Author Topic: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels  (Read 26387 times)

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Offline Doctor X

Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2011, 05:32:05 PM »
And you would think SOME of them would have complained about having to travel to the place of their "birth" a thousand years in the past for this "census."

--J.D.

Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #88 on: January 10, 2011, 12:56:37 PM »
-----To All-----
...in fact, I thought I first proved that there were many errors in the bible's English translated text (how the greek word for "census" did not mean taxes but enrollment) and that the bible text was not reliable as it currently stood, which is why it was my "first word" on the historical subject of Yahshua's birth...
  I see Josh has been active today so, again where is the evidence of any large scale movement of people for this "enrollment"?  There is none and why would the Romans require such a disruption in an occupied land?  What purpose would there be for such economic chaos which would probably last months as people walked all over Palestine going to their supposed birthplaces? 

Quote
...being followed by (what I thought) were more third-party references and links than just Wikipedia (citing Mommsen, Josephus, Orosius, Augustus, Tertullian, Justin Martin, Cambridge Ancient History...even a site that gives the accurate Greek definitions of the word in question), all placed directly under the quoted text (or was italicized) to be validated on one's own, with Augustus as the "last word".
We need contemporary evidence adn not just claims.  People can claim that there were indeed Christians but that does nothing to demonstrate any god/man walked the earth.  If it were, then the existence of believers of anythign would be considered proof that this "anything" exists.  Are you okay with Odin, Zeus, Legba, etc being considered just as valid as your god?
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Offline theFLEW

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Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #90 on: July 22, 2011, 11:13:42 AM »
flew, rather than just posting links to books, and hopeing they solve your problems, tell us *why* yuo think this solves your problems.  Why does a book written in 1915 have bearing on this issue?
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Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #91 on: July 22, 2011, 12:01:11 PM »
Because this book written 100 years ago answers the question being posed in the thread.  This topic is not a new topic, and has been excellently addressed and evaluated by Ramsay.  The only thing I "hope" is that whoever began this thread will read the relevant portion of the book in the link provided to understand how this is not a contradiction.  In fact, it is a great example of the furthering of archeological research on a topic by corroborating evidence and reasoning.

As I have already stated, I will not be as active of a poster on these baords because I don't find them necessarily helpful in the furtherment of discussion.  However, as I do visit and read through various topics, I will post information I feel is pertinent to the discussion.

Regards, Flew
"...and how much naivety, venerable, childlike and boundlessly stupid naivety there is in the scholar's belief in his superiority, in the good conscience of his tolerance, in the simply unsuspecting certainty with which his instinct treats the religious man as an inferior..." - F. Nietzsche

Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #92 on: July 22, 2011, 01:11:24 PM »
I read it and honestly couldn’t make much of it.  How does it answer the question, Flew?  Which is the relevant portion? There’s a whole book there. 

Unfortunately, you seem to be doing a common theist tactic which is throwing shit at a wall and hoping something sticks.  I am not convinced you’ve read this book at all, but found it on a website where someone else “said” it answers the questions posed here.  But you have no idea if it does or not.  So you expect someone else to do the work, and hoping that they don’t find anything questionable about it.  All I see in it are men trying to prove the existence of their supposed “savior” by trying to force those mythic events into some bit of actual history.  They randomly ignore what they don’t like about the gospels and are each sure that they are the only right ones.  As you’ll see in the wiki entry, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius ,there is no consensus or agreement with your book.  There is no evidence of it at all. Nothing about how people had to return to their places of birth. Your book is full of baseless assumptions, like so many other books of Christian apologetics. 




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Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #93 on: July 22, 2011, 02:17:00 PM »
First, before you say the book is full of baseless assumptions, read the section i have presented on Quirinius, and you will find excellent arguementation and evidence for the proposed view.  Second, I have read the aforementioned section on Quirinius, and gave it as evidence for the traditional view.  Third, if you do not wish to read the entire section, at least see pages 284-295 specifically.  Ramsay's reasoning is academic and sound, and his evidences (textual, historical, and archeological) are excellent.
"...and how much naivety, venerable, childlike and boundlessly stupid naivety there is in the scholar's belief in his superiority, in the good conscience of his tolerance, in the simply unsuspecting certainty with which his instinct treats the religious man as an inferior..." - F. Nietzsche

Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #94 on: July 22, 2011, 02:58:02 PM »
First, before you say the book is full of baseless assumptions, read the section i have presented on Quirinius, and you will find excellent arguementation and evidence for the proposed view.  Second, I have read the aforementioned section on Quirinius, and gave it as evidence for the traditional view.  Third, if you do not wish to read the entire section, at least see pages 284-295 specifically.  Ramsay's reasoning is academic and sound, and his evidences (textual, historical, and archeological) are excellent.

