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Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:27 pm

Arch was so driven to distraction that he resorted to inventing a second man named 'Quirinius.'
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Post by Digit » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:28 pm

Actually the Disciples wouldn't have dated anything to BC or AD, they would have dated things to reference points that their readers would have understood.

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:40 pm

Minimalist wrote:Arch was so driven to distraction that he resorted to inventing a second man named 'Quirinius.'
This is not a new "problem". Its been discussed and bandied about for centuries, actually. We need to also make sure the secular history is based on good sources.
Digit wrote: Actually the Disciples wouldn't have dated anything to BC or AD, they would have dated things to reference points that their readers would have understood.
Yes. Good point. I am not sure what the Julian year was. Todays Julian calenders use 4712(?) bce as a zero point. The jews did, and still use anno mundi.

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:43 pm

It appears I am at a decided disavantage in this debate. All you need to do is dig up your old posts with Arch. I need to break new ground for me. Perhaps, I should mail Arch for some references?

Nah..you've seen all his already.

:wink:

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Post by Digit » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:49 pm

Jewish festivals occur on the same date each year, but the year is a lunar one with a year being either 12 or 13 months long so that the Jewish dates move relative to Gregorian calandar. The disciples, where they mention a birth date, simply refer to 'in the time of Herod the King,' the various dates for the Nativity are of course scholarly attempts to find a date based on what references they can find.

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:04 pm

Funnily enough, either by design or chance, the bible in its entirety, never mentions a standard calendrical date by which it can be calibrated. Occasionally there will be a relative date such as "in the 'x' year of king so and so". The book of Jubilees (a non canonical book) uses an anno mundi system calibrated by sabbath (each 7 years) and jubilee years (year after 7 sabbatical years) but if you attempt to follow it you are likely to get lost quite quickly as IMO, some of it just doesn't work out correctly.
:x

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Post by Minimalist » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:26 pm

Digit wrote:Actually the Disciples wouldn't have dated anything to BC or AD, they would have dated things to reference points that their readers would have understood.


I don't think anyone is trying to imply that they used the Dionysus Exiguus system. This is just based on the presumed date of Herod's death 4 BC and Quirinius' governorship of Syria (6 AD).
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Post by Minimalist » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:39 pm

Perhaps, I should mail Arch for some references?

Nah..you've seen all his already.

He does still read this thread.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:40 pm

Well, Min it is very possible the Quirinius problem is not a problem at all, but merely a mistranslation of Luke 2:2. IMo properly, translated, the text does not require some other governor whose name sounded like Quirinius or two governorships. Here is the translation as I see it, taken from the greek text in the source I gave previously:

In verse 2:1 Luke says Ceasar Augustus has issued a decree that the world should be assessed (or taxed). Continuing in verse 2 -

autos e apogrphe protos ginomai hegemoneuo ho Suria Kurenios

autos = itself (reflexive pronoun)
e = (distinction)
apographe = assessment, taxing
proto = before (foremost in time)
ginomai = to become
hegemoneuo = ruler, governor
ho = (a definate article)
Suria = Syria
Kurenious = Quirinius

My translation:
this assessment, before Quirinius became governor of Syria

The key word is the Greek protos meaning coming first.

Next, I will try to find some evidence of a census or taxation, decreed under Ceasar Augustus.

:wink:

EDIT:
Having checked now deeper into alternative meanings of this text, it could equally be rendered:
This assessment became most prominent (important) when Quirinius became governor of Syria.

But in either case, the necessity of Quirinius being governor in 6-4bce is negated.
Last edited by Forum Monk on Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Minimalist » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:00 pm

before Quirinius became governor of Syria

However, "before" Quirinius became governor of Syria, Judaea was an independent kingdom under the rule of Archelaus, son of Herod the Great.
As a result of a petition by both Judaeans and Samaritans, the Divine Augustus heard their pleas and removed Archelaus as king and graciously granted their appeal to become a Roman Prefecture. As part of that appeal, the governor of Syria was compelled to take a census. So, how could Quirinius take a census before he got there to take the census?

For that matter, of what interest would an alleged Galilean carpenter from the alleged city of Nazareth (which does not appear to have existed in the early 1st century AD., anyway) have in a "census" which was taking place in Judaea? It was a different country, still ruled by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, and which continued independent until 44 AD...some time after the alleged crucifixion of the alleged Jesus.

Why would the alleged Joseph load his allegedly pregnant (although not by him) wife on his alleged ass and travel all the way to the alleged Bethlehem? Did he like paying taxes? Was he stupid??
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Post by Minimalist » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:00 pm

P.S.

