Materialist Bias?
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07-01-2014, 03:14 PM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 03:07 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 02:54 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  You stupid fucktard,
Here's fair warning that more of this puts you on ignore.


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Then after you put me on ignore, you too can start your very own thread complaining about my use of image macros.... Drinking Beverage

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07-01-2014, 03:25 PM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 03:14 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 03:07 PM)alpha male Wrote:  Here's fair warning that more of this puts you on ignore.


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Then after you put me on ignore, you too can start your very own thread complaining about my use of image macros.... Drinking Beverage

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It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


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07-01-2014, 03:26 PM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 03:14 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Then after you put me on ignore, you too can start your very own thread complaining about my use of image macros.... Drinking Beverage
Not sure what you're talking about, and I guess I won't find out. Bye-bye. Angel
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07-01-2014, 03:40 PM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 03:26 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 03:14 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Then after you put me on ignore, you too can start your very own thread complaining about my use of image macros.... Drinking Beverage
Not sure what you're talking about, and I guess I won't find out. Bye-bye. Angel




It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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07-01-2014, 06:31 PM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 02:54 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 02:19 PM)alpha male Wrote:  Here's materialist bias. Why must something be outside the Bible to count as evidence? The Bible is a collection, you know. Luke verifies that Paul suffered, unless you reject anything in the Bible out of hand.

You stupid fucktard, that's not material bias, it's demanding evidence and a lack of circular reasoning. You need sources other than the Bible to attest the validity of the Bible, and outside of things that are superficially true (Herod was King of Judea, etc.), the Bible contradicts itself and most every other contemporary account of history.

The added chapters of Matthew (because the oldest and best copies lack the infancy narrative) claim Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of Herod the King; himself reigning from 37 - 4 BC. Luke claims that Jesus was born when the first census was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria; Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed Governor of Syria by Emperor Caesar Augustus in 6 AD. The consensus of history, built upon the multiple contemporaneous accounts that confirm these dates, that they are accurate beyond a reasonable doubt. The only anomaly is the Bible, which claims that one event happened and attempts to triangulate that event in history with two other events that are a decade apart from one another.

So what is more likely, that all of the concurrent contemporaneous accounts that attest to Herod's death and Quirinius' governorship are all wrong? Or that the Bible contains a contradiction? Rejecting the infancy narratives on these grounds is not a materialist bias, it's a reasonable conclusion brought about by the evaluation of the known evidence. Only someone adhering to the dogmatic and illogical stance of biblical inerrancy would posit the later approach, and anyone taking that position it too intellectually dishonest and ignorant to bother with. Drinking Beverage



http://nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/luke/luke2.htm

Although universal registrations of Roman citizens are attested in 28 B.C., 8 B.C., and A.D. 14 and enrollments in individual provinces of those who are not Roman citizens are also attested, such a universal census of the Roman world under Caesar Augustus is unknown outside the New Testament. Moreover, there are notorious historical problems connected with Luke's dating the census when Quirinius was governor of Syria, and the various attempts to resolve the difficulties have proved unsuccessful. P. Sulpicius Quirinius became legate of the province of Syria in A.D. 6-7 when Judea was annexed to the province of Syria. At that time, a provincial census of Judea was taken up. If Quirinius had been legate of Syria previously, it would have to have been before 10 B.C. because the various legates of Syria from 10 B.C. to 4 B.C. (the death of Herod) are known, and such a dating for an earlier census under Quirinius would create additional problems for dating the beginning of Jesus' ministry (Luke 3:1, 23). A previous legateship after 4 B.C. (and before A.D. 6) would not fit with the dating of Jesus' birth in the days of Herod (Luke 1:5; Matthew 2:1). Luke may simply be combining Jesus' birth in Bethlehem with his vague recollection of a census under Quirinius (see also Acts 5:37) to underline the significance of this birth for the whole Roman world: through this child born in Bethlehem peace and salvation come to the empire.



Are we seriously on page 18 of a discussion explaining to Alpha WHY the Bible isn't a reliable source of its own???
Really?
**shakes head**


Don't most learned theists know they can't toss the bible around as their *proof* or confirmation of........... well......... anything? I was pretty convinced that was internet established YEARS ago. Common.


