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Author Topic:   Would Mary Have Been In Bethlehem?
Percy
Member
Posts: 19069
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 31 of 156 (508306)
05-12-2009 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Theodoric
05-12-2009 10:32 AM


The historical arguments expressing doubt that the Romans (or anyone, for that matter) would ever conduct such a census, and concerning whether a Roman census of any kind would ever be conducted in a nominally independent vassal state, and concerning the timing of Quirinius's governorship and Herod's period of rule and so forth, these seem like much stronger arguments than doubt about Mary's ability to travel.

--Percy


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6879
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 32 of 156 (508307)
05-12-2009 11:39 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Percy
05-12-2009 11:28 AM


Ok gotcha. Just wasn't sure what you meant, but now that I reread the thread it all makes sense to me.

I totally agree that the historical argument is very convincing on its own. The ability of a pregnant woman to travel in that time period is not an argument that needs to be made. The hard, verifiable historic facts alone make the story untenable.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

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Asteragros
Member (Idle past 1736 days)
Posts: 40
From: Modena, Italy
Joined: 01-11-2002


Message 33 of 156 (508311)
05-12-2009 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Michamus
05-10-2009 1:59 PM


The fact that no one ancient source cites an apographe (a registration, census, etc.) in the term Luke reports doesn’t mean it never occurred so. Every history scholars well know that ab omissio (that is, from an omission of a fact in a text) no one can prove that an event cited in a different text has never occurred.

The attempt to base the reasoning on the theory of probability also is fruitless. Imagine some history scholars 2000 years from now. Without all historical documents at their disposal (similarly to us as regards happenings occurred 2000 years ago) they will try to understand, with the help of theory of probability, if Hitler, heading up a huge staff of war strategists, really invaded Russia - his political/military ally (treaty Molotov-Ribbentrop, 1939) - on 1941. Following the thread of your discourse. “This single decision would create a massive drain on the Empire's economy in several forms:


  • Spent resources on travel (thousands of kms)
  • Lost of defensive power in West Europe
  • Possibility of death to travelers (which was a sure hazard in long journeys of thousands of miles)

“Did he repeat the same Napoleon’s tragical error when he decided the same to invade that country (1812) hazarding the lives of his soldiers owing to winter frost?” Only with some informations at their disposable (suppose that they have only some sources citing this invasion, while the other sources omitted this information) and on the basis of the probability would the future scholars conclude that that invasion didn’t occur? You surely see that the problem is focused on the reliability of the sources, not on the probability of the happening to occur.

Who says that the voyage lasted 3 days? Why not 15 days (at the rate of 10 kms at a day, for example), or more? We are disserting on the Bible accuracy. If the Bible doesn’t specify the length of the trip, we are free to suppose a more long voyage, considering Mary’s advanced pregnancy and the Joseph's care for his wife.

I personally have know some women that did give birth a child when they are in the field, having digging the ground for months before their parturitions. They were working in the field until the last day of their pregnancy.

Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was hegemon (one who is in power) of Syria twice (2 BCE and 6 or 7 CE). Luke himself says that apographe was the first (protos), to infer that another apographe was occurred, at least. Two registrations are mentioned in the Christian Greek Scriptures as taking place after Judea came under subjection to Rome. The first is that reported Luke 2:1-3.

Bible critics have said that the only census taken while Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was governor of Syria was about 6 C.E., which event sparked a rebellion by Judas the Galilean and the Zealots. (Acts 5:37) This was really the second registration under Quirinius, for inscriptions discovered at and near Antioch revealed that some years earlier Quirinius had served as the emperor’s legate in Syria (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, by W. Ramsay, 1979, pp. 285, 291).

Since you are searching for references, I content you from now on.
The Dictionnaire du Nouveau Testament in Crampon’s French Bible (1939 ed., p. 360) says: “The scholarly researches of Zumpt (Commentat. epigraph., II, 86-104; De Syria romana provincia, 97-98) and of Mommsen (Res gestae divi Augusti) place beyond doubt that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria.”
Many scholars locate the time of Quirinius’ first governorship as somewhere between the years 4 and 1 B.C.E., probably from 3 to 2 B.C.E. Their method of arriving at these dates, however, is not solid, and the actual period of this governorship remains indefinite.

In the Chronographus Anni CCCLIIII, a list of Roman consuls, the name of Quirinius appears in 12 B.C.E. along with that of Messala. (Chronica Minora, edited by T. Mommsen, Munich, 1981, Vol. I, p. 56) Roman historian Tacitus briefly recounts Quirinius’ history, saying: “[He] sprang from the municipality of Lanuvium—had no connection; but as an intrepid soldier and an active servant he won a consulate under the deified Augustus, and, a little later, by capturing the Homonadensian strongholds beyond the Cilician frontier, earned the insignia of triumph . . . , adviser to Gaius Caesar during his command in Armenia.” (The Annals, III, XLVIII) His death took place in 21 C.E.

