation, Natural Theology & Apologetics

Winfried Corduan, “General Revelation in World Religions” Journal of Christian Apologetics, 1/2 (Winter 1997), pp. 59-72.

Winfried Corduan, A Tapestry of Faiths: The Common Thread Between Christianity & World Religions (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002).

David W. Diehl, “Evangelicalism and General Revelation: An Unfinished Agenda” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Volume 30, no. 4 (December 1987), pp. 441-455.

Gordon R. Lewis, “How General Revelation Makes Possible Cross-Cultural Communication” Evangelical Philosophical Society Bulletin, Volume 11 (1988), pp. 48-65.


Gerald R. McDermott, Can Evangelicals Learn From World Religions? Jesus, Revelation & Religious Traditions (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000).


Edward Rommen & Harold Netland (Eds) Christianity and the Religions: A Biblical Theology of World Religions (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1995).





D. E. Aune, “Divination” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Rev. Ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1979), Vol. 1. pp. 971-974.

Aune’s article is a useful primer on the topic of divination in the ancient world and Bible, with remarks about various types of divination (astrology, casting lots, water-divining, arrows, livers etc).

Raymond Buckland, The Fortune-Telling Book: The Encyclopedia of Divination and Soothsaying (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2004).

This is a popular reference work prepared by the founder of Seax-Wicca in America. It is cross-cultural in perspective and has relevant entries on divination in the Bible, astrology, prophecy, dreams, etc.

David Burnett, Unearthly Powers: A Christian Perspective on Primal and Folk Religion (Eastbourne: Monarch, 1988).

Burnett, who is a trained anthropologist, and former missionary, has a brief but interesting chapter on divination. After charting some different cross-cultural forms of divination, Burnett acknowledges “divination in most societies raises some important problems for new converts to Christianity.” He poses the question about the role of charismatic spiritual gifts in Scripture and asks, “Could it be at this level that the spiritual gifts, and especially that of prophecy, have a particular relevance for the church of a primal society?” He concludes, “Perhaps in our desire to distance the young church from the unacceptable aspects of the old culture, we have failed to appreciate the important role of divination. We have presented a God who is unable to communicate with human beings except through a book accessible only to the literate.” (pp. 118, 119).

Robert Gnuse, “The Jewish Dream Interpreter in a Foreign Court: The Recurring Use of a theme in Jewish Literature,” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 7 (October 1990), pp. 29-53.

Alfred Guillaume, Prophecy and Divination Among the Hebrews and Other Semites (“The Bampton Lectures 1938”. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1938).

Guillaume was a distinguished scholar in Islamic Studies, as well as having been Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages at the University of Durham. Although holding to the “orthodoxy” of the Wellhausen theory, Guillaume presents his lectures with some depth exploration of divinatory arts in Sumeria, and then among the Hebrew and Arabic peoples. Inquires into magical methods, prophecy and prediction, objects of vision, acted signs among prophets, dreams and visions, magic and poetry, magic and Psalms.

J. Lindblom, “Lotcasting in the Old Testament,” Vetus Testamentum, 12 (1962), pp. 164-178.

Burke O. Long, “The Effect of Divination Upon Israelite Literature” Journal of Biblical Literature, 92/4 (December 1973), pp. 489-497.

E. Robertson, “The ‘Urim and Tummim,’” Vetus Testamentum, 14 (1964), pp. 67-74.

General Historical Surveys

B. J. Gibbons, Spirituality and the Occult: From The Renaissance to the Modern Age (London & New York: Routledge, 2001).

This is a useful primer on how the esoteric and hermetic traditions have survived and been transmitted from the Renaissance into the modern world. Some brief remarks about astrology in the Renaissance.

Otto Neugebauer, Astronomy and History: Selected Essays (New York, Berlin, Heidelberg & Tokyo: Springer-Verlag, 1983).

Neugebauer was a distinguished authority on ancient astrology, and this text comprises a collection of 43 previously published journal essays on Babylonian, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Medieval-Renaissance studies about planetary theories, astrology, etc.

S. J. Tester, A History of Western Astrology (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1987).

Tester was a classicist and scholars regard this text as a valuable general historical profile on astrology in the West.

Astrology & Historiography

Krzysztof Pomian, “Astrology as a Naturalistic Theology of History” in ‘Astrologi halluncinati’: Stars and the End of the World in Luther’s Time, edited by Paola Zambelli (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1986), pp. 29-43.

Pomian’s essay is pertinent to understanding how astrology became one approach through which some late medieval and Renaissance thinkers sought to find patterns of meaning in history, particularly with reference to cosmic signs (eclipses, comets, planetary conjunctions) and their political or historical significance.

G. W. Trompf, The Idea of Historical Recurrence in Western Thought: From Antiquity to the Reformation (Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 1979).

Trompf holds the professorial chair in the history of ideas in the Religious Studies School at the University of Sydney. In this monograph Trompf is concerned with the concept of “recurrence” (crudely: history goes in cycles) throughout Greco-Roman, Hebraic and Christian thought. Of relevance is his discussion of certain classical-Christian interpreters of history who used an astrological paradigm (see especially pp. 201-207).

Astrology & Religions of Antiquity

Tamsyn Barton, Ancient Astrology (London and New York: Routledge, 1994).

An important monograph on the history of astrology in Babylon, Greece and Rome, with a chapter on the Christian responses to astrology up to the early middle ages. Also includes discussion of the social contexts and application of astrology in the ancient world.

David Brown, “The Cunieform Conception of Celestial Space and Time,” Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 10/1 (2000), pp. 103-122.

J. C. Greenfield & M. Sokoloff, “Astrological and Related Omen Texts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 48, No. 3. (Jul., 1989), pp. 201-214

A translation of selected Jewish Astrological texts, from the second temple onwards indicating their existence and familiarity that the Jewish people had with these texts.

Willy Hartner, “The Earliest History of the Constellations in the Near East and the Motif of the Lion-Bull Combat” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 24, no’s 1 & 2 (January-April 1965), pp. 1-16.

Willy Hartner & Richard Ettinghausen, “The Conquering Lion, The Life Cycle of a Symbol” Oriens, Volume 17 (1964), pp. 161-171.

The twin essays by Hartner are considered to be very controversial among his peers. These essays throw up some interesting conjectures on the signs of Leo and Taurus in Babylonian religion. Both illustrated with photographic plates.

Otto Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity (2nd ed. Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1957).

A classic work on astrology in the ancient cultures from Babylon to Greece by a noted authority.

H. Van Dyke Parunak, “Was Solomon’s Temple Aligned to the Sun?” Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Volume 110 (January-June 1978), pp. 29-33.

Explores the archaeological evidence for the claim that the Temple doors were aligned to the rising of the sun --- and hence with the first temple’s destruction the loss of the sunlight correlates to the glory of Yahweh departing. Author rejects this as untenable.

Erica Reiner, “The Uses of Astrology” Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 105, no. 4 (October-December 1985), pp. 589-595.

A paper reviewing interest in astro-influences from the old Babylonian period onwards. The use of astrology for divination, omens and medical influences is explored.

Helmer Ringgren, Religions of the Ancient Near East (translated by John Sturdy. London: SPCK, 1973).

