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Old 07-20-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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In recent threads a few asked "What issues are there in the bible if any?"

I've responded with the example of Caesar Augustus's census. The question has yet to be answered. So I'll bring it up again.

Quote:
There is no extra biblical evidence supporting the mass migration required for Caesar's Census; which got Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Yes, Caesar had three censuses; however, none mention a mass migration in which one had to return to the land of their ancestors. You would imagine that such an event would be found somewhere besides the bible.

In addition, it would have been extremely impractical to hold a census as described in the Bible. The Roman Empire's transportation system was inadequate to handle a flow of people that massive. The entire empire would be largely shut down for many months while people were returning to their home towns. Even today, with airplanes, trains, buses and automobiles, its impracticability still holds.

The time frame of the census lasted months. We have a very good history of Caesar's rule and yet this is not mentioned? This is a BIG problem.
I would like to have a well thought out discussion on this. Thank you.

Last edited by Ajeck; 07-20-2009 at 12:34 PM..
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Wasn't it supposedly Augustus Caesar?
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:30 PM
 
152 posts, read 199,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullback32 View Post
Wasn't it supposedly Augustus Caesar?
You are right. I will fix that in my post. It was a brain fart... thanks for correcting me!
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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There is a bit of a problem with the census timing in relationship to the birth if Jesus. According to Augustus Caesar himself, he ordered three wide-spread censuses: one in 28 BCE, one in 8 BCE and one in 14 CE (These are from his notes in his Res Gestae - The Deeds of Augustus). These are the only three that we know of. I am fairly sure that Augustus Caesar would have mentioned others had he ordered them. So, there was no world wide census taken at the time.

Other problems with this census was that while Josephus does mention a census in Judea in 6 CE, it was only a local census, not one that would enable "all the world to be taxed." Its purpose was to count the male population so that they could be taxed at a later time. And it triggered a major uprising among the Jews, who regarded a census as against scripture and the will of God. He does not refer to an earlier census and poll tax.

At the time of Jesus' birth, the Jews were still subject to King Herod. Since Palestine was a client kingdom of Rome, only the king had powers of taxation in the land. It was only in areas that were operated under direct Roman rule that Caesar Augustus could have taxed the citizens directly. Additionally, there is no record of a mass migration of adults to their ancestral cities in order to be registered.

Another issue is that Luke 1:5 states that Jesus was born when Herod was King of Judea. Luke 2:2 states that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (a.k.a. Quirinius) was also governor of Syria. This appears to be an impossibility. The historical record shows that Herod was king from 37 until his death in 4 BCE. Quirinius was not governor of Syria at any time during this period. He came to power in 6 CE.

Lastly, Matthew 2:16 describes King Herod's order that all of the boy infants who had not reached their second birthday in Bethlehem and vicinity were to be murdered. The date of that mass murder would give an approximate idea of Jesus' birth. Unfortunately for historians the killings never appeared to have happened. If the children were killed, then historians of the era would have been certain to have recorded the event. No such record exists. Josephus wrote in great detail about even minor actions and decisions of Herod. The mass murder was never mentioned.

REF: Timing, and prophecy of Jesus' birth

Last edited by Fullback32; 07-20-2009 at 01:54 PM..
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Old 07-20-2009, 03:42 PM
 
152 posts, read 199,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullback32 View Post
There is a bit of a problem with the census timing in relationship to the birth if Jesus. According to Augustus Caesar himself, he ordered three wide-spread censuses: one in 28 BCE, one in 8 BCE and one in 14 CE (These are from his notes in his Res Gestae - The Deeds of Augustus). These are the only three that we know of. I am fairly sure that Augustus Caesar would have mentioned others had he ordered them. So, there was no world wide census taken at the time.

Other problems with this census was that while Josephus does mention a census in Judea in 6 CE, it was only a local census, not one that would enable "all the world to be taxed." Its purpose was to count the male population so that they could be taxed at a later time. And it triggered a major uprising among the Jews, who regarded a census as against scripture and the will of God. He does not refer to an earlier census and poll tax.

At the time of Jesus' birth, the Jews were still subject to King Herod. Since Palestine was a client kingdom of Rome, only the king had powers of taxation in the land. It was only in areas that were operated under direct Roman rule that Caesar Augustus could have taxed the citizens directly. Additionally, there is no record of a mass migration of adults to their ancestral cities in order to be registered.

