Luke 2:2

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This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. (ASV)


To Do:

1) Fixed Chronology and related support.
2) List online references to Richard Carrier's related article at Internet Infidels at the following EW Page:

Carrier Online References

JW: The Pro argument as it stands is primarily a Defensive argument. It's mainly a Reaction to CTT's argument which is itself a Reaction to a Pro argument. Offensive arguments directly explain Why there is error. Too much Interaction with the related Con argument can distract from the effectiveness of the Pro argument.

Pro arguments at ErrancyWiki should primarily be Offensive. Let's construct an Offensive argument in the Pro section here and use Richard Carrier's related detailed article:

as a Source to first create an Outline of an Offensive argument.

--JoeWallack 09:58, 24 Jun 2006 (CDT)

Offensive Argument For Error


JW: Let's go through the Evidence now for Dating and after each Reference I'll summarize the Significance for Dating. The Dating Evidence will provide Fixed and Relative Evidence for the respective Dating of Jesus' birth by "Luke" and "Matthew".


Luke 2:

1 "Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled.
2 This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And all went to enrol themselves, every one to his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;
5 to enrol himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him, being great with child.
6 And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.
9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people:
11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord."

JW: Per "Luke" Jesus is born sometime after Quirinius became governor of Syria.


JW: Ultimately Josephus will be the primary evidence that there is Contradiction here between "Luke" and "Matthew". So the relative Weight of Josephus will have to be compared to the Weight of "Luke".

Antiquities of the Jews


"[342] But in the tenth year of Archelaus's government, both his brethren, and the principal men of Judea and Samaria, not being able to bear his barbarous and tyrannical usage of them, accused him before Caesar, and that especially because they knew he had broken the commands of Caesar, which obliged him to behave himself with moderation among them. Whereupon Caesar, when he heard it, was very angry, and called for Archelaus's steward, who took care of his affairs at Rome, and whose name was Archelaus also; and thinking it beneath him to write to Archelaus, he bid him sail away as soon as possible, and bring him to us: so the man made haste in his voyage, and when he came into Judea, he found Archelaus feasting with his friends; so he told him what Caesar had sent him about, and hastened him away. And when he was come [to Rome], Caesar, upon hearing what certain accusers of his had to say, and what reply he could make, both banished him, and appointed Vienna, a city of Gaul, to be the place of his habitation, and took his money away from him."

JW: Probably most important to the Pro argument Josephus tells us that Archelaus reigned ten years.


"[354] Now I did not think these histories improper for the present discourse, both because my discourse now is concerning kings, and otherwise also on account of the advantage hence to be drawn, as well for the confirmation of the immortality of the soul, as of the providence of God over human affairs, I thought them fit to be set down; but if any one does not believe such relations, let him indeed enjoy his own opinion, but let him not hinder another that would thereby encourage himself in virtue. So Archelaus's country was laid to the province of Syria; and Cyrenius, one that had been consul, was sent by Caesar to take account of people's effects in Syria, and to sell the house of Archelaus."

JW: We are told that Archelaus' Kingdom was made part of the Syrian Province and Quirinius was put in charge of the liguidation of Archelaus' estate.



NOW Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to he a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance. Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus's money;"

JW: We are told that Quirinius was sent to be in charge of Syria at this time, to inventory Judea and dispose of Archelaus' assets.


"[26] WHEN Cyrenius had now disposed of Archelaus's money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of Caesar's victory over Antony at Actium, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood, which dignity had been conferred on him by the multitude, and he appointed Ananus, the son of Seth, to be high priest; while Herod and Philip had each of them received their own tetrarchy, and settled the affairs thereof."

JW: We are told that Quirinius settled Archelaus' estate and concluded a taxation Census. Josephus again provides a Fixed date and multiple time references.


"[100] Then came Tiberius Alexander as successor to Fadus; he was the son of Alexander the alabarch of Alexandria, which Alexander was a principal person among all his contemporaries, both for his family and wealth: he was also more eminent for his piety than this his son Alexander, for he did not continue in the religion of his country. Under these procurators that great famine happened in Judea, in which queen Helena bought corn in Egypt at a great expense, and distributed it to those that were in want, as I have related already. And besides this, the sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews, as we have showed in a foregoing book."

JW: We are told that there was a revolt when Quirinius conducted a Census with the Implication being this was the only related Census under Quirinius.