A basic textbook by a German Old Testament scholar on Mesopotamian, Canaanite and Hebraic religions, but not directly related to astrology.

Francesca Rochberg-Halton, “New Evidence for the History of Astrology” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 43, no. 2 (1984), pp. 115-140.

Rochberg-Halton is a prominent authority who discusses the Babylonian origins of astrological practices on the basis of the ancient extant horoscopic evidence.

Francesca Rochberg-Halton, “Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology”,  Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 108, No. 1. (Jan. - Mar., 1988), pp. 51-62.

A review of the Hellenistic and Chaldean period astrology and their connection and applications.

Francesca Rochberg-Halton, “Babylonian Horoscopes and their Sources” Orientalia, (Nova Series) Volume 58, no. 1 (1989), pp. 102-123.

Rochberg-Halton provides an overview of Babylonian uses of horoscopes in religious and political settings, with translation of texts.

Robert R. Stieglitz, “The Hebrew Names of the Seven Planets”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 40, No. 2. (April, 1981), pp. 135-137.
A short essay that deals with the Hebrew names for the moon and known planets, with references to the influences of these names.

Lynn Thorndike, “A Roman Astrologer as a Historical Source: Julius Firmicus Maternus” Classical Philology, Volume 8, no. 4 (October 1913), pp. 415-435.

In this essay Thorndike explores what we can learn about Roman society and habits based on Maternus’ work on astrology --- i.e. the role of astrology in Roman society.

Antonía Tripolitis, Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age (Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002).

This is a basic textbook on the Greco-Roman religions (mystery religions, gnosticism). Does not explore astrology at all.

Biblical & Jewish Astrology

Tamsyn Barton, “Augustus and Capricorn: Astrological Polyvalency and Imperial Rhetoric”, The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 85. (1995), pp. 33-51.

Kepler tried to discover Emperor Augustus horoscope in order to determine the extent that Capricorn had on his birth sign. The article highlights the debate in Kepler’s’ day as to whether a horoscope should be based on the time of birth or conception, and highlights the level of interest with Augustus conception, determined by one to be 7:05am on the 23rd of December! The article also highlights the problem of date calculation in the Roman world, that the Julian calendar reform was not universally implemented. Augustus is significant as he put the Capricorn Zodiac on a coin, dated 80BC. This event also coincides with the rise of the individual Roman Ruler (as opposed to the Senate), which saw a dramatic rise in use of personal astrologers that were used to promote these new Roman leaders as a means of promoting their leadership credentials. The above then raises an important question regarding Matthews’ account. Maybe the intention of Matthews Magi account is to impress upon a Roman influenced readership of Jesus credentials to be THE Jewish leader.

Eric Burrows, The Oracles of Jacob and Balaam (edited by Edmund F. Sutcliffe. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1938).

Explores astral-zodiacal symbolism relative to the twelve tribes of Israel, in the light of Balaam’s oracle of the star of Jacob. Also discusses the relationship between Balaam’s oracles and the Star of the Magi.

James H. Charlesworth, “Jewish Astrology in the Talmud, Pseudepigrapha, The Dead Sea Scrolls, and Early Palestinian Synagogues” Harvard Theological Review, Volume 70, No’s 3/4 (July-October 1977), pp. 183-200.

Charlesworth is a prominent scholar on the non-canonical writings of Jewish and Christian religion. He explores the place and meaning of astrology as found in the Talmud, the non-canonical writings, and notes the archaeological evidence of zodiacal motifs in synagogues.

James Charlesworth, “Jewish Astrology during the Hellenistic and Roman Period” in Aufsteig und Niedergang der Romaischen Welt, edited by W. Haase & H. Temporini, Vol. 20, no. 2 (1987), pp. 926-950.

Jacques M. Chevalier, Postmodern Revelation: Signs of Astrology and The Apocalypse (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).

The author believes that astrology and the Book of revelation offer two different ways of interpreting reality, especially time and history. Chevalier accepts that the cultural milieu in which Revelation was composed was infused with astrological practices and beliefs. However, Chevalier disagrees with astral interpretations of Revelation such as Bruce Malina. Chevalier’s book is not confined to simply interpreting John’s Apocalypse, but he seeks to shine a light on subsequent history showing how apocalyptic and astrology have competed with each other in European and Western thought. In addition to discussing how some Christians made use of astrology, Chevalier seeks to throw light on astrology and the apocalypse using insights fro Jung, and from postmodernist thinkers like Derrida. This is a provocative study, but not without weaknesses, particularly in dealing with the fundamental Biblical assertion that God was in Christ reconciling the world. Contains: 1. Ends and Flickers of Doubt -- 2. Music of the Spheres -- 3. A History of Revelations -- 4. Alpha and Omega -- 5. The Seven Churches of Asia -- 6. The Chariot of Fire -- 7. Seven Seals and Four Trumpets -- 8. The Last Three Trumpets -- 9. The Sun-Robed Woman -- Conclusion: Signs of Logomachy -- Postscript: In the Nearness of Evil.

Clinton E. Arnold, The Colossian Syncretism (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1996).

Arnold’s discussion about Christ and his victory over the cosmic powers has relevance to the astral background of new Testament times, and also is suggestive of an apologetic gambit to develop with contemporary seekers of astrology.

G. R. Driver, “Two Astronomical Passages in the Old Testament,” Journal of Theological Studies (New Series), 4 (1953), pp. 208-212.

G. R. Driver, “Two Astronomical Passages in the Old Testament,” Journal of Theological Studies (New Series), 7 (1956), pp. 1-11.

Konradin Ferrari-D’Occhieppo, “The Star of the Magi and Babylonian Astronomy,” in Chronos, Kairos, Christos: Nativity and Chronological Studies Presented to Jack Finegan, edited by Jerry Vardaman & Edwin M. Yamauchi (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1989).

G. Foerster, “The Zodiac in Ancient Synagogues and its Place in Jewish Thought and Literature,” Erets Israel, 19 (1987), pp. 225-234.

A. B. Grimaldi, “The Zodiacal Arrangement of the Stars in its historical and Biblical Connections” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, 38 1906, pp 235-241.

Rachel Hachlili, “The Zodiac in Ancient Jewish Art: Representation and Significance” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Number 229 (December 1977), pp. 61-77.

Hachlili is a Jewish scholar who offers an interpretation of astrological symbolism in synagogues.

Una Jart, “The Precious Stones in the Revelation of St. John xxi. 18-21” Studia Theologica, Volume 24, no. 2 (1970), pp. 150-181.

A Scandinavian scholar discusses the gemstones in the New Jerusalem and their symbolic meaning, especially with reference to the zodiac.

Michele D. Jurist, “Astrology: Its History, Philosophy, and relation to religion with special emphasis on the early Hebrews and the Bible” Journal of Religious Studies (Ohio), Volume 10 1982 pp. 58-76.

Ernest Lucas, “The Source of Daniel’s Animal Imagery” Tyndale Bulletin, 41 1990 pp 161-185.

Lucas, who is known for his anti-New Age book Science and the New Age, explores in this essay the possible sources for animal symbolism in Daniel. Among those sources Lucas examines whether zodiacal animal symbols are relevant to Daniel, but rejects that possibility.

