IBRI Research Report #4 (1980)

THE CENSUS OF QUIRINIUS
The Historicity of Luke 2:1-5

Ronald Marchant
Feasterville, Pennsylvania

Copyright © 1980 by Ronald Marchant. All rights reserved.
 

ABSTRACT

Critics have objected to every statement of fact in the census account of Luke 2:1-5. Here the critical view is analyzed with special attention to Quirinius' association with this census. A false correlation by critics between Luke's narrative and a later census described by Josephus seems to be the error involved. Although as yet no independent confirmation of Luke's census has turned up, similar events from the same period and locale substantiate every statement of his account.

EDITOR'S NOTE

Although the author is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of IBRI, it does not follow that all of the viewpoints espoused in this paper represent official positions of IBRI. Since one of the purposes of the IBRI report series is to serve as a preprint forum, it is possible that the author has revised some aspects of this work since it was first written. 

ISBN 0-944788-04-1


THE PROBLEM SKETCHED

Luke's account of the setting of Christ's birth has often been criticized by those who would charge the Scripture with error. Unlike other passages of the Gospels which have scarcely any material which allows firm correlations with secular history (thus proving, for the critics, that the writers of the Gospels had no concern for, nor sense of, history), this section has abundant chronological and political content. It firmly roots the story of Christ's birth in the context of the worldwide administration of Roman government and shows how God uses unwitting and unwilling men to bring about His purposes.

To some, however, the chronological exactness of the narrative invites rigorous questioning and skeptical contempt. Perhaps for them their theory of the composition and significance of the Scripture is better served by having certain "stock contradictions" between Biblical history and secular history or between different Scripture writers who describe the same events. Whatever their reasons, it is a matter of fact that scholars have called into question every statement of fact in the first five verses of Luke's second chapter. Indeed, if these doubts and accusations are warranted, then the trustworthiness of Luke and his Gospel is severely compromised.

Let us look briefly at the issues involved in this case and try to see what is known about the events Luke describes as well as other historical parallels. In addition we shall try to identify assumptions that are made about the text both by its supporters and opponents.

The Decree of Augustus

It is doubted that there was any decree made by Augustus to "enroll the inhabited earth." No evidence for such an order is known.

The Census while Quirinius was Governor of Syria

The Greek text indicates that the census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. A chronological conflict is alleged as follows:

Thus, taking Josephus as the standard, there is a difference of ten years between the dates given by Matthew (prior to 4 BC) and Luke (after AD 6) for the birth of Christ. Further confusion occurs when the evidence of the church father Tertullian (Against Marcion 4.19) is admitted. He claims that the birth of Christ was recorded in the census of Sentius Saturninus, governor of Syria. With these conflicting sources the synchronism of the Biblical writers is alleged to be in serious contradiction.

Return to Parental City

There is no precedent for such a return to the city of one's parents in an enrolment for purposes of taxing property. This would have an effect counter to the Roman goal of replacing nationalistic and local patriotism with loyalty to the Empire. Here the critics see a contrivance to provide a Bethlehem birth for Jesus (as required by prophecy) when his parents are natives of Nazareth.

Presence of Mary in Bethlehem

There was no need for Mary to accompany Joseph to be enrolled, since such measures would require the heads of households only.

Roman Census in a Client Kingdom

If Luke 2 is not identified with Josephus' account of the census of AD 6, then it would force a census on the kingdom of Herod. This is felt to be unlikely. On the other hand, if Luke and Josephus correctly speak of the same event, then the problem is shifted to Matthew's credibility. However, Luke must then be wrong to connect Jesus' birth with John's (1:5, 24, 26; 3:1).

Thus on every statement of fact in Luke 2:1-5, objections have been raised regarding its probability or verity. If the critical view is accepted, this seemingly historical account is only an attempt to cover up the writer's lack of definite knowledge of the facts (if there were any) which he is relating.

Is this really a fair view of the historical reliability of this passage? Let us see.