I did, Flew.  It is not excellent argumentation and evidence, I find that assumptions made against all we know about Roman society to be suspect and rather worthless. It assumes a second holding of the position of governor based on a carving about a nameless governor who served as governor two times, and there is nothing that says it was twice in Syria. So we have two assumptions here by Ramsay. Is there anything else to support him?  I would actually ask you to show me what you think are so excellent about it.  You make a lot of claims on how great this guy is but I have yet to see you demonstrate you understand any of it.

And I read the wiki entry and how it showed how your book came to these conclusions and how they are very questionable. Did you do me the favor of reading what I posted?  Do you understand the problems with citing something old and not paying attention to new evidence?  Creationists do this all of the time and they often get bit in the butt because of it.  You should also read this article too: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/01/once-more-quiriniuss-census.aspx

It’s another bit of apologetics who are quite sure that they know better.  now, if this is such a special book, the bible, why can’t it even get dates right or who is in what position right?  Why do we have no idea when JC supposedly existed except for attempts to stuff it into times where bible apologists think that some thing similar may have happened?  Why is this so hard to figure out if there were supposed prophecies and everyone was so impressed with this man/god?  We get reports of thousands of people meeting in an occupied land and but no one notices him officially?  There is no record of this character anywhere. 

And there is still no evidence of any census that made everyone return to their birthplace at any time.  So when it supposedly happened or who made it happen makes little sense if it cannot be shown that it ever happened.
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Offline jedweber

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #95 on: July 23, 2011, 08:54:48 AM »
The claim that Quirinius served two terms is basically a far-fetched invention by apologists who are desperate to have history agree with the Bible. It is simply not supported by objective scholarship.

Here's an excellent article on the many historical problems associated with Luke and Matthew's nativity accounts, and the fundamental (and apparently irresolvable) contradictions between them:

Quote
The Date of the Nativity in Luke (6th ed., 2011)
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html

There's a section devoted to the extremely dubious claims about Quirinius, in particular:

Quote
II. Was Quirinius Twice Governor?
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html#II


Offline globalvalue

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #96 on: July 23, 2011, 11:25:23 AM »
The real Jesus must have been born in Galilee. But the Gospel writers wanted to invent a way to have Jesus born in Bethlehem to create a ficticious fulfillment of prophecy.
Micah 5:2
2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

The gospel writers had to invent a way to have Jesus born in Bethlehem but still be from Galilee.
Matthew invents the ficticious slaughter of the innocents, the trip to Egypt and the return to Nazareth.

Luke creates an even more ridiculous story that only an idiot would believe.
Luke 2:1-3
1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
Luke would have his readers believe that everyone in the Roman Empire had to return to the city of their birth for a census.
What confusion would have developed if everyone were traveling to the city of their birth at the same time.
Today we have lighted highways, automobiles, trains and planes, and motels and restaurants and it would be ridiculous if we all went back to the city of our birth for a census. Imagine a time with unlighted dirt roads, and few inns and food sources, traveling on foot or on a horse or donkey. If Jesus were born in December, this is when we have the least number of hours of daylight and it gets cold in December, especially if you are outdoors for long periods of time. The Romans ruled the civilized world. I can't believe they would have been dumb enough to have attempted such an outrageous event.
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Offline jedweber

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #97 on: July 23, 2011, 12:33:28 PM »
The gospel writers had to invent a way to have Jesus born in Bethlehem but still be from Galilee.

Yeah, I think that's basically it. The nativity accounts appear to be stories created for theological purposes, to have Jesus in the right place at the right time, with the right mom and Dad (and stepdad), etc. So it gets kind of silly to debate the "historical" details...

The other sources, Mark and John (and Paul) didn't see fit to tell us anything about Jesus' human birth, it just wasn't significant to them. Since Mark and Paul are earlier sources than Lk and Mt, that's consistent with these birth narratives being later inventions...

Offline globalvalue

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #98 on: July 23, 2011, 01:22:39 PM »
The gospel writers had to invent a way to have Jesus born in Bethlehem but still be from Galilee.

Yeah, I think that's basically it. The nativity accounts appear to be stories created for theological purposes, to have Jesus in the right place at the right time, with the right mom and Dad (and stepdad), etc. So it gets kind of silly to debate the "historical" details...

The other sources, Mark and John (and Paul) didn't see fit to tell us anything about Jesus' human birth, it just wasn't significant to them. Since Mark and Paul are earlier sources than Lk and Mt, that's consistent with these birth narratives being later inventions...

There is no question that the gospels were edited at a later time.
Luke's gospel tells a virgin birth story but Acts makes the following contradictory statement.