Call me crazy........but.........


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07-01-2014, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2014 07:42 PM by RobbyPants.)
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 02:19 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 10:57 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  The only claims of these extraordinary powers of Jesus are contained in the Bible. What exactly will you point to as evidence of these signs? The Bible? It sounds equally circular.
You miss the point - the Koran doesn't even claim miracles done by Mohammed. Miracles attributed to him grew up later, as we would expect myth to develop. Many critics assume that the gospels were based on a non-miraculous sayings source(s) predating the NT, but such haven't been found. With Islam, we have it - the Koran itself.

No, you're missing the point. You're reasoning is still circular. You're still using the Bible to prove the Bible. I don't care if the Koran contains nothing but recipes for cupcakes (it's too bad it doesn't, really); you're still using the Bible to prove the Bible.


(07-01-2014 02:19 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
Quote:What does this have to do with anything? Christianity is based on Judaism.
So are Islam and Mormonism. To the extent that one better reconciles with Judaism, it's better supported.

How? The Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah because he wasn't what the foretold.

Judaism posits a self-admittedly jealous war god who will punish people generations down the line for sins committed decades or centuries ago. Christianity posits a (usually) peace-loving savior who is the son of a (supposedly) merciful god.


(07-01-2014 02:19 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
Quote:Do we have evidence that Jesus was crucified or that Paul suffered other than from the Bible?
Here's materialist bias. Why must something be outside the Bible to count as evidence? The Bible is a collection, you know. Luke verifies that Paul suffered, unless you reject anything in the Bible out of hand.

And the Koran verifies itself. How is this different?

The fact that there are multiple authors of the Bible is meaningless. Luke wrote his work well after Paul wrote his and borrowed heavily from Mark. It's not hard to take something that someone wrote decades ago and come up with something that corroborates it. It's not like he's a first-hand witness who's brining a fresh take to things, or anything. It's not impressive at all.


(07-01-2014 02:19 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
Quote:All of the differences you point out between the religions are taken from you assuming the accounts of the Bible are accurate.
What reason do I have to think that they're invented? I have that with Islam, but not so much with the NT.

Because nothing corroborates the NT other than... the NT. Again, it's not hard for one person to take something someone else wrote decades earlier and write something based on it. Why do you assume that the Koran is invented?



Your double-standard is blatantly obvious.
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07-01-2014, 10:16 PM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 03:26 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 03:14 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Then after you put me on ignore, you too can start your very own thread complaining about my use of image macros.... Drinking Beverage
Not sure what you're talking about, and I guess I won't find out. Bye-bye. Angel

Just a reference to the last person I justifiably labeled a 'fucktard', and the subsequent fallout. Drinking Beverage

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08-01-2014, 01:40 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 07:32 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  No, you're missing the point. You're reasoning is still circular. You're still using the Bible to prove the Bible. I don't care if the Koran contains nothing but recipes for cupcakes (it's too bad it doesn't, really); you're still using the Bible to prove the Bible.
Except I'm not claiming to have proved the Bible. You don't seem able to get it through your skull that these are relative comparisons, not absolute proofs.
Quote:How? The Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah because he wasn't what the foretold.

Judaism posits a self-admittedly jealous war god who will punish people generations down the line for sins committed decades or centuries ago. Christianity posits a (usually) peace-loving savior who is the son of a (supposedly) merciful god.
In 30 years you didn't read Revelation?
Quote:And the Koran verifies itself. How is this different?

The fact that there are multiple authors of the Bible is meaningless.
You're crazy as well as biased. Historical analysis values multiple sources. You know that. Atheists in this very thread are pointing that out - they just can't come up with multiple sources on their side of Quirinius.
Quote:Luke wrote his work well after Paul wrote his and borrowed heavily from Mark. It's not hard to take something that someone wrote decades ago and come up with something that corroborates it. It's not like he's a first-hand witness who's brining a fresh take to things, or anything. It's not impressive at all.
Except at tis point we're talking about Paul's suffering, and yes, Luke was a first-hand witness to it.
Quote:Because nothing corroborates the NT other than... the NT. Again, it's not hard for one person to take something someone else wrote decades earlier and write something based on it.
Again, the NT is a collection, not a single work.
Quote:Why do you assume that the Koran is invented?
I don't assume. As explained, I rule it out based on the extraordinary evidence concept. Why do you keep saying I assume things when I've given my reasoning?
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08-01-2014, 04:19 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(08-01-2014 01:40 AM)alpha male Wrote:  
(07-01-2014 07:32 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  And the Koran verifies itself. How is this different?