THE PARALLELS

Our knowledge of ancient history, although continually expanding, is nonetheless partial and, in places, almost nil. In general, historians are aware of the limited knowledge they have of any given event in history and of the possibility that some events are recorded in only a single remaining source. Thus if we are adamant in demanding multiple-source confirmation of any given fact, we will suffer by having fewer facts in our fund of admissible knowledge.

Our situation in assessing Luke 2 will depend, therefore, on an examination of a number of available historical parallels, keeping in mind our fragmentary knowledge of detail for the events we are studying. Let us look in turn at each of the points mentioned in sketching the problem above.

The Decree of Augustus

It is true that we do not have an official decree1 from Augustan times ordering that all the people of the "inhabited world" be enrolled at a census. We must understand the motivation for the census as stemming from the administrative reorganization that occurred as Augustus built the Empire on the ruins of the Republic. Having consolidated his power after disposing of the other contenders for sole leadership in the wake of Julius Caesar's assassination, Augustus used this power to refashion the whole machinery of the Roman administration. He began this process by restoring economic stability to the war-weary society so as to generate the funds necessary to maintain the new imperial civil service and the large standing army for their peace-time roles of occupation and maintenance of order. To raise the needed revenue he devised the strategy of causing

the gradual disappearance of the tax-farming companies who levied the direct and indirect taxes. Their place was taken by the imperial officials or procurators, who were employed in the Emperor's name in all the provinces, both imperial and senatorial. These men, except those filling the highest positions, were almost all either imperial slaves or imperial freedmen. They had offices for collecting the taxes in the chief town of the province and branch offices elsewhere; and all the threads of this network of finance were gathered up in the personal treasury of the Emperor at Rome. Thus the financial administration of the Empire was gradually converted into an elaborate bureaucratlc machine, governed from the centre by the
Emperors.2

To allow for an accurate assessment and collection of the new taxes on both citizens and provincials a new procedure was devised and carried out.

A preparatory step in this direction was a general census of property owned in the provinces; this was started by Augustus and admirably carried out in Gaul by his stepson Drusus; and perhaps the same thing was done in Galatia, Syria and Palestine, the newly annexed provinces in the East.3

Rostovzeff is writing about the broad outlines of Imperial policy, not dealing with particular applications, but he acknowledges the possibility of such an occurrence in "Galatia, Syria and Palestine." In fact we have documentary evidence of such censuses carried out at this time in Egypt, Lebanon and Nabatea, to mention several other locations in the East. As in all the reforms which Augustus introduced, he was flexible to the utmost and made use of existing institutions and customs wherever possible. This pragmatic approach remained a characteristic of the Empire's method of dealing with existing cultures whenever they came to rule them and to integrate them into the overall fabric of the worldwide system they were weaving.

These censuses were seen by many provincials as intrusions. They were resisted to the point of bloodshed in Gaul (requiring forty years to complete!)4 and in Judea (Judas' rebellion of AD 6).5 In areas previously subject to severe regulation, however (e.g., Egypt), there was no such resistance. As each new area was added to the Roman territory this painful process was repeated.

It is true that we do not have any copy of an order from Augustus to the effect that a worldwide census was to be held at some given time. However, the knowledge that we do have of the initiatives of Augustus in centralizing and bureaucratizing the Roman administration of the Empire allows us to see how the census mentioned by Luke fits into the wider scheme of the regulation and taxation of the whole. The census was carried out by the legatus of that area. If necessary, military force was used. The census was an important and obligatory feature of Roman rule in every province. That Luke mentions the census in Judea that was the occasion of the birth of Christ is rather to his credit than to his fault.