Bruce Malina, On the Genre and Message of Revelation: Star Visions and Sky Journeys (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1995).

A commentary on the Book of Revelation that operates from the standpoint of the social sciences (cultural anthropology and sociology) to determine the astrological background to the book, and the possible significance and meaning of star, sun, moon symbols in the apocalypse. The strength of the thesis is found in appreciating through first-century eyes how the phenomena of the sky was viewed and understood. This helps with some of the background to Revelation, and offers some interesting suggestions. The weaknesses in Malina’s thesis are: (a). He undervalues what is “forthcoming” in the book of Revelation, and instead tries to read the material back into primeval times; (b). He over-plays his hand on the sky phenomena and skates around obvious Jewish imagery from the Old Testament.

Lester Ness, “Astrology” Archaeology in the Biblical World, Volume 2, no. 1 (Fall 1992), pp. 44-53.

Lester Ness, Written in the Stars: Ancient Zodiac Mosaics (Warren Center, Pennsylvania: Shangri-La Publications, 1999).

Based on the author’s doctoral thesis (supervised by Yamauchi), this richly photographed book explores the archaeological evidence of zodiacal mosaics in Jewish synagogues, and explores in what way(s) Jews interpreted the zodiacal signs. This is a major text, with a very good annotated bibliography on astrology in the ancient world.

Richard Oster, “Numismatic Windows into the Social World of Early Christianity: A Methodological Inquiry,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 101/2 (1982), pp. 195-223.

Oster’s paper draws attention to the evidentiary worth of numismatics for New Testament studies. The paper has a threefold focus. First, Oster examines certain methodological questions concerning the historical value of numismatic data, the role and function of iconography on coins, and the social origin of coins. Second, Oster examines the symbolism on certain Roman coins to ascertain the cultural ethos they might reflect. Symbols of the zodiac, stars and comets abound on coins from the days of Augustus Caesar. Nativity comets and astral eschatology are symbolically represented on coins. Third, Oster investigates how the numismatic symbolism assists in comprehending the Roman religiosity of the NT era, and in turn how this data can help us to better appreciate the stylistic technique and symbolism of the language used in the NT (particularly the astral symbolism of John’s Apocalypse.

Roy Rosenberg, “The ‘Star of the Messiah’ Reconsidered” Biblica, Volume 53 (1972), pp. 105-109.

Discussion centres on whether the Magi’s star was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and notes how the conjunction of these planets has been considered important in Jewish-Christian events.

Geo. St. Clair, “Israel in Camp: A Study” Journal of Theological Studies, Volume 8, no. 30 (January 1907), pp. 185-217.

A fairly liberal-rationalist approach to the Old Testament, but with a discussion about the relationship between the 12 signs of the zodiac and the 12 Tribes, especially in the encampment in Sinai.

Kocku von Stuckrad, “Jewish and Christian Astrology in Late Antiquity – A New Approach” Numen, Volume 47, no. 1 (2000), pp. 1-40.

Provocative and valuable study of the role of astrology in Jewish religion, Gnosticism and early Christian thought. Marred somewhat by the conflating of categories between Christian and Gnostic thought (i.e. considers gnostic groups as a Christian tradition).

Stefan Weinstock, “The Geographical Catalogue in Acts II, 9-11”, The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 38, Parts 1 and 2. (1948), pp. 43-46.
A short, but valuable insight into the way that Luke used a conventional astrological descriptive approach, when narrating where the people at Pentecost had come from.

Edwin M. Yamauchi, “The Episode of the Magi,” in Chronos, Kairos, Christos: Nativity and Chronological Studies Presented to Jack Finegan, edited by Jerry Vardaman & Edwin M. Yamauchi (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1989).

Valuable discussion of the Magi, their religious background, and the historical questions associated with the Nativity of Christ.

Edwin M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1990).

Discussion of interaction between Persian culture and Israel, with some illuminating general background on Zoroaster and the Magi; which is useful for amplifying an understanding of the Magi in Babylon, Daniel and the Magi, and The Magi and Christ’s Nativity.

Lawrence Zalcman, “Astronomical Illusions in Amos,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 100/1 (1981), pp. 53-58.

Ida Zatelli, “Astrology and the Worship of the Stars in the Bible” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Volume 103 (1991), pp. 86-99.

Sub-Apostolic & Patristic Astrology

Leo C. Ferrari, “Astronomy and Augustine’s Break with the Manichees,” Revue des Études Augustiniennes, 19/1-2 (1973), pp.263-276.

Ferrari argues that during his decade-long association with Manicheanism that Augustine had strong commitments to astrology and interests in the predictions surrounding eclipses. He indicates that too many scholars have underestimated the significance of astrological beliefs in Augustine’s pre-Christian life. Ferrari indicates that Augustine’s astrological interests continued for a few years after his disenchantment with the teachings of Mani but before his conversion to Christianity. This experiential backdrop brings into close relief Augustine’s stern reaction to astrology in the corpus of his writings.

Wolfgang Hübner, “Das Horoskop Der Christen (Zeno 1, 38 L.)” Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 29 (1975), pp. 120-137.

This essay comprises a German translation of the Latin “zodiacal sermon” of Zeno an early church bishop. The sermon was known in France from the 4th-6th centuries, and Zeno preached it at a baptismal service. Some details are discussed in Tamsyn Barton’s Ancient Astrology.

Gordon P. Jeanes, The Day Has Come! Easter and Baptism in Zeno of Verona (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1995).

Jeanes provides English translations of various sermons of Zeno’s appertaining to the celebration of Easter and Baptism. This includes Zeno’s famous “Sermon on the Zodiac to the Neophytes”. Jeanes also provides analytic discussion of Zeno’s zodiacal sermon.

James A. Kleist, The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch (“Ancient Christian Writers”. Westminster, Maryland: Newman Bookshop, 1946).
Includes the English translation of Ignatius’ Epistle to the Ephesians, which contains the passage known as the “starhymn”.

David C Lindberg, “Science and the Early Christian Church”, Isis, Vol. 74, No. 4 (Dec. 1983) 509-530.
A look at the Church Fathers and their views towards science, and the pagan views of the time. This essay has been revised and updated and appears as chapter one in Lindberg & Numbers, God and Nature (see Astrology & History of Science below)

Firmicus Maternus, Matheseos Libri VIII (translated by Jean Rhys Bram. Abingdon MD: Astrology Classics, 2003).

Maternus (c.280-c.360 AD) was a Sicilian lawyer and composed this treatise outlining Greek astrological theory. This text became important for astrologers in the medieval and Renaissance eras. NB. Maternus converted from paganism to Christianity (see next entry).

Firmicus Maternus, The Error of the Pagan Religions (“Ancient Christian Writers”. Translated by Clarence A. Forbes. New York/Ramsey, NJ: Newman Press, 1970).

Maternus’ apologia for Christianity over against paganism, but note he does not completely repudiate astrology.

