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.
quote:We can imagine many possibilities, but then we have to determine which of those possibilities are probable.
All we have to do is discover if the reported event was impossible, and of course possibilities cannot be impossibilities.
When considered from the general context, impossibility of the event is the greatest impossibility. If the Jews were as antagonistic as it seems they were, they would have made the greatest objection possible, if the journey to Bethlehem was either impossible or had not actually happened, because this alleged visit was all about their own religion, which they jealously regarded as their own, as secular history makes abundantly clear. They of course utterly denied then, as they do now, that Jesus was the Messiah, who, as their Scripture indicated, was to come from Bethlehem. It does not matter very much when this was committed to writing, because lore was usually passed on orally at that time, and the facts of Jesus birth, as believed, would have been current very soon after the beginnings of Christian belief- if not before. That the Pharisees and teachers of the Law could not refute Jesus personally counts for very much. The origin of the Messiah was of crucial importance:
'Others said, "He is the Christ." Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?"' Jn 7:41-42 NIV
In order to accept him, Jesus' disciples must have known where Jesus was born very soon after he started his ministry, and the Jews' leaders must have known soon afterwards, otherwise that ministry would have been cut short. Now that the religion's leaders could not refute the view that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, when they had every legitimate interest and duty in quashing any impostors in short order, is highly significant.
If it is insufficient, the prohibition of Christianity from Trajan onwards is indication that the Romans, who knew a thing or two about their own governance, were apparently quite unable to suppress this new movement that centred on the existence and provenance of one who was being attested to, in homes and synagogues, by reference to Jewish Scriptures that were widely read throughout the empire. Whether or not Julian actually said, "Galilean, you have conquered," matters little. The astonishing fact is that a Galilean artisan soon after got to have his name on the 'front door' of Julian's 'house'!
quote:we don't have to discover if the supposed event was incapable of happening or impossible.
There seems little purpose to the debate unless we do.
quote:The question isn't whether anyone objected to the census or not.
Quite so. It's a question of whether they would have objected to Jesus as Messiah, or not.
quote:Now you're dealing with possiblities.
It's an injection of normative historical method into a thread that quite possibly needs a boost of same!
As already mentioned, but consistently ignored so far, two very powerful factions with the greatest interest in denying the gospel reports, with the greatest possible competence to do so, completely failed to do so, and in one case (or perhaps both) was (were) forced to follow the maxim, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'
The faith that this Jesus of Nazareth provoked spread largely within the Roman Empire, and eventually, after continued persecution by same, forced it to abandon its own religions in favor of a version of itself (albeit a version that, under the surface, had striking resemblance to those previous religions). Now how did that occur, if the very authority cited by Luke failed to point out a simple factual error of this importance? How is it that Luke's account apparently remained unedited?
'On the contrary, the question is made necessary by your apparent disagreement.'
I have not disagreed, for one thing. For another, there are 140 posts here that bellow that things are not clear, before the deafening impact of millions of scholarly words generated by this subject is considered. It is impossible to conduct a conversation if people cannot see what exists, and invent what does not.