The "Governorship" of Quirinius

Since the crux of the chronological problem is the matter of Quirinius' association with this census, most of our discussion will be concentrated here. Let us begin by noting that the phrase in the KJV "when ... was governor" translates the present active participle of the verb hegemoneuw. The sense of the word is "while ... was ruling." The reading of the KJV is perfectly acceptable, though it may make us Americans think of the position or office titled "governor," whereas the Greek is really less specific than that. The New Translation of the Bible renders it "when ... had the govenment." In fact, the Greek word denotes rulership or leadership in general. In Luke 3:1 the word appears twice, first in noun form referring to the emperor Tiberius' reign, then as a verb for Pontius Pilate's rule in Judea. Thus the one speaks of the superior to the governor of Syria, the other of his subordinate. Thus, although the word can mean "governor" in the technical sense, this is not necessary. To avoid confusion here, our text is better translated "while ... was ruling."

In the second verse there is another difficult word, protos, which the KJV translates adverbially as "first." This Greek word is a superlative adjective normally translated "first." It can refer either to (1) the first item of several things, or (2) the first of two things. Many have stated their misgivings over the lack or an object to which the comparison refers. The KJV treats the word as an adverb: "this taxing was first made when..." Others have suggested another adverbial rendering. They take the adverb to apply to the participle discussed in the previous paragraph and obtain: "this census took place before Quirinius was governor of Syria."6 This latter suggestion would allow us to place the census in the time of Herod regardless of the time of Quirinius' rulership in Syria.

Sir William Ramsay has said of this latter solution that it overlooks the obvious meaning of the words.7? He suggests that the simplest rendering be adopted -- "this was the first census while Quirinius was ruling Syria" -- and that our historical understanding be worked out on this basis. His suggestion, fitting the Classical meaning of protos, is that Luke is speaking of the first census of a series. Equally possible is the similar translation using the meaning of protos which came into vogue in Hellenistic Greek (the Greek of the N.T. period), namely: "this was the first census (of two) while Quirinius was ruling Syria." The essential meaning is the same as Ramsay's, but Luke would not necessarily imply there was an extended series of censuses following this one. It would serve primarily to distinguish the census which occasioned the birth of Christ from a later one which occurred while Quirinius was still (or again) ruling Syria. If this is the case, then we can see how Josephus might speak of the second census with which Quirinius was associated in Judea, whereas Luke correctly identifies the earlier census as that which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Luke does in fact mention this second census in Acts 5:37, noting that it was opposed by Jewish rebels, fitting well with Josephus' description. We thus have good reason for rejecting the notion that Luke wrongly places the AD 6 census mentioned by Josephus before 4 BC as some critics have alleged.

Turning now to the "governorship" of Quirinius, we must ask the question: if Luke 2:2 is translated "this was the first census while Quirinius was ruling Syria," is it possible that Quirinius was ruling Syria at some time before the death of Herod the Great (before 4 BC)? The only known dates for Quirinius as governor of Syria are AD 6-7. However, an interesting possibility has been suggested by an inscription called the "Lapis Tiburtinus," a tombstone which records the achievements of an Augustan army officer. (See Appendix for text of inscription). The key phrase translates as "pro praetor of Syria twice."8 Unfortunately the stone is broken in such a way that the name of the officer is missing. There is no one of the governors of Syria whom we know to have been appointed twice to that office. William Ramsay thought the inscription referred to Quirinius.9 Sherwin-White does not.10 If it was Ouirinius who twice served as legatus or pro praetor of Syria, then the earlier term of office might well fit with the "first census" mentioned in Luke 2. However, the only certain gap in the line of the governors of Syria occurs between P. Quinctilius Varus (6-4 BC) and C. Caesar (1 BC - AD 4). This gap probably falls just after the death of Herod the Great, therefore too late to synchronize with the Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth. Unless some new information is found which allows for or proves that this gap falls within the lifetime of Herod, the evidence of the "Lapis Tiburtinus" will not materially affect the question of the historicity of Luke 2.

Summarizing so far, we have seen that the verb used in Luke 2:2 means "to rule" (including "to command") and that Luke distinguishes this census from one or more later ones by calling it the "first census." We have not yet seen how we can best understand this verse in its historical background.

