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Theologian O'Connor Does Not Accept The Census Story

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on April 24, 2001 01:33:17 UTC

While looking for sites that might say more about Bargil Pixmer and "With Jesus through Galilee" which you suggested I read, I came across an interesting one called "Jesus in Galilee", an audio presentation by O'Connor. I only listened to the first few minutes. I may go back and listen to the rest later.

The biblical theologican Jerome Murphy-O-Connor
argues against Jesus being a Galilean (of Nazareth) partly because he thinks Luke made up the census story. He believes Matthew got it right and that Jesus was a Judean (of Bethlehem) who ended up living in Nazareth.

I think his arguments are good ones for why the census story is probably a fabrication. I enjoy it when Christians make arguments that support atheism more than they realize. Here were his reasons:

1. Palestine was an ally, but not census part of the Roman Empire at the time. It was ruled independently of Rome by a King.

2. How Romans conducted the census is well-established. They expected people to remain where ever they were until counted.

3. Such an order would have been incredibly impractical for a number of reasons including highway robbery and thieves allowed into Jerusalem.

My attitude is that if Luke made up things then Matthew could have just as well. Why O'Connor would casually discount Luke as a fabricator, but hold up Matthew as reliable surprises me.

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