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The Census in Luke as an Apologetic Device

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a narrower question which is bound to have influence upon the wider concerns of the gospel as a whole. The problem of the reliability of Luke's statements on the census under Quirinius has been discussed innumerable times, and commentators seem to take one of three positions: Luke's account can be shown to be historically accurate; although no evidence exists for definite proof of Luke's accuracy, neither has it been shown that Luke is wrong and he should be given the benefit of doubt; Luke made a mistake, either because he misunderstood his sources or because he wished to connect the birth of Jesus with the census, even though he was aware that this conflicted with historical facts. The chapter endorses the position that Luke's historical accuracy in connection with his statement on the census under Quirinius cannot be defended on the basis of the evidence.

Keywords: Jesus; Luke; Quirinius

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