The political control of Syria and the East was a major objective of Roman policy. Even prior to the Empire the Romans deemed it wise to have a supreme commander in the East. Pompey and later Mark Antony were two such. In 23 BC Augustus named M. Agrippa the vice-emperor of the Orient.11 His extraordinary authority is noted by Josephus (Antiquities 15.10.2): "Now Agrippa was about this time sent to succeed Caesar in the government of the countries beyond the lonian Sea." Agrippa held this post for ten years, even though he ruled in absentia through messengers part of this time. Agrippa died in March of 12 BC. Curiously enough, in August of that year Quirinius was released by Augustus from his duties as consul even though he still had four months to serve. We have no further information from antiquity as to Quirinius' next assignment, but we do know that sometime between 12 and 6 BC he successfully commanded the Roman army in a campaign against the Homonadensian tribe in the Taurus Mountains of Cilicia. Since the only Roman legion based in the whole of Asia belonged to Syria,12 and since the area to be conquered was contiguous to Syria, it is reasonable to think that Quirinius was placed in command of this Syrian legion and was given responsibility for overseeing the entire region in the effort to pacify the Homonadensians. If this is the path which Quirinius followed, it is possible to see his whole career in the East not simply as a series of isolated events, but as different functions of his overall command of the whole area. (See inscriptions in Appendix.)

How, then, do we understand the succession of the regular governors of Syria? Normally we would expect the governor to be the supreme commander in the area, the direct representative of the Emperor, the head of both civil and military affairs. This would leave no room for either an extraordinary commander over the whole region on the one hand, or else for a governor of Syria on the other, providing we understand the office of governor in its usual sense. The solution, it appears, lies in realizing that the office of governor of Syria was much less strictly defined than we might expect. If we can rely on Josephus' account (Antiquities 16.9.1) regarding the Roman government of Syria, he reports that during Herod's reign there was a hearing before Saturninus and Volumnius, the "officers of Caesar" (Greek Kaisaros hegemosi). Apparently the responsibilities of the office were very great and required an assistant to help with everyday affairs. Whether Voulmnius was co-equal with Saturninus or only his chief assistant, the passage still indicates that more than one person could be "governors" or "leaders of Syria" (twn Surias epistatountwn). The implication of these facts is that, at least during the period with which we are concerned, we cannot confine our conclusions about who was "ruling Syria" to the list of provincial governors which scholars have compiled. The objection that Quirinius was not governor (or legatus) of Syria until AD 6, and that therefore Luke is in error, thus falls to the ground.

Furthermore, based on our understanding of the irregular nature of Roman administration of the province, it appears highly likely that Quirinius was exercising an important command in the area of Syria from about 12 BC until 6 BC at least and possibly until AD 9 or even later. Like Agrippa before him, this may not have required his constant presence but would have made it imperative from him personally to oversee the more sensitive matters like the Homonadensian war, the census after Archelaus' banishment in AD 6, and very possibly the census mentioned in Luke 2.

We have some interesting epigraphic evidence which confirms our ideas about Quirinius' work and influence in the area. Two inscriptions have been found in the Roman garrison colony at Pisidian Antioch which record the fact that Quirinius was elected duumvir by the citizens. This was really an honorary appointment which Quirinius accepted and then assigned a local citizen to act as his praefect. There is also another inscription (found in Italy) which corroborates Quirinius' work of census-taking in the area north of Palestine. The "Lapis Venetus" is a tombstone inscription which summarizes the career of an army officer who served under Ouirinius. The relevant part reads: "On command of Quirinius I have carried out the census of Apamea, a city-state of one hundred and seventeen thousand citizens ..."13