Acts 2:30
30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

If Jesus were God's son by a virgin birth he couldn't be David's ancestor by "that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh,"

BTW Jesus never sat on David's throne and is not likely to do so in the future since Israel is a Democracy.
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Offline globalvalue

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #99 on: July 23, 2011, 01:43:33 PM »
Born of a Woman

The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus died, was buried, that he was raised on the third day, and was seen by over 500 brethren. Beyond that, Paul tells us nothing personal about Jesus, the man. This seems reasonable since the Apostle Paul did not know Jesus, the man, and only believed in Jesus, the Spirit.

But the Apostle Paul does reveal one thing about Jesus of a somewhat personal nature. Paul says Jesus was “”born of a woman””.

Quote:
Galatians 4:4 (New American Standard Bible)
4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
“”born of a woman””……that’s an interesting statement! I can say with 100% assurance, that every human being, with the exception of Adam and Eve, was “”born of a woman””. [ I may have to amend this statement soon, since Science seems at the brink of raising children in Petri Dishes rather than in a woman’s womb]
It really seems dumb to say Jesus was “”born of a woman””, since everyone is “”born of a woman.””
So what did the Apostle Paul mean by “”born of a woman””?

I did a little research in the Greek Dictionaries and Lexicons and discovered that the word translated as “”woman””, in Galatians 4:4, is Strong’s #1135, and one of its major meanings is ““wife””

Think about it…..“”born of a woman”” makes no sense since everyone is born of a woman.
But “”born of a wife”” makes all the sense in the world if you want to say that Jesus was born in the natural way to a married couple, a husband and wife, Joseph and Mary.

In my opinion, Paul was saying that Jesus was born as a normal human being, and not according to Pagan Legends of a superman born to a virgin impregnated by a God.

Paul makes a statement in Romans which supports the idea that Jesus was born in the normal way, to a husband and wife……
Quote:
Romans 1:3-4 (New American Standard Bible)
3concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
4who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Jesus was “”born of a descendant of David according to the flesh””, through his father, Joseph, and he was ONLY declared to be “”the Son of God””, upon his supposed “”resurrection from the dead.”” according to the Apostle Paul.

Now my point is that Paul had no way of knowing if Jesus rose from the dead, since he did not even know Jesus, the man. Paul also was not aware of, or did not believe in any virgin birth stories. Paul’s theology was that Jesus only became the son of God after his supposed resurrection. And Paul adopted the resurrection story from word of mouth tales that spawned the Gospels many years later.


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Offline mram

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #100 on: July 23, 2011, 02:25:27 PM »
Jesus was born in 1984.. I asked him last week when he was next door during one of those hoopty Spanish cookouts they have every month.. He has a really cool low rider with a really loud speaker with that heavy bass that makes my bed shake sometimes..
I know..it pisses off the Xtians that Jesus is just a house painter with an attitude, huh?
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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Offline globalvalue

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #101 on: July 23, 2011, 02:33:19 PM »
Jesus was born in 1984.. I asked him last week when he was next door during one of those hoopty Spanish cookouts they have every month.. He has a really cool low rider with a really loud speaker with that heavy bass that makes my bed shake sometimes..
I know..it pisses off the Xtians that Jesus is just a house painter with an attitude, huh?

I saw Jesus a few years ago.
I was at the motor vehicle licence bureau waiting for my turn. The clerk shouted "Jesus Christ" and an Hispanic looking guy got up and walked into the office.
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Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #102 on: July 28, 2011, 02:49:06 PM »
A better question might be, did Luke really say Quirinius was a governor?

http://www.askelm.com/star/star014.htm
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:11:43 PM by theFLEW »
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Offline jedweber

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2011, 08:55:02 AM »
^ We know that Quirinius was governor of Syria in 6 A.D. and that a local census of the province (including Judea) was conducted at that time. (There were no empire-wide censuses until 74 A.D., under Vespasian. And there were no Roman censuses of Judea before 6 A.D., since it was ruled by a client king and not directly by Rome.) 

But your source (Ernest L. Martin) needs to have both an earlier term of office for Quirinius AND an earlier census, presumably so he can make Luke's account agree with Matthew's, which has Jesus born when Herod the Great was still alive.  Apologists have proposed various "solutions" for this problem - i.e. claiming that Quirinius was governor twice; that he was a co-governor; that Herod conducted the census, etc.  Martin is aware of the historical problems with these claims, so his answer is to 1) re-date Herod's death from the generally-accepted 4 B.C. to around 1 B.C., 2) claim that the "census" was really a registration for a loyalty oath connected to Augustus' proclamation as Pater Patriae in 3 B.C., and 3) have Quirinius serving as "procurator" at that time to administer it. He then dates Jesus' birth to September 11, 3 B.C.

Needless to say, there is no concrete evidence for ANY of these claims, while all of them must be correct for the theory to work. So it's a house of cards, an ad hoc theory based on a chain of dubious hypothetical propositions.

