The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
A Roman Census in Judea?
[The nineteenth century theologian Emil] 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. ¹¹², ¹¹³ However, a number of scholars question Schürer, pointing out that evidence from Josephus strongly suggests Augustus exercised considerable control over Judaea, displaying a personal interest in Herod’s affairs and interceding when he was displeased, or concerned, about Herod’s actions.¹¹⁴
An Empire-wide Census?
[The nineteenth century theologian Emil] 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.
Did Joseph & Mary Have to Go to Bethlehem?
[The nineteenth century theologian Emil] Schürer 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
Josephus Doesn’t Mention A Roman Census Before 6 CE
[The nineteenth century theologian Emil] Schürer . . . 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 Judea.¹
Roman Law Did Not Require Joseph and Mary to Leave Nazareth
“…when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.” (Luke 2:2)