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

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  • RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 12, 2006
      <<<<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).>>

      I'm sure that you're right about Piso, and the inscription is of course
      partial, with the name missing. I'm no Latin expert, and perhaps someone can
      confirm this, but I believe that '...legatus pr pr divi Augusti iterum Syriam et
      Phoenicen optinuit' actually refers to his 'serving again as a legate of the
      divine Augustus', ie he had served as a legate elsewhere in the past. I'm not
      sure whether or not this would fit Piso.

      There is a further problem in that the campaign against the Homonadenses
      was carried out by P Quintillius (or Quinctillius) Varus, who was governor
      immediately after Herod the Great's death, and was responsible for suppressing
      a Jewish uprising at that time. Luke's 'Quirinius', on the other hand,
      appears to be P Sulpicius Quirinius, the legate who is recorded by Josephus as
      having carried out a census at the time of the establishment of the Province of
      Judea, after the exile of Archelaus in 6 AD.

      With apologies for the late reply.


      Robert Brenchley

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