Another issue is that Luke 1:5 states that Jesus was born when Herod was King of Judea. Luke 2:2 states that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (a.k.a. Quirinius) was also governor of Syria. This appears to be an impossibility. The historical record shows that Herod was king from 37 until his death in 4 BCE. Quirinius was not governor of Syria at any time during this period. He came to power in 6 CE.

Lastly, Matthew 2:16 describes King Herod's order that all of the boy infants who had not reached their second birthday in Bethlehem and vicinity were to be murdered. The date of that mass murder would give an approximate idea of Jesus' birth. Unfortunately for historians the killings never appeared to have happened. If the children were killed, then historians of the era would have been certain to have recorded the event. No such record exists. Josephus wrote in great detail about even minor actions and decisions of Herod. The mass murder was never mentioned.

REF: Timing, and prophecy of Jesus' birth
Great information! I wish the other side would come out to try and defend their position though... that was the whole point of the thread as I've constantly asked for a response... yet nothing....
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Old 07-20-2009, 03:46 PM
 
Location: South Wales, Yes, I'm, back!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullback32 View Post
There is a bit of a problem with the census timing in relationship to the birth if Jesus. According to Augustus Caesar himself, he ordered three wide-spread censuses: one in 28 BCE, one in 8 BCE and one in 14 CE (These are from his notes in his Res Gestae - The Deeds of Augustus). These are the only three that we know of. I am fairly sure that Augustus Caesar would have mentioned others had he ordered them. So, there was no world wide census taken at the time.

Other problems with this census was that while Josephus does mention a census in Judea in 6 CE, it was only a local census, not one that would enable "all the world to be taxed." Its purpose was to count the male population so that they could be taxed at a later time. And it triggered a major uprising among the Jews, who regarded a census as against scripture and the will of God. He does not refer to an earlier census and poll tax.

At the time of Jesus' birth, the Jews were still subject to King Herod. Since Palestine was a client kingdom of Rome, only the king had powers of taxation in the land. It was only in areas that were operated under direct Roman rule that Caesar Augustus could have taxed the citizens directly. Additionally, there is no record of a mass migration of adults to their ancestral cities in order to be registered.

Another issue is that Luke 1:5 states that Jesus was born when Herod was King of Judea. Luke 2:2 states that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (a.k.a. Quirinius) was also governor of Syria. This appears to be an impossibility. The historical record shows that Herod was king from 37 until his death in 4 BCE. Quirinius was not governor of Syria at any time during this period. He came to power in 6 CE.

Lastly, Matthew 2:16 describes King Herod's order that all of the boy infants who had not reached their second birthday in Bethlehem and vicinity were to be murdered. The date of that mass murder would give an approximate idea of Jesus' birth. Unfortunately for historians the killings never appeared to have happened. If the children were killed, then historians of the era would have been certain to have recorded the event. No such record exists. Josephus wrote in great detail about even minor actions and decisions of Herod. The mass murder was never mentioned.

REF: Timing, and prophecy of Jesus' birth
"Luke 2:2 states that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (a.k.a. Quirinius) was also governor of Syria. This appears to be an impossibility. The historical record shows that Herod was king from 37 until his death in 4 BCE. Quirinius was not governor of Syria at any time during this period. He came to power in 6 CE"

There's some argument about Cyrenius or Quirinus having tax - collecting powers under the Govorner of Syria at the time Herod was on the Judean throne, but the point is that the Lucan census for the tax was not carried out in Judea until after Herod's death and the removal of his son, Archelaus. In fact, Matthew specifically states that Joseph, his wife and Jesus had fled to Egypt to escape Herod and they only return after Herod's death and then go to Galilee (ruled by Herod Antipas) for fear of Archelaus. Shortly after, Archelaus is removed and Judea (but not Galilee) becomes a Roman province and Quirinus carries out the tax which supposedly, is the reason Joseph takes his wife to Bethlehem where Jesus is born.

Clearly there is no way these can be the same date. Some have suggested a secret tax carried out by Quirinus on behalf of Herod. This is unkown to history and could hardly have been carried out secretly as the result of carrying out a census in Judea was civil disturbance. It could never have been secret. Also, Luke says the 6.A.D census was the 'first'. It was, in Judea.