Good luck with the "world wide taxation decree."

:wink:



Edit in reply to your edit: From the earlier source.
Some have tried to argue that the Greek of Luke actually might mean a census "before" the reign of Quirinius rather than the "first" census in his reign. As to this, even Sherwin-White remarks that he has "no space to bother with the more fantastic theories...such as that of W. Heichelheim's (and others') suggestion (Roman Syria, 161) that prôtê in Luke iii.2 means proteron, [which] could only be accepted if supported by a parallel in Luke himself."[10.1] He would no doubt have elaborated if he thought it worthwhile to refute such a "fantastic" conjecture. For in fact this argument is completely disallowed by the rules of Greek grammar. First of all, the basic meaning is clear and unambiguous, so there is no reason even to look for another meaning. The passage says hautê apographê prôtê egeneto hêgemoneuontos tês Syrias Kyrêniou, or with interlinear translation, hautê(this) apographê(census) prôtê[the] (first) egeneto(happened to be) hêgemoneuontos[while] (governing) tês Syrias(Syria) Kyrêniou[was] (Quirinius). The correct word order, in English, is "this happened to be the first census while Quirinius was governing Syria." This is very straightforward, and all translations render it in such a manner.
Last edited by Minimalist on Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:13 pm

Minimalist wrote:So, how could Quirinius take a census before he got there to take the census?
He didn't. This particular census you refer to was a critical one which may have ultimately led to a revolt in 60ce.
For that matter, of what interest would an alleged Galilean carpenter from the alleged city of Nazareth (which does not appear to have existed in the early 1st century AD., anyway) have in a "census" which was taking place in Judaea?
If true, it adds weight to the fact that was another asseeement prior to Quirinius which involved the entire empire or at minimum the entire region.


One thing is certain, it was either a census, a taxation or both, since the words seem to be used interchangeably. Would there not have been regular intervals when taxes were due?

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:14 pm

Minimalist wrote:P.S.

Good luck with the "world wide taxation decree."

:wink:
Thanks. I'll check sometime tomorrow.

:)

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Post by Forum Monk » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:30 pm

Minimalist wrote:Edit in reply to your edit: From the earlier source.
Some have tried to argue that the Greek of Luke actually might mean a census "before" the reign of Quirinius rather than the "first" census in his reign. As to this, even Sherwin-White remarks that he has "no space to bother with the more fantastic theories...such as that of W. Heichelheim's (and others') suggestion (Roman Syria, 161) that prôtê in Luke iii.2 means proteron, [which] could only be accepted if supported by a parallel in Luke himself."[10.1] He would no doubt have elaborated if he thought it worthwhile to refute such a "fantastic" conjecture. For in fact this argument is completely disallowed by the rules of Greek grammar. First of all, the basic meaning is clear and unambiguous, so there is no reason even to look for another meaning. The passage says hautê apographê prôtê egeneto hêgemoneuontos tês Syrias Kyrêniou, or with interlinear translation, hautê(this) apographê(census) prôtê[the] (first) egeneto(happened to be) hêgemoneuontos[while] (governing) tês Syrias(Syria) Kyrêniou[was] (Quirinius). The correct word order, in English, is "this happened to be the first census while Quirinius was governing Syria." This is very straightforward, and all translations render it in such a manner.
Its not at all straightforward.
Luke 2:2 αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου.
Translations usually end up rendering this verse as:

This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. (NET)
Apart from all the historical quandries involved (e.g. Quirinius did his census around AD 6, not around 6 BC when Jesus was born), this verse is also exegetically challenging.

The difficulties in Luke 2:2 have led to a number of proposals, but many are worse than the text they are trying to interpret. In particular, I disagree with the attempt to read πρώτη as a comparative ("before" or "earlier") followed by a genitive of comparison to get something like "before Quirinius was governing Syria" because Κυρηνίου has to be the subject of a genitive absolute ἡγεμονεύοντος.

Nevertheless, the standard interpretion still leaves me cold with a number of problems, the chief among them is why would Luke specify that it was πρώτη ("first"). If Luke merely wanted to tell when the registration happened, presumably under Quirinius (c. AD 6), there is little need to use πρώτη. What does that word do for the text? Of course, the census under Quirinius was hugely important. Josephus had recognized it as as a major factor ultimately leading to the Jewish War in the 60s. In fact, this census is so important that Luke could merely refer to it in Acts 5:37 as "the census" τῆς ἀπογραφῆς.