Wars Of The Jews


"[665] So Herod, having survived the slaughter of his son five days, died, having reigned thirty-four years since he had caused Antigonus to be slain, and obtained his kingdom; but thirty-seven years since he had been made king by the Romans. Now as for his fortune, it was prosperous in all other respects, if ever any other man could be so, since, from a private man, he obtained the kingdom, and kept it so long, and left it to his own sons; but still in his domestic affairs he was a most unfortunate man. Now, before the soldiers knew of his death, Salome and her husband came out and dismissed those that were in bonds, whom the king had commanded to be slain, and told them that he had altered his mind, and would have every one of them sent to their own homes. When these men were gone, Salome, told the soldiers [the king was dead], and got them and the rest of the multitude together to an assembly, in the amphitheater at Jericho, where Ptolemy, who was intrusted by the king with his signet ring, came before them, and spake of the happiness the king had attained, and comforted the multitude, and read the epistle which had been left for the soldiers, wherein he earnestly exhorted them to bear good-will to his successor; and after he had read the epistle, he opened and read his testament, wherein Philip was to inherit Trachonitis, and the neighboring countries, and Antipas was to be tetrarch, as we said before, and Archelaus was made king."

JW: Note that Josephus provides corraborating information in another Source here, Wars Of The Jews. Confirmation that the Kingdom passed from Herod to Archelaus.



[117] AND now Archelaus's part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of [life and] death put into his hands by Caesar. Under his administration it was that a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said they were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans and would after God submit to mortal men as their lords. This man was a teacher of a peculiar sect of his own, and was not at all like the rest of those their leaders."

JW: Cofirmation that Archelaus' Judea kingdom was made part of a Province and Coponius, mentioned before as taking control of Syria with Quirinius, was put in charge of Judea.


"[433] In the mean time, one Manahem, the son of Judas, that was called the Galilean, (who was a very cunning sophister, and had formerly reproached the Jews under Cyrenius, that after God they were subject to the Romans,)"

JW: Another reference to Resistance to Quirinius.


"[252] WHEN Bassus was dead in Judea, Flavius Silva succeeded him as procurator there; who, when he saw that all the rest of the country was subdued in this war, and that there was but one only strong hold that was still in rebellion, he got all his army together that lay in different places, and made an expedition against it. This fortress was called Masada. It was one Eleazar, a potent man, and the commander of these Sicarii, that had seized upon it. He was a descendant from that Judas who had persuaded abundance of the Jews, as we have formerly related, not to submit to the taxation when Cyrenius was sent into Judea to make one;"

JW: And finally, reference to Resistance to a Taxation administered by Quirinius on Judea and again, Implication that there was only one related Census under Quirinius.

Regarding the Quirinius census of Judea in General, there is evidence that "Luke" used Josephus as a Source as evidenced by this article:

Luke and Josephus (2000)

which if true is even more evidence that "Luke" intentionally referred to the same Quirinius census as Josephus.

We can even come close to the length of "Luke's" Jesus' life if we assume that chronological Time Markers in "Luke" have Josephus as a Source. "Luke" states that Jesus was about thirty when he began his career which per "Luke" appears to have lasted for about one year. The Key related Chronological Markers from "Luke" are:

1) Jesus was born during the Quirinius' census which according to Josephus started around 6 CE.

2) Based on the Lukan Narrative Jesus would have been about 31 when he died.

3) "Luke" places John the Baptist's death in the year of Jesus' Ministry.

4) John the Baptist died around 36 CE according to Josephus.

5) "Luke" thus places Jesus' death around 37 CE.



"6 These were the events in the city that year. In Achaia the governor died in the middle of his term and instructions were given to his quaestor and to his assessor (whom, as I have stated, we call envoy) for the former to administer the province as far as the Isthmus and the other the remainder. Herod of Palestine, who was accused by his brothers of some wrongdoing or other, was banished beyond the Alps and a portion of the domain was confiscated to the state."

JW: Here we have some independent confirmation of Josephus. Archelaus (Herod) is removed and his territory goes to Rome. Following is related commentary by Richard Carrier:

"[3.5] Roman History 55.27 (begun in 202 and completed around 235 A.D.). Dio's history is annalistic (it covers events year by year), and for the year 6 he reports that Archelaus' brothers accused him before Augustus who then deposed him and annexed his territory to Syria. He clearly does not have his account from Josephus because Dio says he does not know why Archelaus was deposed (though he should if he had read Josephus), does not call him Archelaus but Herod the Palestinian (his political name; Josephus uses only his real name), and implicates his brothers as his accusers even though Josephus only mentions "leading men in Judaea and Samaria."


