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Re: [XTalk] Re: The census of Quirinius: Carlson's rendering of Lk. 2.2

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  • Jack Kilmon
    ... From: Ken Olson To: Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 4:19 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re: The census
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 3, 2006
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Ken Olson" <kenolson101@...>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 4:19 PM
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re: The census of Quirinius: Carlson's rendering of Lk.
      2.2


      > On 3 September, David Hindley wrote:
      >
      >>>Can I ask where you intend to go with the answer? Doe you have a
      > hypothesis in development that this solution might support or shoot
      > down?>>
      >
      > No, new hypothesis from me. I just don't think the RSV is so bad here.
      > Sorry, I haven't gotten around to responding to Stephen's last post yet.
      >
      >>>While I have seen Stephen's solution on his site before, I've not
      > allowed myself to be drawn into the debate, as it tends to devolve
      > into tit for tat bickering, as you noted on the Internet Infidels
      > site.>>
      >
      > Indeed.
      >
      >>>I did open the link to Stephen's site that you provided, and noted he
      > explained that, "... though Joseph's travel to Bethlehem was
      > occasioned by Augustus's decree (i.e. the registration of 8 BC), the
      > most important registration from Augustus's policies was the one that
      > took place when Quirinius was governor (and that led to the revolts
      > in Galilee). Thus Luke is distinguishing the registration that Joseph
      > obeyed from that most prominent one in AD 6, not confusing it."<<
      >
      > My point was that there is nothing in the language that *need* be taken as
      > distiguishing the census of Quirinius from the census Joseph took part in.
      > I think that is true even if we were to adopt Stephen's translation of
      > 2.2.
      > The fact that Luke uses AUTH (this, this one) and keeps the noun in the
      > nominative in 2.2 suggest he is not drawing a distinction between that
      > verse
      > and what he has said before. I think Stephen's interpretation would
      > require
      > that what Quirinius did and what Joseph responded to are not different
      > registrations, but different parts of the same registration instituted by
      > Augustus.


      The registration and census of 6 CE is too late to be connected with the
      birth of Jesus. Additionally, the registration of 6 CE did not include the
      Galilee. This has long been a stumbling block in the determination of the
      date of Jesus' birth and many scholars merely assumed that Luke had made a
      mistake. In 1912, however, the discovery by W. M. Ramsey of a fragmentary
      inscription at Antioch of Pisidia arguably established Quirinius was in
      Syria on a previous occasion. (1) His role was more military to lead a
      campaign against the Homanadenses, a tribe in the Taurus Mountains. This is
      confirmed by Tacitus. This means that Quirinius would have established a
      seat of government in Syria, including Palestine, from the years 10 to 7
      BCE. In this position he would have been responsible for the census
      mentioned by Luke. This census of 7 BCE would therefore have been the
      "first" census taken when Cyrenius was governor (Luke 2:2) and the
      historically documented census of 6/7 CE was really the second. There is
      further evidence of this first census of 7 BCE in the writings of Tertullian
      who records the census "taken in Judea by Sentius Saturninus." (2) C.
      Sentius Saturninus was Legate of Syria from 9 to 6 BCE. Another inscription,
      the Lapis Tiburtinus, was found in 1764 near Tivoli (Tibur). Composed after
      14 CE, the inscription names an unknown personage who was legate of Syria
      twice. The man is described as having been victorious in war. There is
      considerable dissension among scholars as to whether the unnamed person is
      Quirinius. I think it is more likely that it does indeed refer to the famous
      consul and soldier.

      Scholars have debated about the historicity of this first census
      since there is no record of it in the Roman archives. Their chief argument
      is that Augustus would not have imposed a census for the purpose of taxation
      in the kingdom of a client king like Herod. Herod had his own tax collectors
      and paid tribute to Rome from the proceeds. They further pose that the
      census in 6 CE was imposed because Herod's nutty son Archelaus had been
      deposed and Judea was placed under direct Roman rule. These are good
      arguments.

      Some scholars argue that the early census was invented to support a
      mythological birth in Bethlehem in support of Messianic prophecy. As for the
      early census, I am inclined to believe Luke and Tertullian (even though
      Tertullian isn't one of my favorite characters). I can think of a number of
      reasons based on the history of the time. Lack of records is not evidence
      for or against an historical event. Records are lost and destroyed,
      particularly those that are two millennia old. Rome burned in 64 CE and
      there have been numerous conflagrations and sackings of the city over the
      centuries. Could Augustus had deviated from convention and imposed a census
      in Syria/Palestine in 6 B.C.E? Of course he could. He was the Emperor. Herod
      the Great was ill and, by all accounts of the time, nuttier than a
      fruitcake. He who had once been an able and effective administrator and
      builder, was now paranoid and vicious. He had murdered most of his family,
      including his sons and the wife he loved most. The joke in the Roman court
      by Caesar himself was that one was safer being Herod's pig than Herod's son.
      Josephus records in Antiquities of the Jews, XVI, ix 3 that Augustus was
      furious with Herod in 8 BCE and threatened to treat him no longer as a
      friend (Client), but as a subject (subject to taxes). This is the
      registration of Luke, IMO.

