Category: History

What do Christians & witch doctors have in common?

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Satan & demons: Thomas Farrar's commentaryThomas Farrar, previously a Christadelphian, not only believes in a literal supernatural satan and demons, but also believes in the efficacy and value of traditional African witch doctors. In this correspondence with a Christadelphian, Thomas explains the reason for his position. Furthermore, by denying the […] 

The Historical Jesus: Recommended Reading

Abstract With the rise of interest in studies of the historical Jesus and the increasing presence of mythicism on the internet, Bible believers are advised to be well informed on the subject of Jesus historicity. This article provides a balanced reading list of resources presenting the evidence for Jesus’ historicity and the authenticity of the Jesus tradition, and addressing mythicist […] 

Living On the Edge: a book for doubting Christians

Living On the Edge: a book for doubting Christians Today Christians in the Western world are typically living in a post-Christian society. Christian beliefs are met with skepticism, and people see little reason to believe. Christians are confronted with daily challenges to their faith, and often struggle to understand the relevance of Christianity to modern life. Professional surveys indicate the following reasons why young Christians lose their […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 7

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan CensusConclusion As the Biblical scholar I. H. Marshall observes regarding the possible solutions scholars have posed to Schürer’s challenges, These considerations show that the character of the census described by Luke is far from impossible, and hence many recent writers are prepared […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 6

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census5.  Quirinius was not the Governor of Syria during Herod the Great’s Reign Schürer’s fifth challenge is the most difficult within the current discussion. A census held under Quirinius could not have occurred in the time of Herod, for Quirinius was never […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 5

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census4.  Josephus doesn’t mention a Roman Census before 6 CE Schürer, in his fourth challenge, rightly observes that Josephus does not mention a Roman census during Herod’s reign. Moreover, Schürer points out that Josephus referred to the Quirinian census of 6-7 CE […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 4

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census3.  A Roman Census in Judea? Schürer notes that a Roman census with the purpose of imposing a Roman tax would not have occurred in Judaea. For Schürer, the sovereignty extended to client kings precluded direct Roman intervention over administrative matters.12 However, […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 3

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census2. Did Joseph have to go to Bethlehem? Schürer here argues that Roman censuses did not require travel for registration purposes, pointing out that Rome would have considered such activities ‘troublesome’ and ‘inconvenient’, as well as outside the normal structure of a […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 2

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan CensusThe Five Challenges 1. An Empire-wide Census? Schürer interprets Luke 2:1 as describing a single, empire-wide Roman census ordered by Augustus around 6 BCE. There is currently no historical evidence of any such imperial edict. Current scholarship agrees, however, that Augustus did […] 

A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan Census – 1

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series A Survey of Schürer’s Challenges to the Lukan CensusIntroduction The 19th century theologian Emil Schürer outlined five challenges1 to the historicity of the Lukan census which still stand as representative2 of the ongoing controversy surrounding Luke 2:1-5.3 There is currently no historical evidence of an empire-wide census by Augustus. Joseph […]