First Apology


"CHAPTER XXXIV -- PLACE OF CHRIST'S BIRTH FORETOLD. And hear what part of earth He was to be born in, as another prophet, Micah, foretold. He spoke thus: "And thou, Bethlehem, the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall come forth a Governor, who shall feed My people." Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judaea."

JW: As an Apologist Justin lacks the Positive qualities which give weight to a Historian like Josephus. For what it's worth though he gives his understanding that Jesus was born when Quirinius made a Census.


"CHAPTER XLVI -- THE WORD IN THE WORLD BEFORE CHRIST. But lest some should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius"

JW: If you work out the years this confirms Josephus' dating of the Census. Thanks Justin.


" Chapter 13.

And it came to pass some little time after, that an enrolment was made according to the edict of Caesar Augustus, that all the world was to be enrolled, each man in his native place. This enrolment was made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria,28"

" Chapter 16.

And when the second year was past,40 Magi came from the east to Jerusalem, bringing great gifts. And they made strict inquiry of the Jews, saying: Where is the king who has been born to you? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. And word of this came to King Herod, and so alarmed him that he called together the scribes and the Pharisees, and the teachers of the people, asking of them where the prophets had foretold that Christ should be born."

JW: Note that the author's solution here is to have the Census under Quirinius first and later have Herod the Great's Massacre of the Innocents story.


""9 And in those days there went forth a decree from Augustus Caesar that all the people of his dominion should be enrolled. This first enrolment was while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And every man went to be enrolled in his city. And Joseph went up also from Nazareth, a city of Galilee, to Judaea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem (for he was of the house of David and of his tribe), with Arabic. Mary his betrothed, she being with child, to be enrolled there. And while she was there the days for her being delivered were accomplished. And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them where they were staying."

JW: Note that the author Tatian, the student of Justin Martyr, gives his understanding that Jesus was born during the Quirinius' census.




"Even Jesus, who was proclaimed among you, was one of Caesar's subjects. And if you do not believe me I will prove it a little later, or rather let me simply assert it now. However, you admit that with his father and mother he registered his name in the governorship of Cyrenius.72 |381"

JW: Julian comes relatively late and just repeats what he says is the Christian position but still it is some evidence that the understanding in Julian's time (4th century) was that Jesus was supposedly born while Quirinius was Governor. Keep in mind that the Christians destroyed/didn't preserve Julian's Against The Christians so "translations" have to be peaced together from carefully preserved Christian rebuttals like Frankenstein's monster.


On The Day Of The Birth Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ (translation from the dissertation of Beth Dunlop):


JW: Chrysostom is relatively late as a witness here (4th century) but should have a little extra weight regarding Syria. Note that he apparently refers to Justin's claim that the related record still exists in Rome and postures that it still is available in his time presumably because Justin said it was there 250 years ago. Sure, and some of John's best fiends are Jewish.



"After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the enrolment, and drew away [some of the] people after him: he also perished; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad."

JW: Note that "Luke" refers to "the enrolment" which is evidence that 2:2 referred to the only enrollment related to Quirinius.


Extant Coins are very good Dating evidence as presumably a Coin, unlike writings, could not be subject to Change (pun intended). As Richard Carrier indicates in his following Footnote, Roman coins for Judaea start at 6 CE and are stamped with the Regnal year of Augustus. This supports Josephus' account of Rome taking control of Judaea in 6 CE.

"For corroboration, coins minted in Judaea by Roman officials begin in A.D. 6 (Burnett, Roman Provincial Coinage, 1992, no. 4954: note that his supplemental volume corrects a typographical error: the coin in fact reads "Year 36 of Caesar," i.e. the 36th year after Actium or A.D. 5/6)."

--JoeWallack 10:19, 18 Aug 2006 (CDT)


Matthew 2:

1 "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,
2 Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel.
7 Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found [him,] bring me word, that I also may come and worship him.
9 And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned [of God] in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt;
15 and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt did I call my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise-men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had exactly learned of the Wise-men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
18 A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she would not be comforted, because they are not.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,
20 Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child`s life.
21 And he arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; and being warned [of God] in a dream, he withdrew into the parts of Galilee,"

JW: Per "Matthew" Jesus was born while Herod the Great was King.