Not mentioned by Tacitus is Quirinius’ relationship to Syria. Jewish historian Josephus relates Quirinius’ assignment to Syria as governor in connection with the simultaneous assignment of Coponius as the Roman ruler of Judea. He states: “Quirinius, a Roman senator who had proceeded through all the magistracies to the consulship and a man who was extremely distinguished in other respects, arrived in Syria, dispatched by Caesar to be governor of the nation and to make an assessment of their property. Coponius, a man of equestrian rank, was sent along with him to rule over the Jews with full authority.” Josephus goes on to relate that Quirinius came into Judea, to which his authority was extended, and ordered a taxation there. This brought much resentment and an unsuccessful attempt at revolt, led by “Judas, a Gaulanite.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 1, 2, 3, 4 [i, 1]) This is evidently the revolt referred to by Luke at Acts 5:37. According to Josephus’ account it took place in “the thirty-seventh year after Caesar’s defeat of Antony at Actium.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 26 [ii, 1]) That would indicate that Quirinius was governor of Syria in 6 C.E.

Peg is right when cites the Lapis Tiburtinus (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, edited by H. Dessau, Berlin, 1887, Vol. 14, p. 397, No. 3613). It contains the statement that on going to Syria he became governor (or, legate) for ‘the second time.’ On the basis of inscriptions found in Antioch containing Quirinius’ name, many historians acknowledge that Quirinius was also governor of Syria in the B.C.E. period. She is right also when mentions the Jewish Antiquities, XVI, 277, 280 [ix, 1]; XVI, 344 [x, 8] to prove the possible duality of the hegemons we discuss.

Josephus lists Quintilius Varus as governor of Syria at the time of, and subsequent to, the death of Herod the Great. (Jewish Antiquities, XVII, 89 [v, 2]; XVII, 221 [ix, 3]) Tacitus also refers to Varus as being governor at the time of Herod’s death. (The Histories, V, IX) Josephus states that Varus’ predecessor was Saturninus (C. Sentius Saturninus).

Many scholars, in view of the evidence of an earlier governorship by Quirinius, suggest the years 3-2 B.C.E. for his governorship. While these dates would harmonize satisfactorily with the Biblical record, the basis on which these scholars select them is in error. That is, they list Quirinius as governor during those years because they place his rule after that of Varus and hence after the death of Herod the Great, for which they use the popular but erroneous date of 4 B.C.E. (if you want, I am able to give you the reasons for this mine date refusal when you ask me). For the same reason, that is, their use of the unproved date 4 B.C.E. for Herod’s death, they give Varus’ governorship as from 6 to 4 B.C.E.; the length of his rule, however, is conjectural, for Josephus does not specify the date of its beginning or of its end. The best evidence points to 2 B.C.E. for the birth of Jesus. Hence Quirinius’ governorship must have included this year or part thereof.

You have to remember that Luke did not write in English (luckily!). Then he didn’t write governor but hegemon. Now, like you well know, this Greek word can include many meanings. This Greek term came from the verb egeomai and it means a guide, a leader (like in Ovid and Herodotus), a head, dux, governor, prefect (like in Sophocles). Some, therefore, suggest that, at the time of what Luke refers to as the “first registration,” Quirinius served in Syria in the capacity of a special legate of the emperor exercising extraordinary powers. A factor that may also aid in understanding the matter is Josephus’ clear reference to a dual rulership of Syria, since in his account he speaks of two persons, Saturninus and Volumnius, serving simultaneously as “governors of Syria.”

An inscription found in Venice (Lapis Venetus) refers to a census conducted by Quirinius in Syria. However, it provides no means for determining whether this was in his earlier or his later governorship.—Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, edited by T. Mommsen, O. Hirschfeld, and A. Domaszewski, 1902, Vol. 3, p. 1222, No. 6687.

Luke’s proved accuracy in historical matters gives sound reason for accepting as factual his reference to Quirinius as governor of Syria around the time of Jesus’ birth. Justin Martyr, a Palestinian of the second century C.E., cited the Roman records as proof of Luke’s accuracy as regards Quirinius’ governorship at the time of Jesus’ birth. (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, edited by B. Orchard, 1953, p. 943) There is no evidence that Luke’s account was ever challenged by early historians, even by early critics such as Celsus.

Such were not merely to ascertain population figures but, rather, were mainly for purposes of taxation and conscription of men for military service. Also a Bible-critic forum member (mess. #11) admits that “the paramount purpose of the Roman census was for raising taxes”. King James Version (KJV) translate the Greek word with taxing. Then, despite the possible risks, the Emperor decided that the game was worth the candle.
Like today editorialists, the evangelists reported what they found proper to cite in their condensed gospels, omitting what they not found advisable, basing themselves on the model they choose to write.

