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

4.  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 as a “new and previously unheard of” event in Judea1 Some scholars suggest that Herod did conduct censuses, […] 

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

3.  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 number of scholars question Schürer, pointing out that evidence from Josephus strongly suggests Augustus exercised considerable control […] 

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

2. 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 Roman census.1 There is evidence, however, that Rome did adapt its governance to local customs of vassal states, […] 

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

The 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 conduct numerous and varied census activities throughout the empire and its provinces.1 Because of this, scholars on both […]