The fact that there are multiple authors of the Bible is meaningless.
You're crazy as well as biased. Historical analysis values multiple sources. You know that. Atheists in this very thread are pointing that out - they just can't come up with multiple sources on their side of Quirinius.

How does it feel to be as dense as a brick?

http://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_...inius.html

Luke and Quirinius

An examination of Luke 2:1-3, and what McDowell says about it, and his sources. Other apologists mentioned. Answers from The Anchor Bible.


ETDAV (Evidence That Demands a Verdict) 4A5B3C3D1E p.71

The Reliability and Trustworthiness of Scripture

Evidence from Archaeology

Luke 2:1-3 -- archaeological support -- the Roman Census under Quirinius (Cyrenius)

McDowell states that, "It was one time conceded that Luke had entirely missed the boat in the events he portrayed as surrounding the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-3). Critics argued that there was no census, that Quirinius was not governor of Syria at that time and that everyone did not have to return to his ancestral home."

In fact, scholars at no time have asserted that there was no census in Palestine; at the time of incorporation of Judaea into the Roman Empire, there was a census for the purposes of taxation, in association with Publius Suplicius Quirinius. It took place in CE (AD) 6-7. The census and its date and Quirinius are documented in Josephus, _Antiquities_ 18.1.1.

Scholars have found no support for the following assertions of Luke: that there was a worldwide census initiated by Augustus; that a Roman census did, or could have, taken place in Judaea or Galilee before the incorporation into a Roman province, specifically before the death of Herod in 4 BCE; that Quirinius was governor of Syria at any time prior to 6 CE.

Josh McDowell is not the first to assert that archaeology has verified Luke's version of the Roman census. He makes three points. "First of all,archaeological discoveries show that the Romans had a regular enrollment of taxpayers and also held censuses every 14 years." Luke's would have corresponded to that of 9-8 B.C.

"Second, we find evidence that Quirinius was governor of Syria around 7 B.C. This assumption is based on an inscription found in Antioch ascribing to Quirinius this post. As a result of this finding, it is now supposed that that he was governor twice -- once in 7 B.C." and in 6 CE.

"Last, in regard to the practices of enrollment, a papyrus found in Egypt gives directions for the conduct of a census.

"It reads: 'Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their homes should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment and that the tilled lands may retain those belonging to them.'"

McDowell's Sources

McDowell refers to two sources.

(M1) John Elder.__Prophets, Idols and Diggers: Scientific Proof of Bible History_. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960. pp. 159-60.

This author has a major flaw as a source; he does not give footnotes, or otherwise document his assertions.

He asserts that regular enrollment of taxpayers was a feature of Roman rule,and that a census was taken every fourteen years. A large Egyptian papyrus tells of an enrollment A.D. (CE) 174-5, and refers to previous enrollments in 160-1 and 146-7. Other papyri show enrollments A.D. 20-21 and 62-3. By hypothesis, Augustus is supposed to have started regular enrollements of the empire every 14 years, beginning in either 23-22 B.C. (BCE) or 9-8 B.C.

It is Roman practice to assess taxes province by province. These undocumented papyri give the practice for Egypt. Egypt, at the time of the incorporation into the Roman world, was made an imperial province, whose revenue went to the Emperors, and not to the Senate. Any practices in Egypt would not apply elsewhere.

Taxes were collected on a province-by-province basis, either by a local tax collection franchise (the publicans), or by tribute (e.g., during Herod's kingdom). There would be no Roman-administered census in areas controlled directly by Herod or his family, as was the case in both Judaea and Galilee during the years around the birth of Jesus.

There is absolutely no support to Luke's implication of worldwide census or a empire-wide tax. In fact, it is quite contrary to well-documented practice.

(T1) J.P.V.D. Balsdon. _Rome: The Story of an Empire_. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970.