So, doesn’t exist any motive to tax Luke, and the Bible in general, with unreliability.


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Replies to this message:
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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2527 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 34 of 156 (508312)
05-12-2009 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Asteragros
05-12-2009 12:59 PM


I don't think anyone is denying the possibility that a tax census was conducted during the time Quirinius's rule , but it still shows no reason why every person in the roman Empire would have to travel back to their Ancestral home to register. What are they going to tax the ancestors? Also if one looks at the Roman Empire in ~4 BCE, It ranged from the Atlantic to Mesopotamia & all of Northern Africa. A person living in what is now Belgium but who came from Cairo traveling by foot or ass would take considerable time to arrive at his destination. Try going from Los Angeles to Boston by ass and see how long it would take.
No the only reason I can see for the people having to return to their home city was just to make the prophesy come out. Plus their is no evidence that Luke wrote "Luke".

Edited by bluescat48, : sp


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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Asteragros
Member (Idle past 1736 days)
Posts: 40
From: Modena, Italy
Joined: 01-11-2002


Message 35 of 156 (508338)
05-12-2009 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by bluescat48
05-12-2009 1:31 PM


As regards the authorship of Luke I think you have to examine the proofs with more carefulness.

You say: “is no evidence that Luke wrote ‘Luke’”.
Oh, so all the discovering work of Ludovico Antonio Muratori is gets lost, just after about 270 years!

In reality, we can found in the famous (evidently, not so famous for all the people) Muratorian Fragment - which is in Latin, and dates to the latter part of the second century C.E. - the words: “The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. Luke, the well-known physician, wrote it in his own name […]”.

As regards the reason of the Emperor’s command to travel back to each one town of origin perhaps it was linked with the fixing of the amount of taxes the Empire was able to obtain from the Palestine.
Everyone had to declare plainly and directly on the spot, under the threat of Imperial seizing, maybe, the amount of his properties and, on this base, the corresponding taxes were effected. A different approach of the Imperial objective (for example a self-declaration of own estates) could bring to a bigger confusion. Moreover, in that epoch were not used topographical maps, land registry on trigonometrical base, and so on.

If you self-declared (so avoiding the travel back to your town of origin), supposing, at the presence of an imperial representative, a reduced amount of properties, you can pay fewer taxes, surely, but the rest that you didn’t included in the declaration became an Imperial property.
Should do you so?

On the other hand, if you self-declared a bigger amount of estates, you can pay a greater amount of taxes and, furthermore, existed the risk that another Hebrew can lay claim his right to the properties you push up in the declaration.
Is this choice a paying proposition better than the previous?

It seems to me that the Imperial choice Luke cites was the best manner to avoid a mishmash of unverifiable self-declarations and riots of people enraged.

Scholar Albert Barnes asserts: “Judea was at that time tributary to Rome. It paid taxes to the Roman emperor; and, though Herod was “king,” yet he held his appointment under the Roman emperor, and was subject in most matters to him. Farther, as this “enrollment” was merely to ascertain the numbers and property of the Jews, it is probable that they were very willing to be enrolled in this manner; and hence we hear that they went willingly, without tumult - contrary to the common way when they were “to be taxed.” (Notes on the Bible)


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Perdition
Member (Idle past 1575 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 36 of 156 (508341)
05-12-2009 5:06 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Asteragros
05-12-2009 4:54 PM


If you self-declared (so avoiding the travel back to your town of origin), supposing, at the presence of an imperial representative, a reduced amount of properties, you can pay fewer taxes, surely, but the rest that you didn’t included in the declaration became an Imperial property.
Should do you so?

On the other hand, if you self-declared a bigger amount of estates, you can pay a greater amount of taxes and, furthermore, existed the risk that another Hebrew can lay claim his right to the properties you push up in the declaration.
Is this choice a paying proposition better than the previous?

It seems to me that the Imperial choice Luke cites was the best manner to avoid a mishmash of unverifiable self-declarations and riots of people enraged.

This makes no sense. How would forcing people to make a long journey, perhaps across a continent, to their family's home city make them less likely to lie on their tax forms? WOuldn't it make more sense to have them register at their city or town of residence, where people around might be able to say, "You know, Joe has a lot more land than he's claiming here, we might need to take a look at that."


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Michamus
Member (Idle past 3494 days)
Posts: 230
From: Ft Hood, TX
Joined: 03-16-2009


Message 37 of 156 (508391)
05-13-2009 2:22 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Asteragros
05-12-2009 12:59 PM


Asteragros writes:


Every history scholars well know that ab omissio (that is, from an omission of a fact in a text) no one can prove that an event cited in a different text has never occurred.


Every scholar also knows the two initial conditions a scholar must take into account when reading a reference to another event/document from an ancient document:
1)Why is the information being cited?
2)What is the bias of the author?

