Thursday, November 14, 2013

Richard Bauckham On The Historicity Of Luke's Census And Luke 2:22-24

Here's a lecture Richard Bauckham recently delivered, concerning the historicity of Luke's infancy account. In addition to addressing issues of general reliability, he briefly discusses the census passage and, in more depth, Luke 2:22-24. He argues against the conclusions of scholars like Raymond Brown and Joseph Fitzmyer, who have taken a more negative view of the historicity of Luke's material. Here are some of Bauckham's concluding comments:

Luke, it turns out, knew the requirements of Torah a good deal better than his modern critics….

We do not know whether Joseph and Mary would have followed what the authors of the Mishna describe as the Shammaite interpretation of this law. As is often the case, we do not know which was the most prevalent interpretation of this law at this time or which was adopted by the Temple authorities. Luke deserves the benefit of the doubt.

I conclude that there is nothing historically implausible in this narrative. That does not prove that it is historical, but it does remove one objection, of which some scholars have made most, to the hypothesis that traditions from the family of Jesus form the core of Luke’s infancy narrative.

Read the notes at the end of his presentation as well.

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