As a final consideration on the question of the governorship of Quirinius, let us take note of a tradition which is preserved by Tertullian. In Against Marcion 4.19 he states that the census of Luke 2 was "taken in Judea by Sentius Saturninus." Luke, however, says that the census occurred "while Quirinius was ruling Syria." Neither passage requires that the man named was personally in charge of the census-taking. Each uses his rulership as a reference point for dating the event. It may well be that Saturninus was legatus of Syria and was responsible for the earlier census in Herod's kingdom (his dates as governor are 9-6 BC) as part or his jurisdiction over civil and administrative affairs. If Quirinius was in charge of the military affairs of Syria at the time, then he would be called in if there were any need for enforcement, as was necessary in the Apamean census and the Judean census of AD 6. This may indeed be the correct view of the actual census procedure, but we cannot be sure that Tertullian's information is accurate.14

To sum up this lengthy section: (1) The meaning of the text is best taken as "while Quirinius was ruling Syria." (2) This was the "first census" which took place during Quirinius' rule. (3) Roman policy in the East at this period was usually in the hands of a single supreme commander; the facts of Quirinius' career are consistent with the suggestion that he held this position near the end of Herod's kingship in Judea. (4) The text allows for the possibility that Quirinius was not directly in charge of the census, but that it was carried out by one of the Syrian governors, possibly Sentius Saturninus. (5) There is still a possibility that Quirinus twice held the office of governor of Syria and carried out a Judean census in each tenure.

The Return to Bethlehem

Unlike the question of the 'governorship" of Syria, there is no potential conflict with secular information on this point. The objection of critics here usually takes the form of a doubt that the Romans would require provincials to return home for a census.

The text twice asserts that it was necessary to return home: (1) everyone went to his own city (v. 3) (2) Joseph returned to Bethlehem because his family was from there (v, 4). This feature of the census seems to be central to the whole story Luke is relating.

There is, however, no necessity to assume that the procedure was the same in every Roman census. In verse one the official administrative policy of the Emperor is set forth. Then the second verse notes that this "first" Judean census occurred while Quirinius was ruling. With this we have moved to the particulars of this census, not necessarily the requirements for all censuses. The third verse may then reflect the circumstances of this particular census. Recall that the Roman administration often made use of existing forms of government in conquered lands. The East had long acquaintance with census procedures, as confirmed in the Mari texts, the finds at Tell el-Amarna and Ras Shamra, Herodotus' accounts of the Persian empire, and many documents from the Hellenistic period.15 This return may have been a feature of these earlier cesuses.

On the other hand, it is possible that there were special conditions in Judea which necessitated this return to the ancestral home. The biblical pattern of property inheritance would have produced rather complicated patterns of land ownership which might have required personal depositions on lineage, inheritance and such. Quite possibly Joseph had property rights (probably undivided) in some small plots of land around Bethlehem.

We do have one historical parallel, found in a papyrus copy of an edict of C. Vibius Maximus (c AD 104), eparch of Egypt. This order (see Appendix) was issued to prepare the people for an upcoming census and reminded them that everyone who was away from "his own place" was required to return home for purposes of the census. Although we cannot say that the Egyptian procedure necessarily held for Palestine, it is clear that it was at least a permissible option for the praefect to use in taking a census.

Mary Accompanying Joseph

Our passage moves from the decrees of the Emperor, to the actions of a provincial administrator, to the travels of a carpenter, to the fact that his betrothed was with him and gave birth. At each point the narrative moves from the verifiable and obvious to the specific and human and, unexpectedly, to that which is truly significant. As we move away from the Roman world and into the life of common people in Judea we leave behind our written records and other sources of verification. This was already apparent in the last point and is even more so here. The objections raised against these last two points of the narrative are little more than the conjectures of skepticism.

The critics doubt that Mary would also have been required to appear with Joseph in any census. Here let us note that it is possible to read verses four and five in two distinct ways: (1) Mary with Joseph was to be enrolled; (2) only Joseph was to be enrolled, but Mary went with him. Since either translation is possible, we are making an assumption whichever choice we make. If the former is correct, then we have an official requirement for Mary to be present. In that case, we have no historical parallels though we have seen that a great deal of latitude existed in census arrangements. If the latter choice is correct, then there could be any number of reasons for Mary being with Joseph which we cannot now know. Some possibilities which the text allows are: (1) Mary had other relatives in Judea (Luke 1:39) whom she may have wished to be with at the end of her term; (2) Joseph wanted to be with her at the time of her delivery but he had to be in Bethlehem for the census; (3) there may have been bad feelings toward Mary in Nazareth due to the circumstances of her pregnancy. Any of these might explain the point at issue, but we have insufficient information to choose among them We certainly do riot know enough to give any substantial reason for doubting Scripture at this point.