Alan B. Scott, Origen and the life of the stars: a history of an idea (Oxford UK: Clarendon Press/New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

Author’s 1988 thesis on Origen’s views about cosmology, particularly the religious aspects of stars. Scott furnishes a helpful backdrop to Origen’s thought by exploring the Pre-Socratic and Aristotelian ideas about stars and their possible connection with souls. Also provides discussion on the Hellenist-Jew Philo’s views on this same question, followed by observations on Clement of Alexandria. Origen interacted at a serious level with the Hellenic idea about stars being souls, which he felt had truth to it. Origen is noted for his eccentric view of the pre-existence of souls prior to earthly incarnation; these views about pre-existent souls and stars as souls were later rejected by the Church Council of Laodicea. Origen’s theological position, while speculative, shows an effort on his part to move away from fatalist astrological ideas, and to incorporate stellar phenomena into his theology of souls and the resurrected body. An interesting and flawed experiment in early Patristics to develop a natural theology.

H. F. Stander, “The Starhymn in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians (19:2-3),” Vigiliae Christianae, 43 (1989), pp. 209-214.

Brief discussion on the Greek construction of Ignatius’ “starhymn”, with the emphasis on stylistic and syntactical elements.

Paul W. Walaskay, “Ignatius of Antioch: The Synthesis of Astral Mysticism, Rational Theology, and Christian Witness” Religion in Life, Volume 48 (Autumn 1979), pp. 309-322.

Walaskay discusses how Ignatius had an “astral theology” stimulated by the Magi passage in Matthew, and a latent apologetic is embedded in Ignatius’ work. Of particular significance given that Ignatius was from the city of Antioch and was a martyr in the sub-apostolic generation of disciples.

Medieval  & Renaissance Astrology

Don Cameron Allen, The Star Crossed Renaissance: the Quarrel about Astrology and Its Influence in England, (New York: Octagon Books, 1966).

A classic work originally released in 1941 that has been reissued several times up to the 1970s. Author explores 15th century attitudes in Italy and handsomely summarises arguments for and against astrology from figures such as Pico, Ficino and others. Then explores attitudes elsewhere in continental Europe, particularly among the Melanchthon circle with Melanchthon’s son-in-law being a prominent defender of astrology. Then proceeds to explore how astrology became controversial in England up to the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, examining the attitudes of supporters and detractors, how predictive astrology was satirized in literature etc.

Francis B. Brevart, “The German Volkskalender of the Fifteenth Century”, Speculum, Vol. 63, No. 2. (Apr., 1988), pp. 312-342

This essay deals with a significant corpus of German 15th Century works dealing with cosmology, zodiac studies, astrology and astronomy.

Stephen M. Buhler, “Marsilio Ficino’s De stella magorum and Renaissance Views of the Magi”, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2. (Summer, 1990), pp. 348-371.
Ficino’s views about the Magi. As he is a key figure in the Renaissance appropriation of the Qabalah, it may explain the Christian hesitation in ascribing to the Magi a pagan priest status.

Brian P. Copenhaver, “Astrology and Magic,” in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, edited by Quentin Skinner & Richard Kessler (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 264-300.

Richard C. Dales, “The De-Animation of the Heavens in the Middle Ages” Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume 41, no. 4 (October-December 1980), pp. 531-550.

In the Middle Ages and beyond there was conjecture about what powers or forces animated the planets and stars --- did angels move the planets?? This essay explores how the heavens became in theory de-animated. Useful backdrop to understanding astrology at the time.

Roger French, “Foretelling the Future: Arabic Astrology and English Medicine in the Late Twelfth Century” Isis, Volume 87 (1996), pp. 453-480.

Mark Harrison, “From Medieval Astrology to Medieval Astronomy: Sol-Lunar and Planetary Theories in British Medicine,” British Journal for the History of Science, 33 (2000), pp. 25-48.

M. L. W. Laistner, “The Western Church and Astrology During the Early Middle Ages” Harvard Theological Review, Volume 34, no. 4 (October 1941), pp. 251-275.

Author is agnostic about astrology, but this is a useful essay in understanding the place of astrology in the medieval church, attitudes antipathetic toward astrology, etc.

Helen Lemay, “The Stars and Human Sexuality: Some Medieval Scientific Views”, Isis, Vol. 71, No. 1. (Mar., 1980), pp. 127-137.

Arabic Astrology, which of course highly influences European Astrology is highly interested in issues relating to sexuality. This article again shows the breadth of interest and concern of medieval astrology.

C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1964).

A classic piece of scholarship this book is based on lectures Lewis delivered many times at Oxford. Lewis helps readers to enter into the medieval mindset and see how they viewed the world, rather than through post-Enlightenment eyes that treats the medieval world with contempt and as an era that fostered superstitions. Has a chapter on the “heavens” with discussion on medieval attitudes toward astrology.

Stephen C. McCluskey, “Gregory of Tours, Monastic Timekeeping, and Early Christian Attitudes to Astronomy”, Isis, Vol. 81, No. 1. (Mar., 1990), pp. 8-22.

J. D. North, “Medieval Concepts of Celestial Influence A Survey” in Astrology Science and Society: Historical Essays, edited by Patrick Curry (Woodbridge, Suffolk/Wolfeboro, New Hampshire: The Boydell Press, 1987), pp. 5-17.

North discusses the different ideas held in medieval thought about how planetary bodies and stars influenced the earth’s weather, human health, historical events etc.

John J. O’Connor, “The Astrological Background of the Miller's Tale”, Speculum, Vol. 31, No. 1. (Jan., 1956), pp. 120-125.
Background material to astrological references in Chaucer’s work, which also investigates the notion that Noah was the first astrologer, and where this idea came from.

David Pingree, “The Greek Influence on Early Islamic Mathematical Astronomy”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 93, No. 1. (Jan. - Mar., 1973), pp. 32-43.
A historic overview of the influence of astrology on Islam in the 8th and 9th Centuries. The resulting astrology was essentially Ptolemaic. Our significance for this article is that Islamic Astrology influences medieval Christian theology, in turn.

Laura Ackerman Smoller, History, Prophecy and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailley, 1350-1420 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994).

Based on Smoller’s doctoral dissertation, this book explores how a prominent French Roman Catholic (one involved in resolving the problem of the 3 Popes) became learned in astrology and integrated it into his theology. Useful illumination on the role of astrology in late medieval Catholic thought.

Gary K. Waite, Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

Useful general treatment of the subject, with interspersed remarks on the subject of astrology.

Frances A. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (London: Routledge, 1964).

Regarded as something of a classic work (but not without need for fine tuning), Yates looks at the life and labours of the Renaissance hermeticist Giordano Bruno (a figure who inspired Madame Blavatsky, and for whom Sydney Radio station 2GB was named for). As a backdrop to Bruno’s life, Yates explores in a succinct fashion the thought of Ficino, Pico and Cornelius Agrippa. Bruno is important in understanding Renaissance views about magic and the esoteric, especially the Qabalah.

Reformation & Post-Reformation

Abel A. Alves, “Complicated Cosmos: Astrology and Anti-Machiavellianism in Saavedra's Empresas Politicas” Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1. (Spring, 1994), pp. 67-84.

A journal that provides background material on this seventeenth-century incident and the struggle over the role of astrology in society and divine will and the prevailing and changing worldview.