Antiquities of the Jews


"[8] But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus, an Idumean, called Antipater, who was very rich, and in his nature an active and a seditious man; who was at enmity with Aristobulus, and had differences with him on account of his good-will to Hyrcanus. It is true that Nicolatls of Damascus says, that Antipater was of the stock of the principal Jews who came out of Babylon into Judea; but that assertion of his was to gratify Herod, who was his son, and who, by certain revolutions of fortune, came afterward to be king of the Jews, whose history we shall give you in its proper place hereafter."

JW: In order to consider the General Weight of an author, Provenance of the author must be identified. What do we know about an author? Generally, the more we know, the better the Provenance and the greater the Weight.

Generally, we can tell from the above, that Josephus writes like a Historian and is interested in Herod's family and leaders/rulers of the time and area. Specifically, Josephus appears to give a Source for some of his information here, Nicolatis of Damascus, which again has the Mark of a Historian.


" Antony also feasted Herod the first day of his reign. And thus did this man receive the kingdom, having obtained it on the hundred and eighty-fourth olympiad, when Caius Domitius Calvinus was consul the second time, and Caius Asinius Pollio [the first time]."

JW: Josephus gives a fixed year for the start of Herod's reign and provides multiple corroborating dating. Again, the Mark of an Historian.


"[487] This destruction befell the city of Jerusalem when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls of Rome 1 on the hundred eighty and fifth olympiad, on the third month, on the solemnity of the fast, as if a periodical revolution of calamities had returned since that which befell the Jews under Pompey; for the Jews were taken by him on the same day, and this was after twenty-seven years' time. So when Sosius had dedicated a crown of gold to God, he marched away from Jerusalem, and carried Antigonus with him in bonds to Antony; but Herod was afraid lest Antigonus should be kept in prison [only] by Antony, and that when he was carried to Rome by him, he might get his cause to be heard by the senate, and might demonstrate, as he was himself of the royal blood, and Herod but a private man, that therefore it belonged to his sons however to have the kingdom, on account of the family they were of, in case he had himself offended the Romans by what he had done. Out of Herod's fear of this it was that he, by giving Antony a great deal of money, endeavored to persuade him to have Antigonus slain, which if it were once done, he should be free from that fear. And thus did the government of the Asamoneans cease, a hundred twenty and six years after it was first set up. This family was a splendid and an illustrious one, both on account of the nobility of their stock, and of the dignity of the high priesthood, as also for the glorious actions their ancestors had performed for our nation; but these men lost the government by their dissensions one with another, and it came to Herod, the son of Antipater, who was of no more than a vulgar family, and of no eminent extraction, but one that was subject to other kings. And this is what history tells us was the end of the Asamonean family."

JW: Josephus gives us the backgound for Herod taking control of the Kingdom and more fixed dates.


"[174] And this account we give the reader, as it is contained in the commentaries of king Herod: but other historians do not agree with them,"

JW: Josephus identifies another Source, the commentaries of Herod, potentially the best source of information about Herod, and indicates an ability to critically evaluate Sources by noting disagreement with other historical accounts.


"HOW HEROD CELEBRATED THE GAMES THAT WERE TO RETURN EVERY FIFTH YEAR UPON THE BUILDING OF CESAREA; AND HOW HE BUILT AND ADORNED MANY OTHER PLACES AFTER A MAGNIFICENT MANNER; AND DID MANY OTHER ACTIONS GLORIOUSLY [136] ABOUT this time it was that Cesarea Sebaste, which he had built, was finished. The entire building being accomplished: in the tenth year, the solemnity of it fell into the twenty-eighth year of Herod's reign, and into the hundred and ninety-second olympiad."

JW: More Dates of Events and a recurring time marker, the Olympiad.