Moreover, these hypotheses fly in the face of what we do know from history. For example, procurators were always men of equestrian rank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_governor#Equestrian_procurator), while Quirinius was a Senator who achieved consular rank by 12 A.D., so his status was too high for that position.

Most historians date Herod's death to 4 B.C., based on several lines of evidence. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_the_Great#Death). This alone would sink Martin's theory.

Finally, there's no record of any loyalty oath in Judea around 3 B.C. (even though we know of other oaths demanded by Herod in 20 BC and 8 BC.) Judeans were not Roman citizens, they would have nothing to do with voting on a new title for Emperor Augustus. Luke does not  hint at any process of oath-swearing, and there's no reason why Judeans would have had to return to their birthplaces to take an oath. ( http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html#lastditch )

Martin's ideas seem to be very similar to those of another apologist, Jack Finegan, and other problems with this theory can be found in the article linked above, wherever Finegan is mentioned by name.

Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #104 on: July 29, 2011, 10:29:16 AM »
First I would ask, couldn't men of that level ever receive such a title?  Justin Martyr seemed to think so in his Apology, specifically I.34.  He called Quirinius the "procurator in Judaea".

Secondly, you are basing Herod's death of a transcription error in Josephus; every Josephus transcript before 1544 says that Herod died in 1 B.C., see:

http://books.google.com/books?id=mWnYvI5RdLMC&lpg=PR1&ots=OY86IXw-CX&dq=%22chronological%20nativity%20and%20religious%20studies%20in%20memory%20of%20ray%20summers%22&pg=PA85#v=onepage&q=%22chronological%20nativity%20and%20religious%20studies%20in%20memory%20of%20ray%20summers%22&f=false

Thirdly, concerning the oath, see Josephus' Antiquities, specifically XVII.41–45:

"“There was moreover a certain sect of Jews who valued themselves highly for their exact knowledge of the law; and talking much of their contact with God, were greatly in favor with the women of Herod’s court. They are called Pharisees. They are men who had it in their power to control kings; extremely subtle, and ready to attempt any thing against those whom they did not like. When therefore the whole Jewish nation took an OATH to be faithful to Caesar, and [to] the interests of the king, these men, to the number of above six thousand, refused to swear. The king having laid a fine upon them, Pheroras’ wife [Herod’s sister-in-law] paid the money for them. They, in requital for her kindness (for they were supposed, by their great intimacy with God, to have attained to the gift of prophecy), prophesied that God having decreed to put an end to the government of Herod and his race, the kingdom would be transferred to her and Pheroras and their children. Salome [Herod’s sister], who was aware of all that was being said, came and told the king of them. She also told him that many of the court [of Herod] were corrupted by them. Then the king put to death the most guilty of the Pharisees, and Bagoas the eunuch, and one Carus, the most beautiful young man about the court, and the great instrument in the king’s unlawful pleasures. He [Herod] likewise slew every one in his own family, who adhered to those things which were said by the Pharisee. But Bagoas had been elevated by them and was told that he should some day be called father and benefactor of the [new] king, who was to be appointed according to their prediction, for this king would have all things in his power, and that he [the king] would give him [Bagoas] the capacity of marriage, and of having children of his own.”
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Offline theFLEW

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #106 on: July 29, 2011, 11:41:25 AM »
As an aside:
Aristobulus IV and Alexander Herod The Great’s sons by Mariamne I were both executed in ~7BC for the treachery that Josephus described. There is no argument that Herod The Great reigned from 37 – 4BC and was remarkably bloodthirsty. The Jewish Encyclopedia confirms this. And ends with the words,

“The connection of Herod with the alleged massacre of the Innocents as related in the New Testament is now generally admitted by independent Christian thinkers to be legendary.”

The gospel writers stuck this bit of fiction on to Herod as it was “the sort of thing he would do.”

Read more: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=630&letter=H&search=Herod%20the%20Great#ixzz1TVpw79jU

QUIRINIUS, P. SULPICIUS:   Roman governor of Syria about 6 C.E., with whose name are associated events and problems of great importance. After the banishment of Archelaus in the year 6, a date confirmed by Dio Cassius (lv. 27), Judea came under the direct administration of the Romans, and was incorporated with the province of Syria. It thus becomes clear why the emperor Augustus should have ordered the ex-consul Quirinius to Syria to levy an assessment (Josephus, "Ant." xvii. 13, § 5). At the same time Coponius was sent as procurator of Judea; but Quirinius went thither also, since the levying of the tax on the entire province was his special duty (ib. xviii. 1, § 1).