Balsdon describes the organization of the Empire, in terms of Public provinces and Imperial provinces. Egypt is a special case. Judaea became an imperial equestian province in 6 CE.

(T2) A. H. M. Jones. _The Roman Economy: Studies in Ancient Economic and Administrative History_. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974. Reference to Luke 2 on p. 165, n. 81.

Luke is taken as evidence of taxation-related censuses, " ... (though his date is wrong, and he is mistaken, if he implies that the census was taken everywhere at the same time; Suidas s.v. apographe is worthless)."

Jones emphasizes that the 14 year tax cycles in Egypt does not apply to other provinces. Each province had a separate tax administration, often taxing different things, or at different rates.

Similarly, Elder mentions to have been found in Antioch in Southern Galatia an inscription uncovered in 1912 (by who?) which bears the name of Quirinius, whose date is fixed between 10 and 7 B.C. He is referred to as Prefect, and has been elected to the honorary post of duumvir, or magistrate, in recognition of his victory over the Hamonades.

Southern Galatia is not in Syria, but in Asia Minor. The Roman province of Galatia is separated from that of Syria by the province of Cilicia (and Capadocia, which did not become a province until 17 CE). Syria, in turn, separated Cilicia from the (then) Kingdom of Judaea (map, Balsdon, p. 72-3).

It is not clear to which inscription Elder is referring. I will now turn to the Anchor Bible entry on Luke 2:1-3, which has more complete information on Quirinius.

(T3) Fitzmyer, Joseph A. _Anchor Bible: The Gospel According To Luke I-IX_, (vol. 6 of N.T. series). Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981, p. 393, 399-407.

"Publius Suplicius Quirinius' career is fairly well known and defies all attempts either to attribute to him two censuses in Judaea or to date the start of his legateship of Syria to any other period than A.D. 6-7; the only thing is this regard that is uncertain is how long his legateship lasted."

Two Latin inscriptions mention Quirinius. One confirms his legateship in Syria, and his census in Syria; the other, set up in Pisidian Antioch, mentions his election as high commissioner (duovir) either during his Homonadensian campaign or as advisor to Gaius Caesar (Dessau, ILS sect. 2683, sects. 9502-9503).

The first confirms no earlier census, but refers to the known one in 6 CE. The second inscription is from Pisidian Antioch, which is at least 300 miles from Syria.

A last paragraph in John Elder's book cites another papyrus concerning the conduct of a census. This is the one quoted by McDowell, above.

Although there is no reference in the text, this appears to be London Papyrus 904 (from A.D. 104), an edict of G. Vibius Maximus. It asks people to return to their *current* place of residence to enroll. The fantastic element of Luke's census is the implication that Joseph, being of the family of David, had to return to Bethlehem, his supposed ancestor. We have no idea of the residence of this "royal line" since the time of David; Jesus' ancestors may not have resided at Bethlehem for a thousand years. This papyrus, describing the practices of the census in Egypt, may have little bearing on customs in Syria and Judaea.

Since there are no footnotes, none of the assertions can be checked, and for the use of scholarship, Elder's book is useless.

(M2) Joseph P. Free. _Archaeology and Bible History_. Revised and expanded by Howard F. Vos. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, revised ed., 1992. Earlier eds., 1950, 1962, 1969. Luke 2 material on pp. 242-3 in this ed.

I've listed this edition because it was the one available in the UCLA library, and as a new edition, it should contain any updates from the last few years.

The discovery of papyri supporting a census in 9-6 B.C. is referred to the following:

(F1) Camden M. Cobern. _New Archaeological Discoveries_, 9th ed. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1929, pp. 46-47; also p. 538.

(F2) Jack Finegan. _Light from the Ancient Past_. 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1959, p. 260.

Free makes assertions, not referenced, that an inscription found at Rome in 1828 indicated that Cyrenius (Quirinius) had been governor twice; and that shortly before World War I, Ramsay found a monument in Asia Minor likewise implying two governorships for Cyrenius. Without references, it is not clear which inscriptions are concerned. The inscription is Pisidian Antioch has already been discussed. The other may be the Tivoli (= Tiburtum?) inscription.

