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Re: Census obsession

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    I wrote:. ... Galilean--for ... The rebellion of Judas the Galilean marked the beginning of the troubles in Galilee and in Judea generally. This agitation was
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 1999
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      I wrote:.

      >>Far from taking a literalist
      >>position, I argued that Luke may have made been contrasting the census
      >>obedience of Jesus' family with the census revolt of Judas the
      >>the benefit of his readership.
      >If you're not being literalist here, Jan, the argument has no value at all
      >as far as I can see. You are trying to create some complex motivation for
      >using the census that ignores the obvious reason for its use found in the
      >text and that has no pointers for such a "hidden" significance. In short,
      >this seems your speculation and not derived in any way from the text.

      The rebellion of Judas the Galilean marked the beginning of the troubles in
      Galilee and in Judea generally. This agitation was specifically anti-Roman;
      the fuse that ignited it was the census of Quirinus. Since Jesus' parents
      were residents of Galilee and Jesus was born, in the GLuke version, at the
      time of the census/rebellion, it is reasonable to suppose that the author of
      GLuke wanted to remove any suspicion that Jesus' family had any sympathies
      with the rebels. The best way to accomplish that would be to portray them as
      obediently participating in the census. That's not a hidden significance in
      my opinion, but an overt one. As to the census serving as the vehicle to
      bring Jesus' family to Bethlehem, I would say that it is a poor vehicle
      indeed. Firstly, the requirement to be counted in one's ancestral town seems
      illogical if the census is to be of use for purposes of tax collection.
      Secondly, does Luke really need the census to bring the family to Bethlehem?
      He could have had them visit the Temple at Passover and stop over to see
      relatives in Bethlehem, for instance. The more likely reason that he chose
      the census to bring them to Bethlehem is so he could flash their credentials
      as obedient subjects of Augustus.
      I wrote:
      >>...the presumed obedience of Jesus' family to a Roman edict that other
      >>particularly Galilean Jews, violently rejected might have been thought
      >>helpful by the author of GLuke and Acts in the interest of making Jesus a
      >>respectable figure in Roman eyes.

      >(That the parents are represented as good citizens -- in Roman terms -- may
      >be conscious: I don't know, but it's reasonable.)
      Chances are that it was. After all, had the author of GLuke merely stated
      that Jesus' parents were loyal subjects of the Empire, it would not have
      been nearly as effective as portraying them as demonstrating their loyalty
      in a practical way. And let us keep in mind that, in the face Judas'
      rebellion, the loyalty of any Galilean at the time of the Quirinus census
      was suspect.


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