John Calvin, (translated by Mary Potter) “A Warning Against Judicial Astrology” Calvin Theological Journal, 18 1983 pp. 157-189.

This is a modern English translation of Calvin’s anti-astrology tract, along with a short translator’s introduction. This essay needs to be read alongside that by Christine Probes [see below]. Calvin rejects predictive or judicial astrology on the grounds it contradicts the sovereignty of God, and scripture condemns it. Yet he allows for “natural astrology” with the planets influencing our bodies and health (hence medical astrological diagnosis is permissible).

Carroll Camden, Jr., “Astrology in Shakespeare's Day”, Isis, Vol. 19, No. 1. (Apr., 1933), pp. 26-73.

Stefano Caroti, “Melanchthon’s Astrology” in ‘Astrologi halluncinati’: Stars and the End of the World in Luther’s Time, edited by Paola Zambelli (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1986), pp.109-121.

Important essay on Melanchthon’s views about astrology, particularly in the context of his natural philosophy. Also see Kusukawa’s writings [see below].

Patrick Curry, Prophecy and Power: Astrology in Early Modern England (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989).

A major monograph on the role of astrology and predictive prophecy in English politics and church life in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially for the period of the Puritan Commonwealth and the Royalist Restoration. Curry’s monograph demonstrates that both Royalists and Puritans used astrological prognostications in their politico-religious agendas in England. Curry notes how James I had a monopoly set up for the publication of “approved” astrological works, which had to have both regal and ecclesiastical endorsement! Also discusses how astrology survived at a popular level with almanacs in rural England well into the 19th century, while simultaneously being downgraded by British upper classes as superstition. This is a very valuable discussion on the way astrology was used for apocalyptic predictions in England, as well as illuminating how astrology was accepted, reformed, survived and “rejected” in different stratum of British society.

C. Scott Dixon, “Popular Astrology and Lutheran Propaganda in Reformation Germany, History, Volume 84 (1999), pp. 403-418.

Dixon explores how Lutheran preachers used aspects of popular astrology – such as published almanacs and their predictions – to warn parishioners of the cosmic signs portending God’s wrath (comets etc). The preaching was infused with the sense that God had ordered nature, and that cosmic signs indicated the need for moral repentance.

Kitty Ferguson, Tycho & Kepler: The Unlikely Partnership That Forever Changed Our Understanding of the Heavens (New York: Walker & Co, 2002).

A biographical study of both Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, and their relationship as teacher-student, with their contributions to the transformation of astronomy as a modern science.

J. V. Field, “A Lutheran Astrologer: Johannes Kepler” Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Volume 31, no. 3 (1984), pp. 190-272.

This long essay introduces aspects of Kepler’s approach to astrology, and also includes excerpts of translations of some of Kepler’s work.

J. V. Field, “Astrology in Kepler’s Cosmology” in Astrology Science and Society: Historical Essays, edited by Patrick Curry (Woodbridge, Suffolk/Wolfeboro, New Hampshire: The Boydell Press, 1987), pp. 143-170.

Parallel to the previous essay by Field, here the author explores the contours of Kepler’s cosmology and how astrology fitted into it.

Robert I. Griffiths, “Was There a Crisis before the Copernican Revolution? A Reappraisal of Gingerich's Criticisms of Kuhn”, PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1988, Volume One: Contributed Papers. (1988), pp. 127-132.

Challenges Kuhn’s (1962) notion that Copernicus did create such a crisis in cosmology in his day.

Irving A. Kelter, “The Refusal to Accommodate: Jesuit Exegetes and the Copernican System”, Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Summer, 1995), pp. 273-283.

Copernicus changed cosmology provided challenges for Biblical exegesis. The first Catholic theologian to respond was Stunica in 1584 who used Biblical accommodation, subsequently influencing the Jesuits.

Johannes Kepler, Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World (Translated by Charles Glenn Wallis. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1995).

N.B. This is not a complete translation of these two works, but only Book 4 of Epitome, and Books 4 & 5 of Harmonies.

Arthur Koestler, The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler (London: Heinemann, 1960).

Sachiko Kusukawa, “Aspectio divinorum operum: Melanchthon and astrology for Lutheran medics” in Medicine and the Reformation, edited by Ole Peter Grell & Andrew Cunningham (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 33-56.

Discussion of Melanchthon’s avid interest in astrology, and his application of it to medical astrology, and the role he played in teaching astrology at Wittenberg University, and those trained under him in Lutheran medicine. How Melanchthon placed astrology within Luther’s “Book of Nature”.

Sachiko Kusukawa, The Transformation of Natural Philosophy: The Case of Philip Melanchthon (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).

Based on Kusukawa’s doctoral dissertation. An important text for understanding Melanchthon’s interpretation of Luther’s “book of nature” theology, and how Melanchthon incorporated astrology into it.

Charlotte Methuen, “The Role of the Heavens in the Thought of Philip Melanchthon”, Journal of the History of Ideas 57 (1996), pp. 385-403.

John Warwick Montgomery, “Lutheran Astrology and Alchemy in the Age of the Reformation” in Cross and Crucible: Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654) Phoenix of the Theologians, Volume 1 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973), pp. 1-22.

Discusses the Lutheran contribution to the rise of science via alchemy and astrology. Indicates that the theological motivation for Lutheran alchemy and astrology was grounded in Luther’s “Book of Nature”. Brief comments then on Melanchthon, Brahe, Kepler and Weigel and others in their interests in astrology.

Nicolas H. Nelson, “Astrology, Hudibras, and the Puritans”, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 37, No. 3. (Jul. - Sep., 1976), pp. 521-536

This journal article is shows the way some 17th Century Puritans were very much into Astrology. 

Derek Parker, Familiar To All: William Lilly and Astrology in the Seventeenth Century (London: Jonathan Cape, 1975).

A popular biography of England’s most famous and influential astrologer in the 17th century.

Robert D. Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism Volume 2: God and His Creation (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1972).

An important discussion about Lutheran theology on the creation. Chapter seven is especially pertinent to comprehending Lutheran scientific activities, and the attempts of figures like Melanchthon and others (like Kepler) who sought to reconcile Scripture with the natural sciences. Circumspect about the extent to which Lutherans influenced the rise of science.

Christine McCall Probes, “Calvin on Astrology” Westminster Theological Journal, Volume 37, no. 1 (Fall 1974), pp. 24-33.

A preliminary discussion on Calvin’s views about astrology, noting his opposition to judicial astrology (Calvin is anti-predictive and opposed to planet-worship), but Calvin allows for natural astrology since the planets can be shown to have some correlative influence on the earth and our bodies (medical factors).

Mary Quinlan-McGrath, “The Foundation Horoscope(s) for St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, 1506: Choosing a time, changing a storia”, Isis, Vol. 92, no 4. (Dec 2001), 716-741.
This valuable essay shows just how prevalent astrology was in the Renaissance. Work on St Peter’s Basilica was carefully started on the correct astrological date, and "rectification" of the chart was required after construction had stalled for nearly forty years.

Sheila J. Rabin, “Kepler's Attitude Toward Pico and the Anti-Astrology Polemic”, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3. (Autumn, 1997), pp. 750-770.