According to the Anchor Bible (p.403), the beginning of the Tivoli inscription (Dessau, ILS sect. 918) is lost, and therefore the name of the person honored are lost. There is no evidence it refers to Quirinius, and it has often been ascribed to others.

The Tivoli inscription has nevertheless been cited to support the view that a second legateship for Quirinius would have been possible. This is actually a mistranslation; properly, it should say that the person, being a legate of Augustus for the second time, "he received Syria and Phoenicia." That is, the person performed public service twice, and the last time, he was legate to Syria (Anchor Bible, p. 403).

It is unheard of that a proconsul would become a legate of the emperor twice in the same province (see J. G. C. Anderson, _Cambridge Ancient History_ 10 [1934] 878; R. Syme, "Titulus Tiburtinus," 590).

Finally, Free refers to the edict in A.D. 104 that showed that people were to return to their ancestral homes. Reference:

(F3) Adolf Deissmann. _Light from the Ancient Past_. New York: Harper & Bros., 1922, p. 271.

However, this work is not listed in the catalog of either the UCLA library, or in the Library of Congress system (Marvel). This book, originally printed in German, has gone through a number of editions. Free and Vos apparently have made a scribal error. I suspect that the actual entry should read:

(F3A) Gustav Adolf Deissmann. _Light from the Ancient East: The New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Greco-Roman World_. Rev. ed. New York: George H. Doran, 1927.

Nevertheless, this work is also not in the UCLA library, and I have been unable to obtain it. Yet another work by Adolf Deissmann, _New Light on the New Testament_, (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908) does not contain a reference to Quirinius or Cyrenius.

The papyrus for 104 CE is apparently the London papyrus, quoted and analyzed above.

F. F. Bruce

Trying to make a new start, I turn to another Christian apologist, who is often quoted by McDowell, but not in this regard:

(B) F. F. Bruce, _The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?_. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1943; Fifth revised ed., pp. 86-87.

Bruce, who had been a professor of Biblical Exegesis at the University of Manchester, is more informative on the subject of Luke, Quirinius, and Roman practice. Here we are given the citation from Josephus (_Antiquities 18.1.1) that Quirinius was imperial legate in Syria in A.D. (CE) 6, and who had supervised the enrolment mentioned in Acts 5:37, which provoked the insurrection led by Judas of Galilee. He agrees that Quirinius' previous service was in Galatia, not Syria. Bruce also 'saves' Luke's accuracy, but some of the arguments he uses are different.

By the way, Josephus makes it clear that upon the banishment of Archelaus, Judaea for the first time became part of the Roman province of Syria, and that Cyrenius (Quirinius) is the very first Roman governor over Judaea. Cyrenius had occupied all the other magistracies, was elected consul, and then was sent out as a governor of a province. The enrollment and taxation was occasioned by the incorporation. The Jews resented being taxed directly by Romans for the first time.

Bruce cites Josephus to show that Augustus treated Herod more as a subject than as a friend (Antiquities 16.9.3), and that Judaea took an oath of allegiance to Augustus as well as to Herod (Antiquities 17.2.4). Finally, it is supposed that a census was sometimes imposed on a client kingdom, as it was on Antiochus in eastern Asia Minor (Tacitus, Annals 6.41).

Nothing in either passage in Josephus mentions taxation or the census. The oath mentioned seems to have been an ad hoc assurance from Herod to Augustus of the goodwill of the Jews. The Tacitus passage refers to the Clitae, a tribe which was forced to submit an accounting of its revenue, and to submit to tribute. If it submitted to tribute, it was not subject to direct taxation. No mention is made of a census.

Bruce recognizes that Quirinius' documented governorship of Syria began in CE 6. He argues, however, that Quirinius may have had a kind of governorship authority, or greater command jurisdiction over Syria, perhaps as part of his Homanadensian campaign, sometime between 12 and 6 BCE.

