Rather than accept the implausibilities in setting Herod's death in 1 BC, they have held to the traditional date, 4 BC or possibly 5 BC. Tertullian conveniently confirms this conclusion by adding that Christ's birth was 28 years after the death of Cleopatra and fifteen years before the death of Augustus.Those who have in recent years published an endorsement of the traditional date include Timothy D. Cleopatra died in August 30 BC, and Augustus died in August AD 14.One tradition places Jesus' birth on 6 January, another on the twenty-fifth of a month.
Agreement would almost certainly fail if any one of the four time markers was erroneous when Josephus set it down, or if any was corrupted in later manuscripts. Both Irenaeus and Tertullian assign Jesus' birth to the forty-first year of Augustus.
For these and other reasons discussed in a companion article, Filmer's attempt to revise Herodian chronology has left many scholars unconvinced. If this date presumes that the reign of Augustus began when he was elevated to consulship in August 43 BC, the year intended is 2 BC.
It is significant that few of the patristic writers who furnish the year of Christ's birth also give us the calendar date, yet the universal experience of mankind is that the calendar date is better remembered by oral tradition.
During a person's lifetime, it provides an occasion every year for celebration and age adjustment.
Josephus places Herod's death between a lunar eclipse and the Feast of Passover. It is impossible from our perspective to set dogmatic lower limits.