Another problem for me is the rather weak rendering of ἐγένετο as "was." It seems that ἦν would do a better job. Also, it is difficult to figure out what belongs in the subject and what belongs in the predicate.

I would suggest that Eph. 6:2

"τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα" ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ
is a very helpful syntactic and semantic analogy for Luke 2:2. In particular, we have a pronoun + noun + πρώτη + adv., a very similar sentence structure to Luke 2:2, withthe chief difference is the location and root of the verb, ἐστὶν vs ἐγένετο.

Eph. 6:2 is usually translated as:

"Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with a promise." (NRSV)
But Danker in the 4th edition of the New Testament Greek lexicon disagrees with rendering πρώτη as "first" here because it "loses sight of the fact that Ex 20:4-6=Dt 5:8-10 has an implied promise of the same kind as the one one in Ex 20:12=Dt5:16." Danker concludes that πρώτη "here is best taken in the same sense as in Mk 12:29 above."

Mark 12:28 has ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων; which means "Which commandment is greatest of all?" and definitely not "which commandment is chronologically first of all?" Thus, Eph. 6:2 should mean something like "which is the greatest commandment with a promise."

Danker identifies two major senses for this adjective: (1) being first in sequence, time, number, or space, and (2) being first in prominence or importance. Many examples of the second sense can be found in Luke's writings, e.g. Luke 15:22 "[my] best robe"; Luke 13:30 (first vs. last); Acts 17:4 "quite a few prominent women" (NET); Acts 13:50 "the prominent men in the city"; Luke 19:47 "the prominent leaders of the people" etc.

This second sense gives full force to the γίνομαι as "become" (experience a change in nature) and Luke loves using adj. + γίνομαι (e.g. Luke 23:31, Acts 1:19, 9:42, 12:23, 16:27, 19:17, and 26:19 [exx. from BDAG]). Thus, πρώτη ἐγένετο would mean "became most prominent." Using the sense of "most prominent" in Luke 2:2 αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου, we get either, depending on whether ἀπογραφὴ goes into the subject or the predicate:

This registration became most prominent when Quirinius was governing Syria.
or

This [decree to get registered] became the/a most important registration when Quirinius was governing Syria.
How I would understand Luke 2:2 in its context?

I think that it is a parenthetical digression to the effect that, though Joseph's travel to Bethlehem was occasioned by Augustus's decree (i.e. the registration of 8 BC), the most important registration from Augustus's policies was the one that took place when Quirinius was governor (and that led to the revolts in Galilee). Thus Luke is distinguishing the registration that Joseph obeyed from that most prominent one in AD 6, not confusing it.

The reason this parenthetical would have been important is the view that Josephus published in his books on the Jewish War in 75 or so and in his Jewish Antiquities around 93, identifying the AD 6 census as a major cause of the Jewish War sixty years later.
:wink:

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Post by Minimalist » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:43 pm

Forum Monk wrote:
Minimalist wrote:So, how could Quirinius take a census before he got there to take the census?
He didn't. This particular census you refer to was a critical one which may have ultimately led to a revolt in 60ce.

One thing is certain, it was either a census, a taxation or both, since the words seem to be used interchangeably. Would there not have been regular intervals when taxes were due?

No. Herod the Great ruled an independent kingdom. Any tribute he paid to Rome was by tribute and set by treaty...or at least some negotiation. The Romans would not have given a rat's ass how he raised the money. Upon his death, his sons' status as independent kings was maintained. It was not until 6 AD that Judaea and Sarmaria petitioned to become a Roman prefecture. At that time, in the words of Josephus....
1. 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; but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it

Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book XVIII Chapter 1 [/quote]

It would be a long time from 6 AD to 66 when the Great Revolt broke out and there were problems later on, during the reigns of Claudius and Nero.


For that matter, of what interest would an alleged Galilean carpenter from the alleged city of Nazareth (which does not appear to have existed in the early 1st century AD., anyway) have in a "census" which was taking place in Judaea?
If true, it adds weight to the fact that was another asseeement prior to Quirinius which involved the entire empire or at minimum the entire region.

Not possible given the fact of the quasi-independent status of Herod the Great and his sons.

In fact, such a census did not occur until 74 AD, under Emperor Vespasian who inherited an empire which was bled dry by several years of Civil War and the mis-management of Nero. Most likely, Luke (or whoever) writing well after the events he claims to describe, merely assumed that prior census effots had been like the one of 74. They were not.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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