"And even Nicolaus 1 his historiographer makes mention of this monument built by Herod, though he does not mention his going down into the sepulcher, as knowing that action to be of ill repute; and many other things he treats of in the same manner in his book; for he wrote in Herod's lifetime, and under his reign, and so as to please him, and as a servant to him, touching upon nothing but what tended to his glory, and openly excusing many of his notorious crimes, and very diligently concealing them. And as he was desirous to put handsome colors on the death of Mariamne and her sons, which were barbarous actions in the king, he tells falsehoods about the incontinence of Mariamne, and the treacherous designs of his sons upon him; and thus he proceeded in his whole work, making a pompous encomium upon what just actions he had done, but earnestly apologizing for his unjust ones. Indeed, a man, as I said, may have a great deal to say by way of excuse for Nicolaus; for he did not so properly write this as a history for others, as somewhat that might be subservient to the king himself."

JW: Identification of a Source, Nicolaus, as the Official Biographer of Herod and more ability to critically evaluate a Source.



[188] AND now Herod altered his testament upon the alteration of his mind; for he appointed Antipas, to whom he had before left the kingdom, to be tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, and granted the kingdom to Archclaus. He also gave Gaulonitis, and Trachonitis, and Paneas to Philip, who was his son, but own brother to Archclaus 1 by the name of a tetrarchy; and bequeathed Jarnnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis to Salome his sister, with five hundred thousand [drachmae] of silver that was coined. He also made provision for all the rest of his kindred, by giving them sums of money and annual revenues, and so left them all in a wealthy condition. He bequeathed also to Caesar ten millions [of drachmae] of coined money, besides both vessels of gold and silver, and garments exceeding costly, to Julia, Caesar's wife; and to certain others, five millions. When he had done these things, he died, the fifth day after he had caused Antipater to be slain; having reigned, since he had procured Antigonus to be slain, thirty-four years; but since he had been declared king by the Romans, thirty-seven. 2"

Josephus testifies that Herod left his Kingdom to Archelaus and also indicates the total years of his reign.

Summary of the Qualifications of Josephus as a Historian:

1) Josephus has Provenance himself. He can be Placed in history.

2) Provides Detailed account of Herod's reign.

3) Provides Sources for his account:

    1) Nicolatis of Damascus
    2) Commentaries of King Herod

4) Provides potentially the Best possible Sources, Herod himself and his official biographer, Nicolatis.

5) Indicates ability to Critically evaluate sources.

6) Provides a Recurring Marker of time, the Olympiad.

7) Provides Comparative and Multiple Markers of time:

    1) Caius Domitius Calvinus was consul the second time
    2) Caius Asinius Pollio (was consul)
    3) Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls of Rome
    4) the thirty-seventh year of Caesar's victory over Antony at Actium

8) Provides a Starting date for Herod's reign.

9) Provides the Length of Herod's reign in years.

10) Corroborating evidence in a separate Work.


Geography Book XVI, Chapter 2*.html

"46 Now Pompey clipped off some of the territory that had been forcibly appropriated by the Judaeans, p299and appointed Herod121 to the priesthood; but later a certain Herod, a descendant of his and a native of the country, who slinked into the priesthood, was so superior to his predecessors, particularly in his intercourse with the Romans and in his administration of affairs of state, that he received the title of king, being given that authority first by Antony and later by Augustus Caesar. As for his sons, he himself put some of them to death, on the ground that they had plotted against him; and at his death left others as his successors, having assigned to them portions of his kingdom. Caesar also honoured the sons of Herod and his sister Salom� and her daughter Berenic�. However, his sons were not successful, but became involved in accusations; and one of them122 spent the rest of his life in exile, having taken up his abode among the Allobrogian Gauls, whereas the others,123 by much obsequiousness, but with difficulty, found leave to return home, with a tetrarchy assigned to each."


Appian, BC 5.75*.html

"75 After these events Octavian set forth on an expedition to Gaul, which was in a disturbed state, and Antony started for the war against the Parthians. The Senate having voted to ratify all that he had done or should do, Antony again despatched his lieutenants in all directions and arranged everything else as he wished. He set up kings here and there as he pleased, on condition of their paying a p507prescribed tribute: in Pontus, Darius, the son of Pharnaces and grandson of Mithridates: in Idumea and Samaria, Herod:"

JW: Appian confirms that Antony placed Herod as King and provides time Markers which confirm Josephus' account.


Other problems with "Luke's" non-census story making the specific Dating problem more likely to be non-Historical:

1) A general census by Augustus is otherwise unknown.

2) In a Roman census Joseph would not have to go to Bethlehem.

3) In a Roman census Mary would not have to go anywhere.

4) No Roman census would have been made in Israel during Herod the Great's reign.