In this case the response would be
1)So as to show a fulfillment of prophecy
2)The author is almost definitively christian, and therefor has a nearly complete bias.

Not only that, your argument of ad omissio would hold more merit, if:
1)we were talking about a more obscure empire
2)we didn't have an abundance of information on how a Roman Census worked
3)we didn't have 3 dates in proper distance from one another for a Roman Census(28 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD)
4)we didn't have historical evidence of Quirinius' initiation into governorship, and it being his first governorship.

You are trying to say "we don't know", when it is quite clear that we do know.


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Peg
Member (Idle past 3266 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 38 of 156 (508408)
05-13-2009 6:11 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by bluescat48
05-12-2009 1:31 PM


bluescat48 writes:

I don't think anyone is denying the possibility that a tax census was conducted during the time Quirinius's rule , but it still shows no reason why every person in the roman Empire would have to travel back to their Ancestral home to register. What are they going to tax the ancestors? Also if one looks at the Roman Empire in ~4 BCE, It ranged from the Atlantic to Mesopotamia & all of Northern Africa. A person living in what is now Belgium but who came from Cairo traveling by foot or ass would take considerable time to arrive at his destination. Try going from Los Angeles to Boston by ass and see how long it would take.

perhaps the register was for the Jewish occupants only?


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2527 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 39 of 156 (508423)
05-13-2009 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Peg
05-13-2009 6:11 AM


Peg writes:

perhaps the register was for the Jewish occupants only?

That makes no sense at all, The Romans were a stoic, militaristic society. They would not pick one group of people to have to go to register it would be all or none.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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ochaye
Member (Idle past 3576 days)
Posts: 307
Joined: 03-08-2009


Message 40 of 156 (508472)
05-13-2009 10:52 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by bluescat48
05-13-2009 9:14 AM


The Jews got concessionary treatment on almost all religious matters, until they started to agitate later in the century, of course. In any case, Egyptian records show that registration took place where property was owned, and Joseph presumably owned property in the Bethlehem area.

This thread seems to be mostly guesswork (some of it none too reasonable, imv) because there are just too few facts to hand, too many possibilities that the account allows for. If Jews and Romans could not diss this account, and it appears that they had motivation to do so, it does not seem very likely that people 2000 years after the fact can do so.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6879
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 41 of 156 (508524)
05-14-2009 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by ochaye
05-13-2009 10:52 PM


quote:
In any case, Egyptian records show that registration took place where property was owned, and Joseph presumably owned property in the Bethlehem area.

Source please. These Egyptian are from the time period of the Roman Empire? Presume??? Because this is the only way you can make it make sense? There are no records of any Roman census that required people to go to where ever they had property. Can you imagine the chaos if a person had property in multiple places.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2527 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 42 of 156 (508562)
05-14-2009 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Theodoric
05-14-2009 4:06 PM


Yes ie. property in say Novemberge (Nürnberg Germany), Gibraltar, Carthage & Jerusalem, all of which were part of the Roman empire circa 4BCE.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Theodoric, posted 05-14-2009 4:06 PM Theodoric has not yet responded

  
ramoss
Member
Posts: 3123
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 43 of 156 (508584)
05-14-2009 10:08 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by bluescat48
05-12-2009 1:31 PM


In addition, part of the problem with Luke's account is that Nazareth was in Galilee, which was not part of the providence of Syria where the census was ordered.

Galilee was ruled by Herod Antipas as a separate entity from Judah, and was not under the census that was ordered in 6 c.e.


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Michamus
Member (Idle past 3494 days)
Posts: 230
From: Ft Hood, TX
Joined: 03-16-2009


Message 44 of 156 (508609)
05-15-2009 2:43 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Peg
05-13-2009 6:11 AM


Peg writes:


perhaps the register was for the Jewish occupants only?


Perhaps aliens invaded Earth 10,000 years ago and decided they really didn't want this place afterall.

What ifs are completely useless unless they are coupled with some sort of evidence.

What's even more damning to your argument is the fact that your own book says

quote:
Luke 2
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

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Percy
Member
Posts: 19069
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 45 of 156 (508621)
05-15-2009 6:28 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by ochaye
05-13-2009 10:52 PM


ochaye writes:

In any case, Egyptian records show that registration took place where property was owned, and Joseph presumably owned property in the Bethlehem area.

For a Roman census you seek Egyptian records about property registration?

This thread seems to be mostly guesswork...

Well, I guess now it has guesswork.

If Jews and Romans could not diss this account...

Skepticism and doubt about the Jesus mythology were widely expressed at the time. Someone here recently went to the trouble to provide references, though not in this thread. Anyone remember where that was?

AbE: Found it, see Message 288.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Added reference to message.

Edited by Percy, : Fix message link.


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