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Thread: Luke as a modified version of Mark

  1. Top | #21
    Veteran Member funinspace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    But I'm glad you notice the important parts (supposed errors of Luke) that shouldn't be dismissed just because it's presented by a theist or apologist like Josh McDowell et al.
    Plenty of Christian theologians would disagree with McDowell's spin on details like the census, so it isn't 'just because' he's a theist...

    C.S. Lewis called the Deluge a fairy tale, yet he is a beloved Christian by so many.
    I may not agree with McDowell entirely either which is a normal thing (not that I place myself as in the same league of theologians), but what he presented seems to be a known variety of "issues" regarding Luke, among scholarly circles. I would think that rather than McDowell that you place your focus on, Sir Ramsay IS the top expert here, which McDowell highlights.
    Ramsay was certainly a well respected archeologist in his time, but that was also well over a century ago. I don't think it can be said that "IS the top expert", not that he isn't an expert. I'm also not really sure what Ramsay has said on this topic as the site you linked talks a lot about what McDowell said. And McDowell or the site gets real blurry on exactly who says what. Anywho, I thought I'd make a few points against what this site says in general.

    First, I'd like to quote from The New Oxford Annotated Bible; NRSV with the Apocrypha; An Ecumenical Study Bible; Copy right 2001. This is the opinion of a group of Christian theologians working with the best information available with their conclusions on the passage Luke 2:1-7.

    From the notes on 2.1-7: "1. General censuses of Roman citizens are known from 28 BCE, 8 BCE, and 14 CE; but outside the New Testament this enrollment under Caesar Augustus is not attested. Casear Augustus reigned 27 BCE - 14 CE. His rule marked a time of peace, the pax Augusta, which caused the populace to hail him as lord and savior of the world. 2: Quirinius was at this time legate or commissioner of Augustus in a war against a rebellious tribe, the Homonadenses. As such he was a military governor of Syria, while civil administration was in the hands of Varus. It is possible that Quirinius was affiliated with Syria as a governmental authority on two different occasions, 6-4 BCE and 4-9 CE."

    I'd like to bring up my 3 amigos: Possible, plausible, probable

    It seems that there are 3 major issues:
    1) Was there a census? I think at best on one can say this is possible, but not recorded in known history outside of Luke. See Oxford Bible reference above. With the level of Roman records we have, this doesn't seem to rate even as plausible.

    2) Was Quirinius in charge? He was not. Luke is simply wrong. Is is possible he had some other title/role, that has been missed? Sure that is possible, but again not really that plausible. Again, see the Oxford Bible.

    3) Was the a requirement to go to ancestral homes? Is this possible? Doesn't even seem logistically possible, but still in the realm of what if's, why not, as most anything is technically possible with silent evidence. The Egyptian reference below is firstly for Egypt, not the Empire. Secondly, it talks of returning to 'their homes' not 'their ancestral homes'. Thirdly, just how far removed was Joseph from any 'ancestral' family anchoring to Bethlehem? The answer of course is unknowable. But any census requiring people to migrate around to where their family had come from going back 50-500 years is simply ridiculous. It would be a nightmare in their day to consider such.

    Another reference that goes into details on Egyptian papyrus's, dates, and governors, that comports to my general summary.
    "Last, in regard to the practices of enrollment, a papyrus found in Egypt gives directions for the conduct of a census.

    "It reads: 'Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their homes should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment and that the tilled lands may retain those belonging to them.'"
    In totality, it seems one has to tie together 3 things that are best possible, but each are individually unlikely. The 3 together seem far less likely when linked together. The best argument seems to be that since we lack absolute proof that it didn't happen this way, Luke's version of this particular detail is still technically possible. Not much to hang one's hat on IMPOV...

  2. Top | #22
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    Cheers for that. Just need to catch up a bit.

  3. Top | #23
    Formerly Joedad
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    What exactly is meant by "return to their own governments?"

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