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Thread: "An Uncensored Guide to the Christmas Stories"

  1. Top | #31
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    How can Luke and Matthew definitively contradict each other on the date of Jesus' birth when neither stipulates the year or any specific timeline connected to that year?

    Latter day competing opinions and guesses about the date can certainly contradict each other, but there is no contradiction in the actual text itself.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    How can Luke and Matthew definitively contradict each other on the date of Jesus' birth when neither stipulates the year or any specific timeline connected to that year?

    Latter day competing opinions and guesses about the date can certainly contradict each other, but there is no contradiction in the actual text itself.
    It's true that neither Gospel Author mentioned a year of Jesus' birth. But both did mention historical events or persons from which we can deduce a given year. If someone said she was breast-fed by her mother while watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, we can deduce that she was born in 1968 or 1969.

    Luke says that Jesus was born while Quirinius was governing Syria. We know from non-Biblical sources that Quirinius did not take his position in Judea until after Archelaus, and Archelaus came after Herod the Great. Even Matthew confirms that.

    Matthew, on the other hand, has Herod the Great in power at the time Jesus was born. So even if we didn't know the exact year of any historical event, we still see a contradiction: Matthew writes that Jesus was born before Herod died, and Luke has it after.

    But we do know several dates of ancient events. Herod died in 4 B.C., and Quirinius assumed power in 6 A.D. These are confirmed by non-biblical writers such as Josephus and Cassius Dio.

  3. Top | #33
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Nope. These are your interpretations of the ambiguity in Luke and Matt. coupled with extrabiblical documents that are similarly unclear as to exact dates. Quirinius can easily be described as taking (effective/actual) power over a wide range of dates - especially if he held the position more than once.

    Show me the biblically precise date equivalent of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Josephus wrote:

    In the tenth year of Archelaus's government the leading men in Judaea and Samaria could not endure his cruelty and tyranny and accused him before Caesar...and when Caesar heard this, he went into a rage...and sent Archelaus into exile...to Vienna, and took away his property.
    (Antiquities of the Jews, 17.342-4)

    So that's ten years from the end of Herod to the exile of Archelaus when Quirinius took over and continued the census. When did the census occur?

    Quirinius made an account of Archelaus' property and finished conducting the census, which happened in the thirty-seventh year after Caesar's defeat of Antony at Actium.
    (Antiquities of the Jews, 18.26)

    The Battle_of_Actium occurred in September, 31 B.C, and that was a major historical event, confirmed in histories, inscriptions, and coins. Quirinius' census happened "in the thirty-seventh year" afterwards. Using the modern reckoning of B.C. and A.D., 31 B.C. plus 37 years provides us with Jesus being born in 6 A.D., some ten years after Herod (the man who Matthew reports tried to have him killed) had died.

  5. Top | #35
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Sure, but we KNOW from the Bible that people were being resurrected at about that time; So OBVIOUSLY Herod could have come back to life in 6AD.

    /desperateapologetics

  6. Top | #36
    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    ....there is no contradiction in the actual text itself.
    What about what the crowd was saying at a festival that Jesus' brothers attended (John 7:10)?
    (post 21)
    ...In John 7:41-42, people in a crowd say that Jesus isn't the Messiah because he comes from Galilee rather than Bethlehem. Those people also said that Jesus wasn't a descendent of King David. No one is said to correct them, nor does the author of John....
    So people in the crowd are explicitly saying that Jesus is NOT from Bethlehem (or David) and no-one, including the author of John, corrects them implying that Jesus was not in fact born in Bethlehem (or a descendent of David). Though in Matthew and Luke he is (told in different ways including the different genealogies regarding David), to prove he is the Messiah. (in John being from Bethlehem and David was a requirement of being the Messiah)

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