   
Read more: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=9&letter=Q&search=Quirinius#ixzz1TVsCRev3
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Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #107 on: July 29, 2011, 12:19:54 PM »
Velkyn, see point (2) on pages 293-294:

http://books.google.com/books?id=NC9VAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA275&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
wow, that's all you have?  that "well, it could be"? Again, we have assumptions built on even more assertions with no evidence to back them up.  I'm guessing that you didn't even bother to read the analysis of these claims that Jed gave.

again, where is the evidence that this census ever took place, flew?  We can get hung up on Quirinius but until you can answer the following, asked before, it's rather moot:
Quote
now, if this is such a special book, the bible, why can’t it even get dates right or who is in what position right?  Why do we have no idea when JC supposedly existed except for attempts to stuff it into times where bible apologists think that some thing similar may have happened?  Why is this so hard to figure out if there were supposed prophecies and everyone was so impressed with this man/god?  We get reports of thousands of people meeting in an occupied land and but no one notices him officially?  There is no record of this character anywhere. 

Of course, I find your citing of a forgery in Josephus quite ironic.
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Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #108 on: July 29, 2011, 12:52:10 PM »
First, yes, I read Jed and responded to each of his major criticisms.

Second, you comment "Again, we have assumptions built on even more assertions with no evidence to back them up." is lazy and is not giving any justice to the passage I presented from the book (as you requested, I am giving you specific passages now instead of throwing whole chapters at you).  A reasonable hypothesis was presented with reasonable evidence cited.  I'm not sure what you're driving at with this...

Third, there is a wealth of works on the subjects you have addressed in your quote, that is, if you care to look.  Summerizing the content would take more time then I have, but if the subjects truely interest you, I highly highly recommend any book by Sir William Mitchell Ramsay.  He presents a lucid and well reasoned approach for from an archeological and anthropological standpoint.  As far as Jesus himself, the best book I have ever read on the topic was The Jesus Legend by Greg Boyd.

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Legend-Historical-Reliability-Tradition/dp/0801031141

He summarizes the prevailing views and gives an excellent subsequent critique.  Heck, send me your address and I'll mail you my copy.

Lastly, I never claimed that this was a forgery, simply a transcription error.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 12:54:12 PM by theFLEW »
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Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #109 on: July 29, 2011, 03:34:57 PM »
First, yes, I read Jed and responded to each of his major criticisms.
Second, you comment "Again, we have assumptions built on even more assertions with no evidence to back them up." is lazy and is not giving any justice to the passage I presented from the book (as you requested, I am giving you specific passages now instead of throwing whole chapters at you).  A reasonable hypothesis was presented with reasonable evidence cited.  I'm not sure what you're driving at with this...
No, it is not lazy at all.  I read the passage and unless you want me to quote it here verbatim that is exactly what I got out of it.  No, a reasonable hypothesis was not presented nor with reasonable evidence.  Where is there any evidence that there were two legati in Syria?  Yes, it may have happened other places but why assume that here when there is NO evidence of this?  As I have mentioned before, we have claims that this writing about someone serving twice as legate is nameless and does not show anything that your source claims.  We can see that also in the rebuttal that Jed showed. So, as I said before I shall say again, more assumptions built on even more assertions with no evidence to back them up.  We also have no evidence that any census was taken, no massacre of the innocents, no “wise men”, nothing.     
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Third, there is a wealth of works on the subjects you have addressed in your quote, that is, if you care to look.  Summerizing the content would take more time then I have, but if the subjects truely interest you, I highly highly recommend any book by Sir William Mitchell Ramsay.  He presents a lucid and well reasoned approach for from an archeological and anthropological standpoint.  As far as Jesus himself, the best book I have ever read on the topic was The Jesus Legend by Greg Boyd.
  I have cared to look.  I have looked and there is nothing to support your claims.  I’m sure you would recommend any book by the same guy you’ve used before.  And no he does not present a “lucid well-reasoned approach”.  I’ve read some of his stuff, and, gee, quite recently, and no matter how many times you want to claim that, it isn’t true.  So much of it has been superseded by modern research that it’s doesn’t surprise me that, like creationists, you have to run back to old books to have anything that supports the claims that support your “faith”.   I have not read the Jesus Legend by Boyd but I did find his website with essays.  His one argument is “look the bible says it’s true so it is”.  He wants to use the accounts in the bible as independent witnesses.  Which is hysterical considering how badly they diverge.  You know, like the problem of what you claim to have happened in Matthew and what is in John?  All in all, there’s not a scrap in Boy’s book that I haven’t seen in another’s. So thanks for the offer, but there is no reason.  I’ve read a *lot* of apologetics.
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Lastly, I never claimed that this was a forgery, simply a transcription error.
  Oh, so it’s a “transcription error” &)  My mistake.  We do know that there are forgeries in Josephus, most especially that one bit that Christians run to as “proof” that their savior existed. 
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Offline jedweber

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #110 on: July 30, 2011, 08:56:34 AM »
First I would ask, couldn't men of that level ever receive such a title?  Justin Martyr seemed to think so in his Apology, specifically I.34.  He called Quirinius the "procurator in Judaea".