A Roman Census in Herod's Kingdom?

Critics have raised the question: Would the Romans carry out a census in an independent kingdom? Herod was king in Judea with the support of Rome, as were rulers in other lands around Palestine at this time. The Roman means of controlling newly annexed territories was to leave the basic structure intact but to use and control it by directing the more important matters while leaving the lesser matters to the client rulers. Although independent in some matters, Herod was completely dependent on Roman wishes in whatever affairs they considered important enough to control directly. If they decided to take a census as part of their overall plans, then Herod could only comply.

While it is true that Herod was a personal friend of the Emperor and was given the titles "Friend of Caesar" and "Ally of the Roman People"16 during the earlier part of his reign, we also know that in 8 BC he was demoted by Augustus and became a subject, losing his former privileges. In the Roman system privilege was usually expressed in terms of immunity from taxation. When Herod incurred the displeasure of the Emperor it is reasonable to think that he thereby lost whatever immunity from taxation he or his kingdom had previously possessed. This change of relationship may have triggered the Roman decision to assess the property of Herod's subjects. In addition, the uncertainty over Herod's successor, made more pressing by his advancing age and proclivity to kill his own sons, would make such a census a wise move in the event the Romans should choose to impose direct rule over his kingdom. Eventually the Romans did exercise such power when they deposed Herod's successor Archelaus and sent Coponius to be the first praefect of Judea in AD 6.17

Finally, we should bear in mind the evidence of the inscription "Lapis Venetus" mentioned above (see also Appendix). This shows that Quirinius imposed a census on the powerful city-state of Apamea, an independent city with 117,000 citizens and the privilege of minting its own coins bearing the title "Autonomos."

When the position of Herod in the eyes of the Emperor is combined with this instance of Quirinius' census taking in the nearby state of Apamea from the same period, it becomes highly likely that there would have been an Imperial census in Herod's kingdom and unlikely that his "independent" status would have posed any obstacle to a Roman determination to assess his subjects.

THE PROBLEM IN PERSPECTIVE

In this brief investigation of the facts which surround the census narrative of Luke 2 we have gleaned sufficient information to warrant several conclusions.

There is no actual historical confirmation of the incident which Luke recounts. Luke is our only extant source of information on this subject. This should not be particularly surprising as historians must often rely on information provided by only one source when they would know about details in ancient history.

None of the assertions made by Luke is in any way contradicted by any known historical fact. There is no evidence from any historical source that indicates any statement of fact in our passage is incorrect.

The "problem" which this passage has posed is the result of our lack of historical information outside Luke and of several assumptions which have been made about the relation of these events to similar ones in secular sources. The foundation of the critics' attacks on Luke is a false correlation of his account with Josephus' account of the later census in AD 6. The correlation rests on two facts: (1) a census in Judea, and (2) the mention of the name of Quirinius. It ignores Luke's words "this is the first census made while Quirinius was ruling Syria."

Since we do not have any other historical data about the circumstances of the census during Herod's reign, we are forced to seek analogies to similar events from the same period and area if we are to confirm or dispute this account. In doing so we have found that every statement in the passage, properly understood, can be substantiated by similarity to other documented occurrences.

Although such verification of the accuracy of Scriptural statements is heartening, we must realize that our convictions about the authority of the Bible do not and cannot rest solely on historical or archeological research. We must base our belief in the complete truthfulness of Scripture on its own statements and claims about itself, and such evidence as the Bible supplies that it is what it claims to be.18 The conclusions of historical study do indeed strengthen the case for the reliability of the Bible and should be used insofar as they are helpful, but the demand by the Word of God for our obedience and trust is total and immediate, thus far beyond the ability of scholarship to supply.
 
