How Ancient Astrology is a Missing Key to Understanding Early Christianity

Too long the origins of early Christianity and its development in late Roman antiquity has focused on ancient texts–to the neglect of important material evidence, particularly the considerable numismatic evidence of the period–and its relationship to astrological beliefs.

The view arose that one’s fortune or destiny was determined by the position of the stars at birth; by a knowledge of the stars, or astrology (Greek aster, “star”), one could learn about his or her fate. The study of astrology was extremely widespread in the Hellenistic world, affecting almost every religion or religious philosophy.

In this fascinating one hour lecture independent researcher and numismatic expert David Wray offers an overview of the ways in which coins, astrology, Hellenistic religions, including gnosticism, politics, and science were all shaped and influenced by astrological and cosmological perceptions. Although often unacknowledged, these realities lie behind many of our central New Testament texts and provide exciting new insights on the rise and development of early Christianity.

David Wray’s 2012 book, The Secret roots of Christianity: Decoding Religious History with Symbols on Ancient Coins, provides a full account of this much neglected aspect of the study of Christian Origins. I highly recommend it as an essential resource.

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