The problem is that we have a fairly complete list of Roman governors of Syria. The known legates of the province of Syria (Fitzmyer, Anchor Bible, p. 403):



M. Agrippa 23-23 B.C.
M. Titius ca. 10 B.C.
S. Sentius Saturninus 9-6 B.C.
P. Quintilius Varus 6-4 B.C.
C. Caesar 1 B.C.-A.D. 4 (?)
L. Volusius Saturninus A.D. 4-5
P. Suplicius Quirinius A.D. 6-7 (or later)
Q. Caecilius Creticus Silanus A.D. 12-17


Bruce suggests that Tertullian may be right when he suggests that Saturninus was actually governor at the time of the census at the time of Jesus' birth (Bruce, p. 87).
Tertullian (_Adv. Marc._ 4.19,10) relates the birth of Jesus to a census taken up under S. Sentius Saturninus. "It is known that censuses were taken in Augustus' reign at that time in Judaea by Sentius Saturnius." We don't know how Tertullian got his information, and whether it relates at all to Luke 2. Tertullian also gives a different date for Jesus' birth elsewhere, confusing the matter further (Anchor Bible, p. 404).

Thus, Bruce and some other Christian apologists suppose that Quirinius either had some sort of greater jurisdiction slopping over from Pisidia/Cilicia/Galatia, into the province of Syria, actually controlled by Saturninus, or a joint governorship with Saturninus. This authority would include the authority to run a census in Judaea, which at that time not a part of the empire.

There is no evidence for either of these suppositions. The Senate drew precise lines for the Provincia of its commanders (remember Caesar crossing the Rubicon; that river was the limit of his Provincia). For Imperial territory, Augustus would have been very wary of granting expanded powers over several provinces to any legate, much less appointing the equivalent of an Eastern Emperor at this date.

Other Christian Apologists

(E) Easton Bible Dictionary (?)

(HYPERTEXT LINK TO ENTRY "Cyrenius" in Christian Classics Library)

For some reason, the entry refers to the Latin name as Quirinus, not Quirinius. It asserts that "recent historical investigation has proved that Quirinus [sic] was governor of Cilicia, which was annexed to Syria at the time of our Lord's birth." He was appointed to the governorship of Syria again ten years later. No references are given to historical sources.

There is no justification to suppose that the Roman province of Cilicia, which stretched along the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia (today's Asia Minor), was ever incorporated into Syria, or vice versa. See Balsdon, above, for maps and charts of the provinces. Cilicia retained independence in the Empire much later.

The Answer: What was Luke Thinking?

Fitzmyer, in the _Anchor Bible_, surveys the wreckage of all the attempts to save the accuracy of Luke. All of the approaches are failures.

The answer seems to be that Luke, in seeking to connect his story of the coming of a new savior with the ruler of the known world, Augustus, remembered the upset at both the death of Herod (4 BCE), and the exile of Archelaus and the incorporation of Judaea into the empire (CE 6). Civil disturbances broke out at both times. Luke conflated the two eras, and supposed that Quirinius was governor near the death of Herod, erasing ten years.

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08-01-2014, 04:28 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius

The Census of Quirinius refers to the enrollment of the Roman provinces of Syria and Judaea for tax purposes taken in the year 6/7. The Census was taken during the reign of Augustus (27 BCE – CE 14), when Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria, after the banishment of Herod Archelaus from the Tetrarchy of Judea and the imposition of direct Roman rule.[1] The Gospel of Luke account of the birth of Jesus connects it to this census.

The Census

The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that in the year 6–7,[2] after the exile of Herod Archelaus (one of the sons and successors of Herod the Great), Quirinius (in Greek, Κυρήνιος, sometimes transliterated Cyrenius), a Roman senator, became governor (Legatus) of Syria, while an equestrian assistant named Coponius was assigned as the first governor (Prefect) of the newly created Iudaea Province. These governors were assigned to conduct a tax census for the Emperor in Syria and Iudaea.[3]

Now Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to be a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance. Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus's money;

Josephus links the census to an uprising led by Judas of Galilee. The most likely cause was the association between censuses and taxation, although there may have been religious objections stemming from a biblical account of Satan inciting King David to take a census.[4] Although Josephus implies the uprising had little immediate success, he regarded their actions as the beginning of a Zealot movement that encouraged armed resistance to the Roman empire, culminating eventually in the First Jewish-Roman War.[5]

The leaders of the uprising claimed that the census and taxation associated with it were tantamount to slavery.[6] It is unclear as to whether this was based on the fact that for the first time in many years they were to pay taxes to a foreign power, or simply that they feared the tax burden would be too high, although there has been debate about whether this was higher under the Romans than it had been under Herod.[7]