Let's look at the entire passage:

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"Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registries of the taxing under Quirinius your first procurator in Judea." (First Apology, 34)

Justin Martyr is referring to a registration for tax purposes. But your source, Ernest Martin, is quite clear that his hypothetical "census" of 3 B.C. was related to a loyalty oath, and NOT taxation, so this passage already contradicts his theory!

Martin, like everyone else, acknowledges that taxation was the purpose of the 6 A.D. census. So what is more likely, that Justin is referring to this known event occurring during Quirinius' documented term as governor of Syria, or a hypothetical event in an undocumented (imaginary?) term? The first reading would actually leave Justin in close agreement with Josephus:
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Quirinius, a Roman senator who had proceeded through all the magistracies to the consulship and a man who was extremely distinguished in other respects, arrived in Syria, dispatched by Caesar to be governor of the nation and to make an assessment of their property. Coponius, a man of equestrian rank, was sent along with him to rule over the Jews with full authority. Quirinius also visited Judaea, which had been annexed to Syria, in order to make an assessment of the property of the Jews and to liquidate the estate of Archelaus.
(Josephus, Antiquities 18.1-4)

Justin may have simply used the title of procurator in error, or perhaps he meant to convey that Quirinius, while governor of Syria, was also performing a procurator's function in raising taxes from the Jews in Judea. In any case, there's absolutely nothing in Justin Martyr's words to suggest that Quirinius held two different positions in Judea ten years apart.

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Secondly, you are basing Herod's death of a transcription error in Josephus; every Josephus transcript before 1544 says that Herod died in 1 B.C., see:

Beyer article


To be correct, NO texts state that Herod "died in 1 B.C."!!!! The apologists are extrapolating that date from ONE dubious reference (in some variant texts) to the reign of ONE of Herod's THREE successors. They cherry-pick this passage and cite it because it fits their claims, while ignoring all the numerous other internal and external references and circumstantial evidence which support the standard dating.

It's simply not true that every old manuscript supports this reading, not even Beyer claims this! He says that the older manuscripts in the two batches he examined contain this textual variant. But older and better manuscripts exist elsewhere which do not, which is why ALL critical scholarly editions of Josephus contain the standard text, and NONE go with Beyer's variant.

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All Finegan (and Beyer) does is "count manuscripts" and argue that older manuscripts are the most reliable. But neither is true, as any palaeographer knows. We have no way of knowing which of the manuscripts Beyer counted were copies of other extant manuscripts (and thus completely irrelevant to the question), and we have no idea whether the manuscripts he looked at are known to be reliable or unreliable or to what degree or in what ways. Older manuscripts can sometimes be poorer than new manuscripts, since newer ones can be based on even older but more reliable archetypes..., and older ones may stem from especially faulty textual traditions.

...Beyer examined only manuscripts in the British Museum and the Library of Congress--yet the best manuscripts are in France and Italy--one of which is the oldest, Codex Ambrosianae F 128, inscribed in the 11th century (the oldest manuscript Beyer examined was 12th century); and another is the most reliable: Codex Vaticanus Graecus 984, transcribed in 1354; both confirming a reading of "twentieth," and thus invalidating all his conclusions from the start.
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html#date

The apologist arguments involving the dating of Philip's reign are full of problems and contradictions and are refuted at length in the article above, if you scroll down to the sections titled "Was Philip made king in 2 B.C.?"

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Thirdly, concerning the oath, see Josephus' Antiquities, specifically XVII.41–45:
...
When therefore the whole Jewish nation took an OATH to be faithful to Caesar, and [to]
the interests of the king, these men, to the number of above six thousand, refused to swear...
. ...


Yes, we know that Roman emperors (and King Herod) sometimes demanded loyalty oaths. Josephus tells us of two such oaths which are usually dated to 20 B.C. and 8 B.C. Does this quote tell us that another such oath took place around 3 B.C. and was connected to Augustus' proclamation as Pater Patriae? Does it tell us that a registration took place, requiring people to return to their home towns? In fact, it doesn't support any of the key apologist claims at all.

Offline jedweber

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #111 on: July 30, 2011, 09:59:24 AM »
Flew, I'm noticing a pattern here, that you tend to disregard mainstream scholarship by professional historians, or even serious Christian bible scholars, in favor of citing outdated and/or kooky fundamentalist apologists.

While it's a given that your apologists are often at odds with historians and more objective bible scholars, are you aware that the apologists you cite often DISAGREE WITH EACH OTHER and have mutually-exclusive theories and chronologies?