 

APPENDIX

1. Inscription "Lapis Tiburtinus":

(BELLUM GESSIT CUM GENTE HOMONADENSIM QUAE INTERFECERAT AMYNTAM R)EGUM QUA REDACTA IN POT(ESTATEM IMP. CAESARIS) AUGUSTI POPULIQUE ROMANI SENATU(S DIS IMMORTALIBUS) SUPPLICATIONES BINAS OB RES PROSP(ERE AB EO GESTAS ET) IPSI ORNAMENTA TRIUMPH(ALIA DECRUIT) PRO CONSUL ASIAM PROVINCIAM OP(TINUIT PR. PR.) DIVI AUGUSTI (I)TERUM SYRIAM ET PH(OENICEN OPTINUIT).

2. Inscription " Lapis Venetus":

IUSSU QUIRINI CENSUM EGI APAMENAE CIVITATUS MILLIUM HOMINUM CIVIUM CXVII. IDEM MISSU QUIRINI ADVERSUS ITRURAEOS IN LIBANO MONTE CASTELLUM EORUM CEPI.

3. Inscription from base of statue at Pisidian Antioch:

C. CARISTA(NIO) C.F. SER. FRONT(ONI) CAESIANO IULI(O) PRAEF(ECTO) FAB(RUM) PONT(IFICI) SACERDOTI PRAEFECTO P. SULPICI QUIRINI DUUMV(IRI) PRAERECTA M. SERVILI HUIC PRIMO OMNIUM PUBLICE D(ECURIONUM) D(ECRETO) STATUA POSITA EST.

4. Papyrus Edict of C. Vibius Maximus, AD 104: (transliterated Greek)

G(AIOS YI)BIO(S MAXIMOS EPA)RC(OS) AIGYPT(OY LEGEI) THS KAT' OI(KIAN APOGRAFHS E)NESTW(SHS) ANAGKAION (ESTIN PASIN TOI)S KATH' H(NTINA) DHPOTE AIT(IAN EKSTASI TWN HEAUTWN) NOMON PROSA(GGELLE)STHAI EPA(NEL)THEIN EIS TA HEAU(TWN E)FESTIA HIN(A) KAI THN SUNHTHH (OI)KONOMIAN TH(S APO)GRAFES PLHRWSWSIN KAI TH PROS(HKOU)SH AUTOIS GEWRGIAI PROSKARTERHSO(SIN).

REFERENCES
  1. Luke's use of dogma "decree" exactly corresponds to the technical meaning of the term as used for Imperial decrees.
  2. Michael Rostovzeff, Rome (New York: Oxford, 1960), p. 202.
  3. Ibid., p. 173.
  4. Ethelbert Stauffer, Jesus and His Story (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1960) p. 23.
  5. Josephus, Antiquities 18.1.1.
  6. A. Higgins, "Sidelights on Christian Beginnings in the Graeco-Roman World," Evangelical Quarterly 16 (1944), 200.
  7. William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1953), p. 238.
  8. There is a possibility that "twice" refers to the appointment rather than to the same province twice. See A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978), p. 164.
  9. Ramsay, Bearing of Recent Discovery, p. 281.
  10. Sherwin-White, Roman Society, p. 164.
  11. Stauffer, Jesus and His Story, p. 29.
  12. Ramsay, Bearing of Recent Discovery, p 279.
  13. Stauffer, Jesus and His Story, p. 18.
  14. C. F. Evans, "Tertullian's References to Sentius Saturninus and the Lukan Census," Journal of Theological Studies 24 (1973), 24.
  15. Stauffer, Jesus and His Story, p. 24.
  16. Ibid., p. 28.
  17. Josephus, Antiquities 18.1.1.
  18. See, for instance, John W. Montgomery, ed., Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question (Dallas: Probe/Word, 1991).

 
 

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