Appian tells us that at least initially, Herod the Great was set up to pay a prescribed tribute:

Appian, BC 5.75

BC 5.75

"75 After these events Octavian set forth on an expedition to Gaul, which was in a disturbed state, and Antony started for the war against the Parthians. The Senate having voted to ratify all that he had done or should do, Antony again despatched his lieutenants in all directions and arranged everything else as he wished. He set up kings here and there as he pleased, on condition of their paying a p507prescribed tribute: in Pontus, Darius, the son of Pharnaces and grandson of Mithridates: in Idumea and Samaria, Herod:"

Strabo gives an example of Roman thinking regarding the advantages of permitting a local King to handle the Administration:

Geography 14.5

"[6] Then, after Corycus, one comes to Elaeussa, an island lying close to the mainland, which Archela�s settled, making it a royal residence,17 after he had received18 the whole of Cilicia Tracheia except Seleuceia--the same way in which it was obtained formerly by Amyntas19 and still earlier by Cleopatra;20 for since the region was naturally well adapted to the business of piracy both by land and by sea--by land, because of the height of the mountains and the large tribes that live beyond them, tribes which have plains and farm-lands that are large and easily overrun, and by sea, because of the good supply, not only of shipbuilding timber, but also of harbors and fortresses and secret recesses--with all this in view, I say, the Romans thought that it was better for the region to be ruled by kings than to be under the Roman prefects sent to administer justice, who were not likely always to be present or to have armed forces with them. Thus Archela�s received, in addition to Cappadocia, Cilicia Tracheia; and the boundary21 of the latter, the river Lamus and the village of the same name, lies between Soli and Elaeussa."

Other problems with taking "Luke" as History in General:

1) "Luke" primarily presents and emphasizes the Impossible. This impeaches the credibility of all Possible claims by this author.


Relative to each other "Luke's" Dating of the supposed birth of Jesus is at least ten years after "Matthew's" Dating of the birth of Jesus. The Key pieces of information are as follows:

1) Per "Matthew" Herod the Great was King when Jesus was born.

Pseudo-Matthew 16

2) Per "Matthew" Archelaus succeeded Herod the Great as to part of the Kingdom when Herod the Great died.

3) Per Josephus Archelaus ruled 10 years.

AJ 14.389 & 14.487 & Appian BC 5.75 (Herod the Great receives Kingdom),
AJ 17.191 & WJ 1.665 (succession by Archelaus of Herod the Great)
AJ 17.342
Roman coins minted in Judea (start around 6 CE which is when Quirinius became Governor of Syria)

4) Per Josephus Archelaus was removed and Quirinius was made responsible for his territory at the time Quirinius was made Governor of Syria.

AJ 17.342 (removal), 17.354, 18.1, 18.26, 20.102
Cassius Dio 55.27.6 (removal)
WJ 2.117 & 2.433 & 7.252 (census reaction)

5) Per "Luke" Jesus was born after Quirinius became Governor of Syria and started a Census.

Justin Martyr First Apology 1.34, 1.46
Pseudo-Matthew 13
Julian Against The Galileans

See also Luke vs. Matthew on the Year of Christ's Birth.

Quirinius did not become governor until 6 CE. His census occurred ten years after the death of Herod the Great, who died in 4BCE. This contradicts Matthew's claim that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod.

Conclusion "There is no way to rescue the Gospels of Matthew and Luke from contradicting each other on this one point of historical fact. The contradiction is plain and irrefutable, and stands as proof of the fallibility of the Bible, as well as the falsehood of one of the two New Testament accounts of the Nativity."

Opercularis 16:32, 26 Jan 2006 (CST)


The consensus of Bible scholarship is that "Luke" and "Matthew" contradict each other as to the dating of Jesus' birth. Specifically, Bart Ehrman writes in Jesus, Interrupted, page 33:

"If the Gospels are right that Jesus' birth occurred duriing Herod's reign, then Luke cannot also be right that it happened when Quirinius was the governor of Syria."

--JoeWallack 10:28, 20 May 2009 (EDT)


See CTT.

This article seems to be fully rebuttet by what it states in the PRO section. See : The Date of the Nativity in Luke by Richard Carrier

Opercularis 12:24, 31 Jan 2006 (CST)


Outside Defense arguments will be referenced here to separate ErrancyWiki pages with rebuttals and listed here in order of quality compared to each other:










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