You are correct that the misdeeds of Herod were pretty well known. Even threatened actions against the public that were never actually carried out were recorded. A slaughter of children could hardly have escaped History, not to mention escaping the other three gospel - writers.

Finally, as you say, given that there is some indication that people should register in their own locale, where they would be taxed, that doesn't seem to be reason to accept Luke's suggestion that Joseph had to go back to his ancestral family home to register for a tax that, as a Galilean he would pay in Galilee. Apart from the strong liklihood that Galilee (still being ruled by a Herod) would not be taxed under the Judean provincial tax.

I tried to get some confirmation of that and it doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone but some german historian whose name escapes me. He reckoned that Joseph and a Galilean would not need to register for a Judean tax. As you mention, there is no record of a mass movement of people to register in their ancestral towns rather than where they lived and worked.

Last edited by AREQUIPA; 07-20-2009 at 03:57 PM..
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:10 PM
 
4,669 posts, read 1,597,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajeck View Post
In recent threads a few asked "What issues are there in the bible if any?"

I've responded with the example of Caesar Augustus's census. The question has yet to be answered. So I'll bring it up again.

I would like to have a well thought out discussion on this. Thank you.

One source I found via Google:

"But what of the census that Luke 2:1 speaks of? Is there any record outside of the Bible that Augustus ever issued such a decree? Yes. As a matter of fact he authorized three censuses during this reign. How do we know this? The three censuses are listed in the Acts of Augustus, a list of what Augustus thought were the 35 greatest achievements of his reign. He was so proud of the censuses that he ranked them eighth on the list. The Acts of Augustus were placed on two bronze plaques outside of Augustus's mausoleum after he died."



Another source I found stated that Tertullian and Justin both recorded that you could date the gospel according to the census. They were certainly under the impression that it happened. Bottom line is that until you find something specifically contradicting it your argument is weak at best.
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdbrich View Post
One source I found via Google:

"But what of the census that Luke 2:1 speaks of? Is there any record outside of the Bible that Augustus ever issued such a decree? Yes. As a matter of fact he authorized three censuses during this reign. How do we know this? The three censuses are listed in the Acts of Augustus, a list of what Augustus thought were the 35 greatest achievements of his reign. He was so proud of the censuses that he ranked them eighth on the list. The Acts of Augustus were placed on two bronze plaques outside of Augustus's mausoleum after he died."
You are correct KD about the three censuses. However, as already mentioned, the dates of them were 28 BCE, 8 BCE and 14 CE. Those dates do not work with the account in Luke. The dates were given in Augustus Caesar's own writing.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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Kingsley Davis (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed, 5:168) states: "Every five years the Romans enumerated citizens and their property to determine their liabilities. This practice was extended to include the entire Roman Empire in 5 BC."


Bottom line is that the gospels are dated around 60 AD at the latest. If, as you probably believe, the gospels were fabricated stories, do you honestly think the writers would have intentionally left a known fallacy in it?
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
3,334 posts, read 3,292,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdbrich View Post
Kingsley Davis (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed, 5:168) states: "Every five years the Romans enumerated citizens and their property to determine their liabilities. This practice was extended to include the entire Roman Empire in 5 BC."


Bottom line is that the gospels are dated around 60 AD at the latest. If, as you probably believe, the gospels were fabricated stories, do you honestly think the writers would have intentionally left a known fallacy in it?
Fabricated is a bit harsh for me...how about embellished? I liken it to the Arthurian legend. There is evidence that a great cavalry chief did lead to Britons to victory over the Saxons. But, these were the Dark Ages and so feudal Camelot with great castles and chivalry did not exist yet. This leader also seems to have had an advisor named Myrddin (Welshman). As time went on, the story grew by people who did not actually witness the events described. The Saxons added a spin to it. Then the Normans invaded in 1066 and added to it (this is where Lancelot came in).

In the same vein, I am pretty sure that an Essene named Yeshua existed. I am pretty sure that he preached and at the same time drew the ire of the Pharisees and the Romans. I am pretty sure that he was executed for this. It is the miracles, virgin birth, an yes, the resurrection that I doubt ever happened. The stuff of legends.

The Encyclopedia Britannica is a fine source. But since Augustus Caesar himself wrote the dates on when he took the censuses, I think I'll take his own word for it.

Last edited by Fullback32; 07-20-2009 at 07:24 PM..
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