Harry Rusche, “Prophecies and Propaganda, 1641 to 1651”, The English Historical Review, Vol. 84, No. 333. (Oct., 1969), pp. 752-770.

17th Century England abounded in astrological prophecy of whom William Lilly was significant amongst these.

A. J. Sachs & C. B. F. Walker, “Kepler’s View of the Star of Bethlehem and The Babylonian Almanac for 7/6 B.C.” Iraq, Volume 46, no. 1 (Spring 1984), pp. 43-55.

Robert W. Scribner, “The Reformation, Popular Magic, and the ‘Disenchantment of the World’”, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 23, No. 3, Religion and History (Winter, 1993) 475-493.
This significant essay looks at the result of the Enlightenment and Reformation. Magic and the Occult was reduced out of Protestant religion and in its place was an increased demonology, as Protestants shunned the magical sacraments. Luther had a powerful belief in the Devil, and that he lived in the “end times”.

David Siegenthaler, “Zodiac and Prayer Book” Journal of Theological Studies (New Series) 26 (1975), pp. 427-434.

A brief but illuminating discussion on how zodiacal data was regularly printed in Church prayer books until the 1540s.

Gérard Simon, “Kepler’s Astrology: The Direction of a Reform” Vistas in Astronomy, Volume 18 (1975), pp. 439-448.

A discussion about how Kepler sought to “reform” astrology along scientific lines, and sought to weed out or eschew the sloppy predictive activities of charlatan astrologers.

Stephen D. Snobelen, “Isaac Newton, heretic: the Strategies of a Nicodemite,” British Journal for the History of Science, 32 (1999), pp. 381-419.

Bruce Stephenson, Kepler’s Physical Astronomy (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994).

Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Cemtury England (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971).

An important historical interpretation of the place and decline in popular beliefs like astrology, witchcraft, and magic in Reformation and Post-Reformation England.

Alexandra Walsham, “‘Frantick Hacket’: Prophecy, Sorcery, Insanity, and the Elizabethan Puritan Movement”, The Historical Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1. (Mar., 1998), pp. 27-66.
This valuable essay both indicates the prevalence of astrological prophecy in 16th Century England, and also the way that some early Puritans were engrossed by it. This may provide a key as to why later Puritans and Protestants become so negative towards it.

Robert S. Westman, “The Melanchthon Circle: Rheticus, and the Wittenberg Interpretation of the Copernican Theory”, Isis, Vol. 66, No. 2 (June 1975) 164-193.

Michael P. Winship, “Cotton Mather, Astrologer” New England Quarterly, Volume 63, no. 2 (June 1990), pp. 308-314.

Cotton Mather, the infamous Puritan preacher of Salem, Massachusetts (witch trial mania), had some use for natural astrology. An irony of history that the Puritan preacher who was part of the anti-witch craze had some openness to astrology!

Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (London: Routledge, 1979).

Yates’ last work synthesizes her earlier work on hermeticism and Rosicrucianism. Useful discussion about astrology in Shakespeare. Yates single-handedly put the esoteric back on the agenda for historians to take seriously in studying the Renaissance and Reformation.


Modern History & Occultism

Mark Bevir, “The West Turns Eastward: Madame Blavatsky and the Transformation of the Occult Tradition” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Volume 62, no. 3 (Fall 1994), pp. 747-767.

Jon Butler, “Magic, Astrology, and the early American Religious Heritage, 1600-1760” American Historical Review, Volume 84, no. 2 (April 1979), pp. 317-346.

Despite the common understanding that the early American colony was very Christian, this essay both disputes this image and shows the extent of popular magical and astrological practices from the colonial era.

J. Gordon Melton, “The Revival of Astrology in the United States” in Religious Movements: Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers, edited by Rodney Stark (New York: Paragon House, 1985), pp. 279-299.

Valuable discussion on the colonial roots of astrology and on the re-emergence of astrology in the 19th and 20th centuries in the USA. Nicely complements Butler’s essay (above).

William D. Stahlman, “Astrology in Colonial America: An Extended Query,” William and Mary Quarterly, 13 (1956), pp. 561-563.

Stahlman explores the extent to which astrology was important in colonial America, and suggests other areas for future inquiry.

Theosophical & Neo-Hermetic Interpretations

Karl Anderson, Astrology in the Old Testament or the Lost Word Regained (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing Company, 1997).

Reprint of the self-published 1892 edition. Partial Contents: Belief in God intuitive; Great pyramid; Birth of Christ, and Krishna; Movements of Christ or Krishna, astrological horoscopes; Croix or Christ; Proof that the ancients knew the Sun to be the grand central orb; Wisdom and what it is; Astrology divine and inspired by God; Of prophets or seers, mediums and magnetic healers; Constellations of Heaven; Of Natural man or earth man, and evolution of species; Who built the pyramid; Description of the planets; Signification, nature, quality and description of the 12 houses. Signs and meanings; Aspects; Nativities; Astrological aphorisms; Wisdom of Isis.

Frederick Carter, Symbols of Revelation (Berwick, ME: Ibis Press, 2003).

This is a reprint of a text that was originally published as The Dragon of Revelation (1st ed. London: Desmond Harmsworth, 1931). According to the “Publisher’s Note”, Carter was a personal acquaintance of the novelist D. H. Lawrence. Lawrence reputedly had an article about the Book of Revelation published in the London Mercury (July 1930), which derived from Carter’s ideas. Carter’s 96 page book discerns zodiacal symbolism throughout the Book of Revelation, and his interpretative grid relies on the Theosophical writer G. R. S. Mead and on Qabalistic Gematria. Carter’s work is an example of a Theosophical/hermetic approach to the Book of Revelation, which has great relevance to the current forms of “New Age” astrology.

Robert Powell, Christian Hermetic Astrology: The Star of the Magi and the Life of Christ (Anthroposophic Press 1998).

Astrology & History of Science

T. G. Cowling, Isaac Newton and Astrology (“The Eighteenth Selig Brodetsky Memorial Lecture”. Leeds: Leeds University Press, 1977).

A 21 page transcript of the lecture. Argument is that Newton did NOT have anything to do with astrology.

G. B. Deason, “The Protestant Reformation and the Rise of Modern Science,” Scottish Journal of Theology, 38/2 (1985), pp. 221-240.
M. B. Foster, “The Christian doctrine of creation and the rise of modern science” Mind, 43 (1934), pp. 446-468.

William Hine, “Copernican Astronomy and Biblical Interpretation” Christian Scholars Review, 3/2 1973 pp 134-149.

Keith Hutchison, “What Happened to the Occult Qualities in the Scientific Revolution?”, Isis, Vol. 73, No. 2 (June 1982) 233-253.

David C. Lindberg, The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 BC to AD 1450 (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1992).

Lindberg is at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as Professor of the History of Science. This 455 page book is regarded as a landmark text in charting the science of the ancient world and providing a connected narrative of ancient and medieval science, its relationship to Greek philosophy and medieval scholasticism, and documents how philosophy and religion influenced both the content and the practice of science (includes mathematics, astrology-astronomy, medicine etc).

David C. Lindberg & Ronald L. Numbers (eds) God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).

