EWTN Catholic Q&A
Jesus' birth
Question from Angela LeClair on 03-16-2013:

What year was Jesus born? We are debating between 33 B.C. and 1 A.D.

Answer by Judie Brown on 03-19-2013:


ZENIT news published an article in connection with the beginning of the JUBILEE year, 2000, http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0004.html. The title is "In What year was Christ Actually Born?

This is part of the article:

ROME, DEC 14 (ZENIT) - While Jubilee celebrations started with the opening of the Holy Door on December 24, 1999 and ended with its closing on January 6, 2000, it is less clear whether this is really the 2000th anniversary of Christ's birth.

When Dionysius Exiguus computed the date of Christ's birth in the Middle Ages, he named the year of the Nativity 1 A.D., and stated that Jesus' birthdate was December 25 of that year. The year immediately before this was the year 1 B.C. Whether from mathematical ignorance or design, he did not include a year zero.