However, it was not unusual for the Roman census process to provoke resistance; a provincial census in the year 10 caused an uprising in Pannonia, and the revolt of Arminius may have been caused by Varus’ decision to start taxing the region in 9, even though the area had been under Roman rule since 12 BCE.[8] The earliest such census was taken in Gaul in 27 BCE; during the reign of Augustus, the imposition of the census provoked disturbances and resistance.[9] In 36, the tribe of the Clitae, subjects of Archelaus of Cappadocia, objected to attempts by him to impose a Roman-type census on them for the purpose of paying tribute, and the ensuing revolt had to be put down by a force sent by the governor of Syria.[10]

From regular censuses carried out in Egypt, something is known of how Roman provincial (as opposed to earlier, Empire-wide censuses of Roman citizens) censuses were carried out: the head of each household, usually the eldest male, had to provide details of his property and who lived on it, including family members, employees, lodgers and slaves. The name, age and relationship to the head of the household was provided.[11]




The Gospel of Luke

See also: Chronology of Jesus and Nativity of Jesus

The first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke indicate the birth of Jesus took place at the time of the census:

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. (Luke 2:1–7—NRSV)

The passage describes how Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary, travel from their home in Nazareth, in Galilee, to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born. This explains how Jesus, a Galilean, could have been born in Bethlehem in Judea, the city of King David. However, this passage has long been considered problematic by Biblical scholars, since it places the birth of Jesus around the time of the census in 6/7, whereas both this Gospel and the Gospel of Matthew, which makes no mention of the census, indicate a birth in the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 BCE, at least ten years earlier.[12] In addition, no historical sources mention a census of the Roman world which would cover the entire population. Those of Augustus covered Roman citizens only,[13] and it was not the practice in Roman censuses to require people to return to their ancestral homes.[14][15][16][17][18] James Dunn wrote: "the idea of a census requiring individuals to move to the native town of long dead ancestors is hard to credit".[19] E. P. Sanders points out that it would have been the practice for the census-takers, not the taxed, to travel, and that Joseph, resident in Galilee, would not have been covered by a census in Judaea.[20]

Traditionally, biblical scholars tried to suggest ways of reconciling the two accounts, many of which involve making assumptions about the historical evidence: that Josephus was incorrect, or the text had been corrupted, and the census was actually conducted by one of the governors of Herod's time, such as Gaius Sentius Saturninus or Publius Quinctilius Varus;[21][22] that there were two separate events, either a decree followed by a census ten years later, or a census followed by an imposition of tax ten years later;[23][24] that the words of Luke could be interpreted to mean that the census had been carried out before Quirinius was governor;[25][26] or that he had carried out an earlier census, either as governor or in a subordinate role.[27][28][29][30]

In 1886, however, the theologian Emil Schürer, in his monumental study, Geschichte des judischen Volks im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ), closely criticised the traditional view. He raised five points which showed, he believed, that the Luke account could not be historically accurate: (1) nothing is known in history of a general census by Augustus; (2) in a Roman census Joseph would not have had to travel to Bethlehem, and Mary would not have had to travel at all; (3) no Roman census would have been made in Judea during the reign of Herod; (4) Josephus records no such census, and it would have been a notable innovation; (5) Quirinius was not governor of Syria until long after the reign of Herod.[31] The suggested alternative translations have been described as "implausible" [32] and "almost impossible".[33]

Most modern scholars explain the disparity as an error on the part of the author of the Gospel, [34][35] concluding that he was more concerned with creating a symbolic narrative than a historical account,[36] and was either unaware of, or indifferent to,[37] the chronological difficulty. In The Birth of the Messiah (1977), a detailed study of the infancy narratives of Jesus, the American scholar Raymond E. Brown concluded that "this information is dubious on almost every score, despite the elaborate attempts by scholars to defend Lucan accuracy."[38] W. D. Davies and E. P. Sanders ascribe this to simple error: “on many points, especially about Jesus’ early life, the evangelists were ignorant … they simply did not know, and, guided by rumour, hope or supposition, did the best they could”.[39] Fergus Millar suggests that Luke's narrative was a construct designed to connect Jesus with the house of David.[40]

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