This is an important collection of 18 essays that explores the relationship between Christianity and science. The standpoint taken steers a middle path between two polar opposite theses. Thesis A – Christianity suppressed/opposed/retarded scientific inquiry; Thesis B – Christianity was the prime cause for the rise of science. The middle path is between these 2 positions. Includes Lindberg on the early church; essays related to medieval and Reformation eras; Robert Westfall “The Copernicans and the Churches”; William Shea “Galileo and the Church”; Charles Webster, “Puritanism, Separatism and Science”; Margaret Jacob, “Christianity and the Newtonian World View”.

F. Oakley, “Christian Theology and the Newtonian science: rise of the concept of the laws of nature” Church History, 30 (1961), pp. 433-457.

Eileen Reeves, “Augustine and Galileo on Reading the Heavens” Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume 52, no. 4 (October-December 1991), pp. 563-579.

Although not a discussion on astrology, Reeves examines how Galileo “read” the heavens in the Bible and how he argued his case about science and Scripture, and to what extent he relied on Augustine’s writings.

E. Rosen, “Galileo’s Misstatements about Copernicus” Isis, 49 (1958), pp. 319-330.

Rosen argues that opposition to Copernicus’ theory was still strong in the 17th century, and that Descartes’ philosophy then captured the public mind pushing aside the older Aristotelian model that supported Ptolemy’s cosmos. So by mid 17th century Copernicus comes into vogue.

Paul R. Thagard, “Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience”, PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Volume One: Contributed Papers. (1978), pp. 223-234.

A rationalist “debunking” of astrology using astrology as a case study to establish a criterion for demarcating science from pseudoscience.

Lynn Thorndike, “The True Place of Astrology in the History of Science” Isis, Volume 46 (1955), pp. 273-278.

A short but concise historic overview that states that Astrology was the explanation of the  “universal force” of the universe, before Newton developed the Theory of gravity. The article shows why this pre-Newtonian Astrological view held such influence with the cosmology of the day.

Peter Wright, “Astrology and Science in Seventeenth Century England” Social Studies of Science, 5 (1975), pp. 399-422.

Christian Apologetics

John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Astrology: Do The Heavens Rule Our Destiny? (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1989).

Probably the most important recent work of counter-cult apologists in attacking astrology on rationalist-scientific arguments and Biblical arguments about the occult, spiritism, divination etc. In according this book the status of  “important”, this is not commensurate with saying the authors’ research is necessarily brilliant or that the arguments presented are profound.

Kirsty Birkett, “Starry Eyed: The Lure of Irrationalism” Kategoria, 4 (1997), pp. 11-28.
An example of the rationalist constructs that undergird the theology and apologetics of several “Matthias Media” personnel in Sydney. Birkett fails to consider “why” people are exploring astrology rather than Christianity, and she overlooks the role of astrology in the Lutheran Reformation.

James Bjornstad & Shildes Johnson, Stars, Signs & Salvation in the Age of Aquarius (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, 1971).

A basic refutation of astrology on the grounds it is unbiblical and occultic, employing a heresy model for demarcating astrology as beyond the pale for Christians.

Richard H. Bube, “Pseudo-Science and Pseudo-Theology: (A) Cult and Occult,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, 29/1 (March 1977), pp. 22-28.

Bube of Stanford University seeks to identify what constitutes pseudo-science and pseudo-theology, and argues that pseudo-science is no friend of proper theology, just as a pseudo-theology is no friend of proper science. In his discussion Bube seeks to identify “forms of fatalism” in various cults and in astrology; other criticisms levelled against Mary Baker eddy’s Christian Science, Hubbard’s Scientology, and Transcendental Meditation. Although the discussion is helpful for developing discernment about pseudo-theology (or poor theology) and pseudo-science (or poor science), it is hampered by a simplistic understanding of astrology (and the other cultic groups profiled) and a tendency to debunk without adequately appreciating the appeal of the practices or groups Bube rejects.

Oswald Chakravarty, “Astrology was my Hobby A Personal Account” Evangelical Review of Theology, Volume 16, no.4 (October 1992), pp. 407-410.

Brief testimony of an Indian who was fascinated with astrology both before and after his conversion to Christianity. Warns of the seductive dangers inherent in astrology, and the author burned his astrological books as a sign of repentance and sanctification. Should be read in conjunction with the 2 essays by Anthony Stone.

Ross Clifford & Philip Johnson, Jesus and the Gods of the New Age (Oxford: Lion Publishing, 2001/Colorado Springs CO: Victor Books, 2003).

William Dyrness, “Astrology: Cosmic Fatalism” Christianity Today, September 24 1976, pp. 16-19.

Dyrness discusses the resurgent interest in astrology and compares it with pop dispensationalist fascination in Armageddon (e.g. Hal Lindsey). The strength of this paper is in finding parallel fascinations in astrology and dispensationalism for prognostications and suggests that both are manifestations of a cosmic fatalism. The underlying weaknesses with this consist of Dyrness’ failure to appreciate astrology in medieval and Reformation Christian eras on its own terms; rather he dismisses it as superstition. Also Dyrness takes a presuppositionalist epistemology in his apologetics generally.

André Kole & Terry Holley, Astrology & Psychic Phenomena (Carlisle, Cumbria: OM Publishing, 1998).

Kole is a professional stage illusionist. He offers rational, scientific and biblical reasons why Christianity and astrology are incompatible. Has some useful tips on witnessing to people attracted to the psychic, but ironically the arguments presented in the body of the text are at odds with these tips.

H. B. Kuhn, “Providence? Or Age of Aquarius?” Christianity Today, June 20 1969 p. 39.

John Warwick Montgomery, Principalities and Powers (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, 1973).

Montgomery’s great strength in this book is in his analytical discussions about occult theories and occultism as a spiritual search. Devotes a chapter to astrology, sets out his own horoscope details to indicate how his personality and his star signs are poles apart. However Montgomery does not dismiss astrology as humbug, but alludes to the Gospel in the Stars hypothesis. In his apologetic construct he suggests a primordial harmony in the cosmos and human relationships with it, and posits that post-fall our grasp of that harmony is severely impaired so that attempts to “decode” the spiritual import of the planets and stars is hampered by sin and idolatry. Offers a useful apologetic construct in natural revelation (consistent with his Lutheran theological commitments).

Robert A. Morey, Horoscopes and the Christian (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 1981).

Morey argues against astrology on the grounds it is occultic and therefore in conflict with Biblical revelation. Morey operates from a presuppositionalist apologetic model.

William J. Petersen, Those Curious New Cults in the 80s (New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, 1982).

Succinct argument rejecting astrology because of its occult and unbiblical ties.

Tony Sargent, “Astrology’s Rising Star: Should Christians take a dim view of it?” Christianity Today, February 4, 1983, pp.36-39.

Sargent rejects astrology as unbiblical and rejects the possibility that the Magi of the Nativity were astrologers.

Anthony P. Stone, “Astrology and Other Methods of Divination” Evangelical Review of Theology, Volume 16, no. 4 (October 1992), pp. 398-406.

Stone, who has some expertise in Vedic astrology, raises spiritual concerns about deception and idolatry in astrology and the propensity for people to opt for divinatory tools generally.