For example, Martin (and Finegan and presumably Beyer) absolutely depend on a "census" taking place in 3/2 BC, Herod living until 1 B.C., and Quirinius holding some office in Judea at the time. (All allowing Martin to pinpoint Jesus' birthday on September 11, 3 B.C.!) But Sir William Ramsey, who you also cite, says this: 

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For Herod's enrollment, then, there is open only the late summer of 7 or 6 BC...the enrollment can hardly be brought down so late as 5 BC. ...Luke, however, gives additional information about the Savior's life, which affords reasonable confidence that 6 BC. was the year of Christ's birth.
http://christianbookshelf.org/ramsay/was_christ_born_in_bethlehem/chapter_9_king_herods_enrollment.htm

Meanwhile, I noticed that Beyer's article was in a book compiled by Jerry Vardaman. This man has a completely different chronology of events (placing Jesus' birth in 12 BC,and his crucifixion in 21 A.D.), based on microscopic inscriptions he claims to have discovered on ancient coins!

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Pseudohistory in Jerry Vardaman's magic coins: the nonsense of micro graphic letters.
http://business.highbeam.com/5799/article-1G1-83585959/pseudohistory-jerry-vardaman-magic-coins-nonsense-micro

These are not just minor discrepancies which can be reconciled. The apologists' theories are  based on chains of specific claims, hypotheses and assumptions, and removing or challenging any one link will often cause the entire argument to collapse. These theories are thus incompatible even with similar theories that differ on a single date or data point. 

If I have to choose between the consensus of professional historians and scholars who objectively study a period, and the pet theories of fundamentalist apologists whose mission is to rationalize apparent contradictions in the bible texts, I think it's obvious which is more likely to be reliable. Apologists are not free to follow evidence where it leads, they begin with pre-determined conclusions, and are forced to go through contortions to defend them.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 10:01:58 AM by jedweber »

Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #112 on: August 01, 2011, 09:18:55 AM »
Flew,  to cut to the chase a bit, can you explain why there is a practical "industry" where apologists have to spend years trying to explain this supposed magic book from your god?  And why do they disagree on what answers they get?   
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Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #113 on: August 03, 2011, 12:55:53 PM »
Jed,

I will first attest that I am not an expert in the field in which I am posting, and I am relying heavily on sources of men who are considered experts in their field.  Being thus, I can only attest to the information I have gathered by reading their books and/or articles on the subject at hand.  I’m not sure where you personally stand as far as expertise, but I will assume your credentials and sources impeccable for the sake of the discussion.  Ultimately, my goal here is to submit evidence from Luke’s side of the issue, and subsequently show that there is varied scholarship on the subject, otherwise the thread itself would run the risk of being decidedly one-sided on the issue.  At any rate, I would respond to your posting. 

Looking at your initial comments on Quirinius and his procurator title, you bring up the valid point that as Martyr identifies Quirinius as procurator, he also refers to the taxation, which Martin makes argument didn’t actually occur during his identified oath of loyalty.  So who’s right?  Based on the fact that Martyr is probably using Luke for the premise of his statement (unless some registries existed in his time that we simply don’t have access to today), both scholars could technically be correct if we understand Luke’s approach to the registration (3/2 BC) and subsequent taxation (AD 6) as associated events.  This opinion can be reviewed here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=DTErAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA631&lpg=PA631&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false

Luke mentions the second census in Acts 5:37, and correctly places it as correlating with the revolt led by Judas of Galilee (Josephus mentions this in Book 18, chapter 1 of Antiquities).  However, though Luke had an obvious working knowledge of the latter event, we see no distinction in the writings between that and the former.  Therefore, it could be understood that in as much as the registration was, by first regard, a call to an oath of loyalty, so too could the subsequent, and even greater, purpose be taxation of  subjects, which came to fruition in (AD 6).

We see further example of this connection between oath-taking and census in Orosius:

“[Augustus] ordered that a census be taken of each province everywhere and that all men be enrolled. ... This is the earliest and most famous public acknowledgment which marked Caesar as the first of all men and the Romans as lords of the world, a published list of all men entered individually.... This first and greatest census was taken, since in this one name of Caesar all the peoples of the great nations took oath, and at the same time, through the participation in the census, were made apart of one society.” (Orosius, VI.22 and VII.2.)

This “enrollment”, or as Luke puts it, “registration” is placed in conjunction with the “oath of loyalty” taken 3/2 BC. 

