Augustus, Herod, Quirinius: Historical markers of Jesus birth

Disinformation

The dates from the Bible do not reconcile with history.

The Gospel according to Luke states that the miraculous birth occurred in a year when Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered a census for the purpose of taxation, and that this happened at a time when Herod reigned in Judea and Quirinius was governor of Syria.

But Herod died four years “BC,” and during this rulership the governor of Syria was not Quirinius. There is no mention of any Augustan census by any Roman historian, but the Jewish chronicler Josephus mentions one that did occur six years after the birth of Jesus is supposed to have taken place.

The truth is…..

The dates from the Bible do reconcile with history and archaeological artifact.

Discussion

Herod the Great died in 4 BC, while Emperor Augustus ordered census in 8 BC, according to Res Gestae Divi Augusti by Emperor Augustus in 14 AD.

res-gestae
Copied Res Gestae Divi Augusti close to Emperor Agustus in Galatia, Turkey.

MIT on MIT.edu suggests translation below:

8. When I was consul the fifth time (29 B.C.E.), I increased the number of patricians by order of the people and senate. I read the roll of the senate three times, and in my sixth consulate (28 B.C.E.) I made a census of the people with Marcus Agrippa as my colleague. I conducted a lustrum, after a forty-one year gap, in which lustrum were counted 4,063,000 heads of Roman citizens. Then again, with consular imperium I conducted a lustrum alone when Gaius Censorinus and Gaius Asinius were consuls (8 B.C.E.), in which lustrum were counted 4,233,000 heads of Roman citizens. And the third time, with consular imperium, I conducted a lustrum with my son Tiberius Caesar as colleague, when Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Appuleius were consuls (14 A.C.E.), in which lustrum were counted 4,937,000 of the heads of Roman citizens. By new laws passed with my sponsorship, I restored many traditions of the ancestors, which were falling into disuse in our age, and myself I handed on precedents of many things to be imitated in later generations.

Quirinius was a dumviir, as shown by Pisidia inscription.

Prasasti Pisidia tentang Kirenius (Quirinius)1
Pisidia inscription on dumviir Kirenius (Quirinius)1

This inscription indicates that Quirinius was a duumvir or twin rulers, i.e. two persons rule over an territory.

At the time of Quirinius in Syria, Quirinius was a dumviir with Varus, Syria governor.

Luke used word ηγεμονευοντος ‘hegemoneuontos’,  which means: person who hegemonize. This word implies Quirinius hegemonized Syrian province which was under governor Varus. Consequently, Syria had twin rulers (Duumvir), when Quirinius came in Syria in 5-4 BC as a direct messenger of the Emperor. Luke mentioned only Quirinius in Luke 2: 2, implying Quirinius appeared to be more dominant in his hegemony over Syria.

Augustus census, Herod death, and Quirinius hegemony over Syria indicate that Jesus was born between 5 – 4 BC.

  • 8 BC: Emperor Augustus ordered census.
  • 7 BC: The wheels of bureaucracy for large-scale census covered from Europe to Africa to and Asia began to move.
  • 6 SM: Sentius Saturninus began to carry out the census in Syria province at the end of his term.
  • 5-4 BC: Quirinius continued census started from Sentius Saturnius era and finished it.
  • April 4 BC: Herod died

Jesus was born on December 25. Then, Jesus was born on December 25, 5 BC Julian Calendar.

Conclusion

  1. The dates from the Bible do reconcile with history and archaeological artifact.
  2. First Quirinius census in 5-4 BC was nothing to do with second Quirinius census in 6 AD.

Bibliography

1http://codexbezae.perso.sfr.fr/selene/images/quirinius.jpg; access 19/3/2015 16:58

2http://www.romancoins.info/varus-syriab2.JPG ; access 21/3/2015 10:54

3http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2848/2848-h/2848-h.htm#link72HCH0005 akses 21/3/2015 11:40 => Josephus, Antiquity XVII, Chapter 5, Paragraph 2

Now Quintilius Varus was at this time at Jerusalem, being sent to succeed Saturninus as president of Syria, and was come as an assessor to Herod, who had desired his advice in his present affairs; and as they were sitting together, Antipater came upon them, without knowing any thing of the matter; so he came into the palace clothed in purple. The porters indeed received him in, but excluded his friends. And now he was in great disorder, and presently understood the condition he was in, while, upon his going to salute his father, he was repulsed by him, who called him a murderer of his brethren, and a plotter of destruction against himself, and told him that Varus should be his auditor and his judge the very next day; so he found that what misfortunes he now heard of were already upon him, with the greatness of which he went away in confusion; upon which his mother and his wife met him, [which wife was the daughter of Antigonus, who was king of the Jews before Herod,] from whom he learned all circumstances which concerned him, and then prepared himself for his trial.

4http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/Duumviri, access 21/3/2015 11:08

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