Anthony P. Stone, “Postscript: Ways of Guidance for Christians” Evangelical Review of Theology, Volume 16, no. 4 (October 1992), pp. 411-413.

This article follows on from the previous entry (and also that of Oswald Chakravarty, see above), and raises questions about how to discern God’s will and guidance, and the problems he perceives with divination. The weakness in his article is that Stone fails to account for divinatory practices like casting lots, dreams etc as used by OT saints.

Charles Strohmer, What Your Horoscope Doesn’t Tell You (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1988).

Strohmer explains why he no longer is an astrologer, and what technical and spiritual difficulties he finds as a Christian with this whole discipline. Partly polemical, partly apologetic, partly autobiographical.

Charles Strohmer, “Astrology in Perspective: Seeing the Spirits Behind the Signs” in Contend for the Faith, edited by Eric Pement (Chicago: Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, 1992), pp. 198-202.

Strohmer’s paper comprises a concise argument against practising astrology on the grounds that many astrologers are tainted with spiritualist beliefs, and thus demonic deception is an ever-present problem for those who consult astrologers.

Charles Strohmer, Wise as a Serpent, Harmless as a Dove: Understanding and Communication in the New Age World (Milton Keynes: Word Publishing, 1994).

This text is concerned with finding ways to communicate meaningfully with people who are interested in new age spirituality. Some useful discussion on the need to be understanding, sensitive and positive in one’s approach. The weakness is largely in the author’s lack of familiarity with the broad history of Christian missions to make the transition to a thoroughgoing contextual model of apologetics. Much better than most evangelical books on new age that belabour negative arguments.

Charles Strohmer, “Is There a Christian Zodiac, A Gospel in the Stars?” Christian Research Journal, 22/4 (2000), pp. 22-25 & 40-44.

Strohmer rejects the Gospel in the Stars apologetic on the grounds that it is an overstatement of the purpose of general revelation; and that the GIS theory is not really supported in Scripture. Raises some good points about weaknesses in the GIS theory. However Strohmer’s weakness is that he does not consider whether the GIS theory could be reframed in other trajectories to become a useful apologia.

J. K. Van Baalen, The Chaos of Cults: A Study in Present Day Isms (4th ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962).

Although Van Baalen rejects astrology as being incompatible with Christianity, owing to its fatalist concepts and being in conflict with Scripture; nonetheless Van Baalen is open to the possibility that the Magi were pagan astrologers who were converted to faith in Christ.

Karen Winterburn, “New Age Legitimation of Astrology” in Contend for the Faith, edited by Eric Pement (Chicago: Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, 1992), pp. 203-216.

Winterburn was an astrologer with new age commitments, and in her paper she argues that efforts to legitimate astrology in science and spiritual terms are unacceptable. Argues against astrology on the basis it is unbiblical and out of her personal experiences that spiritual deception prevails.

Gospel in the Stars Hypothesis

Richard H. Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (New York: Dover, 1963).

This is not a GIS apologetic per se, but contains a lot of technical background detail on the origins of star names, constellations etc, and the symbolic significance attributed to them from ancient cultures. This is a reprint edition of a work first released in 1899, and in view of the author’s critical remarks serves as a useful work to compare with the star-lore expounded by Rolleston (see below).

William M. Alnor, Soothsayers of the Second Advent (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1989).

Alnor’s work is a journalistic expose of the end-times claims made by various US popular preachers and writers. In the course of the expose, Alnor devotes chapter sixteen (pp. 153-162) to a critical rejection of the GIS.

William D. Banks, The Heavens Declare (Kirkwood, Missouri: Impact Christian Books, 1985).

A popular restatement of Rolleston’s GIS thesis.

E. W. Bullinger, Witness in the Stars (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1967).

A classic statement of the GIS theory first published in 1893, by an Anglican descendant of the Swiss Reformer Bullinger, and an acquaintance of Frances Rolleston.

D. James Kennedy, The Real Meaning of the Zodiac (Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Coral Ridge Ministries, 1989).

Kennedy, who is the creator of Evangelism Explosion and is senior minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian, Florida, advocates the GIS. Kennedy’s former staff worker, Hank Hanegraaff (now head of Christian Research Institute) has engendered a controversy with Kennedy over the GIS. This book does not offer any original contribution to the GIS theory, but is merely derivative in nature restating what Rolleston, Bullinger and Seiss have previously stated. So twelve chapters (based on sermons Kennedy delivered) go through the zodiacal signs, followed by a short polemic against pagan astrology as divination and satanic deception. Includes a fold-out chart of the planisphere that is borrowed with acknowledgment from Seiss.

Troy Lawrence, The Secret Message of the Zodiac (San Bernadino, California: Here’s Life Publishers, 1990).

The author has written under a pseudonym. His real name is Darrick Evenson who gained notoriety for his many “autobiographies” – as a Mormon convert from Protestantism, as an insider of New Age, as a Freemason who attacked Ankerberg/Weldon, as a former Jehovah’s Witness and ex-Bahai. Evenson (like Warnke) built a reputation based on fraud. This book defends GIS theory whilst also rejecting the spiritism and reincarnation advocated by modern astrologers.

E. W. Maunder, “Astronomy” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by James Orr, Volume 1 (Reprint of 1929 edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1980), pp. 300-316.

Maunder’s article is primarily concerned with exploring the biblical references to heavenly bodies, such as stars, constellations, sun and moon, and their significance or meaning in Scripture. Maunder presents some criticisms of Rolleston’s work.

Henry M. Morris, Many Infallible Proofs (San Diego, California: CLP Publishers, 1974).

Morris, a prominent advocate of young-earth apologetics, has composed a general text on apologetics. In Appendix B, on pages 334-343, Morris discusses, albeit with caution, “The Book of God in the Heavens”. Morris does not offer anything original but summarises what he found in Rolleston, Bullinger and Seiss.

Frances Rolleston, Mazzaroth: The Constellations Parts I –IV, Including Mizraim: Astronomy of Egypt (York Beach, Maine: Weiser Books, 2001).

Reprint of the 1865 book that first proposed the Gospel in the Stars hypothesis. Rolleston was keen on astronomy and wrote in popular UK magazines about the subject, and she was also keen on the Apocalypse, and wrote an obscure work about the Book of Revelation. Rolleston’s work is very dependent on obscure data concerning star-lore, origins of names of the zodiacal constellations, etc. Rolleston believed that Hebrew was the original language of Adam, and this is an Achilles Heel in her argument as she seeks to show from cognate languages how star names correlate to Hebrew meanings, and the Hebrew meanings are specifically defined in the GIS theory. The main difficulty with Rolleston’s thesis is that her argument is circular; she presupposes that the primordial purpose of the zodiac was to bear symbolic witness to the redeeming messiah of Israel, and then proves what she has already presupposed. Another acute problem is her assumption that the function of natural revelation can be located within the GIS theory; that is natural revelation does not simply attest to the Creator’s existence, but rather points explicitly to the content of Scripture. Her theory might be best “reframed” as a redemptive analogy to survive as an apologia of worth today.

Joseph A. Seiss, The Gospel in the Stars (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1972 [1882]).


Seiss was a Lutheran with dispensational leanings. He sums up much of what can be gleaned in Rolleston.


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