      I think it likely that Augustus, scandalized by Herod's outrageous
      reputation and increasing madness, began the movement toward making Judea a
      prefecture in 8 BCE and part of that preparation was a registration. Caesar
      could have delayed actual imposition of direct rule in deference to Herod's
      ill health and the hope that his successor would not be as loony toony. When
      Herod died and Archelaus turned out to be crazier than his father, Augustus
      threw in the towel (or Toga) and made Palestine a prefecture. He sent
      Quirinius as Legatus (a second time) and Coponius as the first prefect. The
      census of 6 CE therefore becomes the first census under direct Roman rule
      and fell in schedule with the Roman census on a 14 year rotation. The census
      of Jesus' birth, perhaps only a registration, became lost in the archives.
      In this scenario, it would make sense to send Quirinius back as Legatus
      since he presided under the previous registration. Quirinius was no minor
      functionary. He was a Roman senator of the Equestrian order and had been
      consul since 12 BCE. He had won an insignia of triumph for the Homanadensian
      war and had accompanied Caesar to Armenia in 3 CE. He died in 21 CE.(3)
      Service in Palestine was not considered "prime duty" by Roman functionaries
      but the governorship of Syria was one of the most important positions in the
      Empire. The post was always given to the most respected and capable of
      Imperial functionaries chosen from the elite of Roman aristocracy. The
      Syrian Legatus was the commander-in chief of the entire Roman East and
      responsible for the Parthian border. I believe this Roman soldier, senator
      and administrator, who had already served Caesar well, returned to Syria as
      a personal favor for his emperor/friend.


      [1] Emil Shurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ.
      1896., Revised and edited by Geza Vermes, 1979
      [2] Tertullian, Against Marcion, iv, 19

      Jack Kilmon
      San Antonio, TX
    • David C. Hindley
      ...
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 6, 2006
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        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@...> wrote:

        <<In 1912, however, the discovery by W. M. Ramsey of a fragmentary
        inscription at Antioch of Pisidia arguably established Quirinius was
        in Syria on a previous occasion. (1) His role was more military to
        lead a campaign against the Homanadenses, a tribe in the Taurus
        Mountains. This is confirmed by Tacitus. This means that Quirinius
        would have established a seat of government in Syria, including
        Palestine, from the years 10 to 7 BCE. In this position he would have
        been responsible for the census mentioned by Luke. This census of 7
        BCE would therefore have been the "first" census taken when Cyrenius
        was governor (Luke 2:2) and the historically documented census of 6/7
        CE was really the second. There is further evidence of this first
        census of 7 BCE in the writings of Tertullian who records the
        census "taken in Judea by Sentius Saturninus." (2) C. Sentius
        Saturninus was Legate of Syria from 9 to 6 BCE. Another inscription,
        the Lapis Tiburtinus, was found in 1764 near Tivoli (Tibur). Composed
        after 14 CE, the inscription names an unknown personage who was
        legate of Syria twice. The man is described as having been victorious
        in war. There is considerable dissension among scholars as to whether
        the unnamed person is Quirinius. I think it is more likely that it
        does indeed refer to the famous consul and soldier.>>

        I am not so sure I want to postulate a hypothetical "first"
        governorship of Syria by Quirinius when there is a very real L.
        Calpurnius Piso who better fits the wording of the inscription in
        question (ILS 918).

        <<... Josephus records in Antiquities of the Jews, XVI, ix 3 that
        Augustus was furious with Herod in 8 BCE and threatened to treat him
        no longer as a friend (Client), but as a subject (subject to taxes).
        This is the registration of Luke, IMO.>>

        Just keep in mind that he is said to have "threatened" to, not to
        actually have, demote Herod. Besides, there is no histocical evidence
        that any such "registration" (whatever meaning one attaches to the
        original word involved) ever took place.

        Those 14 year cycles, you certainly know, do not always start in
        synch with one another, but were probably running independently of
        one another, each one starting at whatever date the region was
        annexed as a province. Egypt, where most of our data for 14 year
        cycles is found, technically wasn't even a province, but the
        emperor's personal property.

        In any event, fourteen years was the age males in most taxed regions
        were eligible for poll tax, making it a convenient administrative
        period to confirm that each new crop of taxpayers has been properly
        recorded by the local authorities as they came of age after the
        original registration.

        That being said, I seem to also remember reading (in Schurer?) that
        there is evidence that other periods were used in other places of the
        world.

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, OH
        USA
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