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Here Are Some Responses to Ehrman

Here Are Some Responses to Ehrman

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Published by Allen Hainline

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Published by: Allen Hainline on Feb 16, 2013
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Here are some responses to Ehrman’s article taken from Dr. Tim McGrew:1)Differing Genealogies between Matthew and LukeAlthough it’s not explicit, many scholars think that Luke’s genealogy is from Marynot Joseph – Luke 3:23 indicates that Jesus “as it was supposed” descended from Joseph. Dr. Tim McGrew makes a compelling argument to this effect from the Greekbecause of “the omission of the possessive definite article makes it plain that Joseph is not part of the linear descent being given.” He also cites 1
century Jewishhistorian Josephus where he used a similar phrase in referring to someone who wasclearly not a descendant. Ehrman also complains about the differing number of generations between the 2 accounts. However, most genealogies from the eracustomarily omit descendants – the Greek word translated “son of” can also refer toany descendant. Matthews opens his account saying “the genealogy of Jesus Christ,the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Clearly his usage of this word here doesn’trefer to a father-son relationship. Ehrman also questions whether or not they wouldhave known ancestry that far back but Jews of the era place great emphasis onancestry and in particular on knowing to which of the 12 tribes they belonged. Josephus attests to this as well: “So have I set down the genealogy of our family as Ihave found it described in the public records, to put an end to any would-bedetractors”
1.1 (#6)2)Ehrman claims that Matthew has Joseph living in Bethlehem prior to the birthof Jesus (unlike Luke where they are living in Nazareth. This is an argument from silence. Nowhere does Matthew record the wordBethlehem until 2:1 when Jesus’ birth is discussed. Given Matthew’s brevity and theprinciple of minimizing the number of words it is not surprising that thistheologically unimportant detail might be omitted.
3) A worldwide census/registration seems bogus“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the worldshould be registered.“ Luke 2:1 (In the NIV, “… the entire Roman world”)Objection: But Caesar Augustus never ordered all the world (or all the Romanworld) to be registered.
The answer 
What this verse says is that the whole the whole “land” was
ο κουμένη
 to be registered.Luke uses this term, and nearly this same construction, in Acts 11:28:. . . there would be a great famine over all the . . .
ο κουμένη
But here, it clearly means the land of Judea, not the whole Roman empire.
Pressing the objection
 Judea was under the control of Herod the Great, and as a client king in goodstanding, Herod would have been allowed to levy taxes himself. So Augustuswould not have issued this decree.
But was Herod the Great “in good standing”?
Near the end of his reign, Herod fell out of favor with Augustus, who sent hima sharply worded letter telling him that whereas he had treated him beforeas his friend, he would from that point on treat him as his subject (Josephus,
16.9.3 (#290)).Formally or in effect, Herod was demoted from
rex socius
rex amicus
andthus lost the authority to conduct his own taxing—an authority that heenjoyed in any event only at the pleasure of Augustus.From Josephus we learn that at this time the Romans required an oath of allegiance to Caesar from the citizens of Herod’s domain (
17.2.4). This would be a step in the reduction of Palestine from a kingdom to thestatus of a Roman province.But within a year or so, as Josephus reports, Herod managed to get back intoAugustus’s good graces.
 The registration was probably only in Herod’s dominion, not empirewide.
It may have been ordered when Herod fell out of favor with Augustus around7 BC. This explanation covers the oath of loyalty to Caesar that Josephus mentions,which isotherwise unexplained.
Luke was wrong about when Quirinius was governor of Syria“This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Luke2:2Objection: But Quirinius didn’t become governor of Syria until AD 6, tenyears after Herod the Great was dead. How can a chronological blunder of ten or twelve years be explained?
Before we answer this objection...
Luke knows that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (Luke1:5)Luke also knows about the taxation under Quirinius in AD 6 (Acts 5:37)
 Any explanation of Luke’s language in Luke 2:1
2 must be compatible withthese factsTwo possible answers
1. Quirinius may have had two periods as a governor of some sort in Syria; if so, Luke could be referring to the earlier period.2. The Greek in this text does not actually claim that the wellknown
 taxation under Quirinius took place in 6 BC.
Was Quirinius governor of Syria twice?
We know that Quintilius Varus was the governor of Syria from about 6 4
 BC, and Gaius SentiusSaturninus was governor before him. So if Quirinius was a governor in Syriaat the time when Jesus was born, he was there on an extraordinary appointment from Caesar.

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