The following argument is made:

1. There has been a widespread and persistent interest in an astronomical explanation of the Star of Bethlehem as a single, brilliant physical object (e.g., Venus) among the general public (in both England and America) for more than a century and a half. This fascination is reflected in artwork as well as questions posed to astronomers.

2. The astronomical community has frequently referenced this interest in print articles that are available to the general public.

3. Tolkien paralleled this widespread iconography in his artwork and literary texts.

4. Tolkien’s decades-long revisions for the character of Eärendil as the Evening/Morning Star (Venus) increasingly align the character with a brilliant celestial sign of hope and intentional, directional travel towards a promised end, therefore whether intentionally or (perhaps more likely) unconsciously aligning it with the popular iconography of the Star of Bethlehem.


An expanded version of a presentation made at the 2023 University of Vermont Tolkien Conference.



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