[XTalk] Re: The census of Quirinius: Carlson's rendering of Lk. 2.2
--- In email@example.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
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