2:1-3 (King James Version) 1ďAnd it
came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar
Augustus that all the world should be taxed.2 (And
this taxing was first made when Cyrenius(Quirinius) was governor of Syria.)3 And
all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.Ē
was Caesar Augustus? He had to be in existence around 4 BCE.
Octavius, subsequently known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and still later as Augustus
or Caesar Augustus, was the first Roman emperor following the
republic, which had been finally destroyed by the dictatorship of Julius
Caesar, his great-uncle and adoptive father. Gaius Octavius
was born on September 23, 63
BCE, of a prosperous family that had long been settled at Velitrae
(Velletri), southeast of Rome.
Oxford History of the Biblical World
says upon the death of Herod in 4 BCE, the Jews in Jerusalem rebelled in reaction to the
executions of the scribes Judas and Matthias. Archelaus
sent in troops, and a massacre of the local population ensued. When he left for
revolt erupted in Judea. This time Varus, the Roman governor of Syria quelled the conflict and left
a legion in Jerusalem
as insurance against further outbreaks. However sporadic outbreaks continued,
especially in Galilee and Perea.
Varus returned and crushed the resistance, and
crucified over two thousand Jewish rebels. This presence of Roman troops in Judea facilitated Archelausí
removal from office in 6 CE.
so many complaints from Judea and Samaria, Augustus
banished Herodís first heir to Gaul. Judea and Samaria
were incorporated into the province
of Syria and consequently
fell under the authority of a succession of roman governors. This is an important
statement, because Jesus was born BEFORE Herodís death in 4 BCE and Judea and Samaria
were NOT part of Syria.
avoid further rebellion Rome
reserved the right to name the high priest, the Sadducees and to control the
priestly vestments needed for the celebration of major holidays. The Sadducees,
unlike the Hyrcanus priesthood, had no sympathy for
the populationís economic situation or religious sensibilities. Their policies
of raising taxes, bringing Roman standards into Jerusalem, raiding the Temple treasury, and other such provocations
would eventually lead to a full rebellion against Rome.†
began almost immediately with Romeís
demand for a census. Inaugurated by Augustus for all provinces, this practice
enabled the empire to determine taxation rates for land, material goods, and
Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historian, mentions the census under P. SulpiciusQuirinius, which he
dates to the thirty-seventh year after the battle of Actium,
or 6/7 CE. As told in the gospel of Luke, this was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was
governor of Syria.
the dates provided by Josephus and Luke are not reconcilable. Luke 1:5 depicts
the census as occurring during the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 BCE.
Luke was in error in his 'godly' inspired gospel and this was notthe first census and there was an earlier census
under Herod prior to the incorporation of his territory into the provincial
system, there is no supporting historical evidence.
, in a speech
attributed to Gamaliel confirms that Judas, the
Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him.
According to Josephus, Judas, originally from Gamala
in Galilee, protested against the census held
Christianity has a big problem here: Luke states
that the census decreed by Augustus was the first one taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. However, Quirinius
did not become governor of Syria
until CE 6, two years after the death of Herod.†
Again, Luke's historical record is not historical. †
"Faith does not give you the answers, it just
stops you asking the questions." -FraterRavus