Monday, December 01, 2008

Luke's Census

Last year, I did a six-part series on some neglected evidence relevant to the census of Luke 2. If anybody is interested, here are links to all six parts: one, two, three, four, five, and six.


  1. I know that Robert Sungenis' scholarship is not completely trustworthy. Especially now with the whole controversy over his views on Jewish conspiracies. Something which even many of his fellow Catholics are urging him to stop writing about.

    Nevertheless, he claims in one of his articles that it's a little known fact that Joesphus has two dates for the death of Herod. If that's true, then doesn't that radically affect whether Luke's dating of the census is right or wrong? Here's the quote, "Thanks to the work of Hugues de Nanteuil, we have found that the modern critics are wrong. Little known (or advertised by modern scholars) is that Josephus had two different dates for the death of Herod, and the interpretation of the source containing 4 B.C. is highly debatable. In Herod’s other work, he says Herod died in 7 or 8 BC."

    Quote taken from this link:

    Unfortunately, Sungenis doesn't do much in documenting his claim. I hope someone can get to the bottom of this. If it's true that Josephus did have two different dates, then Luke cannot be accused of clearly making a historical error.

  2. Thanks, Annoyed Pinoy. I'm familiar with the dispute over when Herod died and when Josephus dates his death, but I haven't followed the dispute in depth. Richard Carrier addresses the subject in his article that I linked in my series. My impression is that most scholars, including most conservatives, accept the 5-4 B.C. date range. I accept it, but it's an issue I don't know a lot about.