So why would Luke mention Quirinius?  Possibly because he was charged with administering and overseeing the registration of allegiance in that region of the world.  Why is this information important?  For the explicit reason that, according to Martin “most Roman census declarations required an oath of allegiance to the emperor.”  Therefore, to a Roman citizen reading Luke’s gospel (Luke wrote his gospel for a Roman audience), to simply say that Caesar Augustus issued a degree that all the world be registered might be a vague statement, but pinpointing Quirinius as administrator would point them to the exact registration Luke was referring to, namely, the “oath of loyalty.”  This is simply how I understand the issue, you are welcome to disagree.

Moving on to Herod’s death, I recognize that based on the Beyer article, I could have phrased my response better, again being that the evidence Beyer has amassed concerning Herod’s death in relation to his son Philip.  I have never seen the information you mentioned from Codex Ambrosianae or the Codex Vaticanus Graecus (can you send me a link with your source?), but if you are correct, then it would seem that either Beyer is wrong, or that there is an issue with the manuscripts not agreeing, the latter case putting a bleak light on the trustworthy nature of the manuscripts.

However, even if Beyer is wrong, there is still strong evidence for Herod’s death occurring in 1 BC.  See Andrew Steinmann on the issue:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/not/2009/00000051/00000001/art00001

(click to view the PDF)

Furthermore, Martin makes further arguments concerning the problems with dating Herod’s death at 4 BC, with the best, in my opinion, being the problem of the eclipse mentioned by Josephus occurring in 4 BC.  I find his argumentation well reasoned and highly plausible. (http://www.askelm.com/star/star012.htm)

Furthermore, Beyer also gives reasoning for the claims that the eclipse Josephus refers to was probably not the 4 BC eclipse.  He states that the eclipse in 4 BC was a comparatively weak eclipse of very weak magnitude, and without modern optics, not to be considered a memorable event.  Though Josephus may have used this eclipse as his reference, it would seem that the higher likelihood would be the 1 BC eclipse, which was a total eclipse, apparently lasting over 200 minutes (this is rare and something to take note of).

Ultimately, I find both Martin and Beyer’s hypothesis on the eclipse well reasoned and sound.

Lastly, to comment on the fact that some of the sources I have procured not agreeing, I think it’s appropriate to point out that, with your specific example, Ramsey did not have proper access to the breadth of new archeological records and advanced astronomical data we now possess.  This is just a simple fact of archeology and advancement in technology.  It shouldn’t surprise you in as much as it does not surprise me.  The point is this:  what new information and evidence has been presented should always be taken into account, but the old should not be neglected simply because it’s old, but simply corrected and/or built upon to obtain a better working knowledge of the truth of the situation.  Ultimately, as we review the matter, the best possible option would be to invent a time machine to got back in time to get hard facts (if this ever happens, I will get us two of the first tickets, and we’ll go back to January of 1 BC to see what really transpired), but being that this is not possible, I am content to say that we must take what we are given, and use what reasoning and rationale we possess to arrive at well-reasoned positions on the matter.  That is how I view the situation.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 01:35:07 PM by theFLEW »
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Offline velkyn

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #114 on: August 03, 2011, 01:20:55 PM »
Quote
He states that the eclipse in 4 BC was a comparatively weak eclipse of very weak magnitude, and without modern optics, not to be considered a memorable event.

Being quite familiar with astronomy and such things, I've never seen an eclipse described as "weak" or of a "weak magnitude".  Can you explain what is meant here?

Quote
Though Josephus may have used this eclipse as his reference, it would seem that the higher likelihood would be the 1 BC eclipse, which was a total eclipse, apparently lasting over 200 minutes (this is rare and something to take note of).
  200 minutes?  That certainly would be a strange thing since eclipses do not last that long ever. 

Quote
The longest total solar eclipse during the 8,000 year period from 3000 BC to 5000 AD will occur on July 16, 2186, when totality will last 7 min 29 s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse
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Offline theFLEW

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Re: When was Jesus born? - Contradiction between gospels
« Reply #115 on: August 03, 2011, 01:46:01 PM »
Velkyn,

Again, as I am not as knowledgeable on this topic as I would like to be, I'll quote Beyer directly:

"At this point I would like to turn to related chronological issues.  Number 1: the Lunar Eclipse.  Out of the hundreds of eclipses visible in Palestine during the years covered in his histories, Josephus referred to only one.  Now the lunar eclipse of 9-10 January 1 B.C. was total, whereas the March 4 B.C. lunar eclipse was partial with a magnitude of only 0.37.  Astronamers John Mosley of the Griffith Observatory and Craig Chester of the Monterey Institutes for Research in Astronamy indicate it would have been difficult to observe this eclipse, even under ideal circumstances....[the] lunar eclipse [of January 9-10 1 B.C.] was total, lasting three and one-half hours.  It dramatically dominated the evening sky, visible to everyone throughout the Middle East." (Chronos, Kairos, Christos II p. 88)

As noted, it was a lunar eclipse, not a solar eclipse.
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