Historical Inaccuracy of Luke

Is Luke true to historical facts?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

First and foremost, it is necessary to point out that the Gospel of(or rather according to) Luke is an anonymous piece of literature. More information on this is given here. Many Christians that I have met consider the Gospel of Luke along with the other books of the New Testament as accurate historical texts with no errors. They are in other words, in their view, truly inspired and inerrant. One can understand the sentiments involved. Christianity revolves around the Bible(s) and as such it is regarded as a revelation from God. It is regarded as ‘the Word of God’. Being the ‘Word of God’ it has to meet certain standards. One of which is of course accuracy of facts and information. There can be no error in the Bible text according to the Christian fundamentalist, for an error in it is tentamount to saying that God is in error. In this article I shall expose the fallacy of this belief by showing a clear error in the text. The question then is how can inspired writers get things wrong and are not corrected by the One inspiring them? This then brings us to the topic proper, Is Luke true to historical facts? Several weeks ago my Australian Paltalk friend 28abc invited me to a room on Paltalk called Kick Back Cafe Christians Answer Back Loud(or something to that effect) in the Christian section to have a dialogue with a ‘pastor’ there. I wasn’t doing anything much so I agreed. Upon arrival I raised my hand to take the microphone. I think I had to wait for close to half an hour before I actually reached it because the Christian admins were droning and complaining on and on about Muslims and Islam. Anyway, the moment I got the microphone(knowing I might get knocked off by an admin) I posed the question quickly to the room and specifically to the Pastor who had a blue nick name. As is often the case before I could finish my point one of the admins dotted me. People in the room complained including the non-Muslims. The pastor raised his hand and waited in line. One of the admins didn’t give the mic to him immediately after me, but instead grabbed it and started dissing Islam and saying that the room isn’t about Islam(and I didn’t even mention the word Islam). She then started talking about the crucifixion and how Jesus had died for our sins and we should accept that. It was only after close to half an hour of going off the tangent and diatribing that the microphone was finally given to the pastor. We strongly suspected that the question was a bit too difficult for him(the pastor) so the admin had to intervene and start pulling wool over people’s eyes so as to allow the good pastor to do some spur of the moment searches(maybe google?). But, whatever it was the pastor came on and tried to answer. What came from him was expected disappointment. Instead of actually explaining the discrepency he started talking about some guy who lived more than a hundred years ago who was once a skeptic and became a believer after studying the gospel of Luke meticulously and found that what contained therein are accurate to history. The person that he appealed to is a certain British archeologist whose name is Sir William Ramsay(not to be confused with the chemist who lived about the same time). The argument is that this archeologist took the gospel to task in trying to disprove it, but instead discovered that it matched with historical and archeological findings. In this article I will postulate the same point that I did in the room which the pastor tried to answer which I think was hardly satisfactory. I did not discover this problem on my own. It is not something new. This problem has troubled many a conservative scholar who has studied the gospel according to Luke as pointed out in the People’s New Testament. In fact, this problem was recognised and spotted by the author of Izhar al-Haq, Maulana M. Rahmatullah Kairanvi, over 100 years ago. I heartily recommend the book to anyone interested in Christian-Muslim dialogues. It is one of the early scholarly writings in the field of comparative religion by a Muslim hand.

The problem

In Luke 2, verse 1 and 2 the following is stated:

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)”

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown admits that there is a rather difficult problem involved in the verses which I have discussed here. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown admits:

“2. first . when Cyrenius, &c.-a very perplexing verse, inasmuch as Cyrenius, or Quirinus, appears not to have been governor of Syria for about ten years after the birth of Christ, and the “taxing” under his administration was what led to the insurrection mentioned in Ac 5:37.”

No doubt, there is a problem here, but, that was not the only point of contention that I raised in the Paltalk Christian room. My other contention was on the fact that the verses claim that there was a worldwide(of the Roman empire) census decreed by Augustus. Jamiesson-Fausset-Brown makes the bold claim that:

“That there was a taxing, however, of the whole Roman Empire under Augustus, is now admitted by all; and candid critics, even of skeptical tendency, are ready to allow that there is not likely to be any real inaccuracy in the statement of our Evangelist.”

Is such a bold claim true to what we find in real history? Firstly, what one needs to know is that Jamieson-Fausset-Brown was written around 130 years ago just like Sir William Ramsay lived more than a hundred years ago. Current studies have yielded strong results that oppose both Jamieson-Fausset-Brown and Ramsay. Today we know that it is historically untenable that there was a worldwide census that covered the whole Roman empire at one time under Augustus. It is equally untenable to suggest that a global census took place as ordered by Augustus during Quirinius’ governorship and the reign of Herod.  This is observed by Rev. Geoffrey W.H. Lampe(M.C., D.D.) who’s Ely Professor of Divinity in Cambridge University in his commentary on Luke.

“In making this point Lk. seems to have made use of historical data with which he was imperfectly acquainted. A census was helf about A.D. 6, when Quirinius was legate of Syria and Coponius procurator of Judaea (Jos. A.t XV!!, xiii, 5 ; XVIII, i, I). This is referred to in Ac. 5:37, and Lk. was probably uncertain of its date and ignored its inconsistency involved here in associating it with the reign of Herod. A census ordered by Augustus could scarcely have taken place in Herod’s dominions without provoking disturbances, and would be unlikely to be unnoticed by Josephus. Lk.’s allusion to this as the ‘ first enrollment ‘ suggests that he is thinking of the census which, as the first to be held under the Roman administration of Judaea, caused the revolt of Judas of Galilee. There is evidence for the taking of a census every fourteen years in Egypt, the series possibly going back to A.D. 6; but there is no sure evidence for the extension of this system to other parts of the Empire at so early a date, and no mention is made by josephus of regular enrolments. On the evidence of Strabo, combined with two inscriptions, the lapis Venetus and the very fragmentary lapis Tiburinus, it has been argued that Quirinius was in Syria with an extraordinary legatine commission for military operations in Cilicia between 10 and 7 B.C., or possibly as holding a first governorship of the province from 3 to 2 B.C. If the former possibility were established, the historical problem would still not be completely solved; if the latter, the inconsistency with a dating in Herod’s reign still stands. Tertullian (adv. Marc. iv, 19) dates the birth of Jesus in the governorship over Syria of Saturninus (9 to 6 B.C.), which may well be correct.” [1] (emphasis added)

Moreover, Rev. George Ogg(B.SC., D.D., D. Litt) says:

“The assumption seems inevitable that Lk. 2:2 is an insertion made by a person who wrongly identified that enrolment of Lk 2:1 with a well-known enrolment of Judaea made by Quirinius in A.D. 6/7.” [2] (emphasis added)

The late Prof. Raymond E. Brown who had been described as one of the ‘preeminent biblical scholars’ notes:

“In the case of Luke’s census by Caesar Augustus of the whole world when Quirinius was governor of Syria(2:1-2), a census that presumably was made when Herod the Great was King of Judea(1:5), we have a similar problem. In the same Birth of the Messiah, I examined all the historical records about the governorship of Quirinius in Syria and census by Augustus. There never was a single census that covered the whole world under Augustus, and the census (of Judea, not involving Nazareth!) that took place under Quirinius occured about ten years after the death of Herod the Great, and presumably, therefore, after the birth of Jesus. One is hard-pressed, then, to think that either evangelist is accurate on public events. Probably postfactum(after the resurrection) the birth of Jesus was associated with loose memories of phenomena that occured in a period of ten years before or after his birth.” [3] (emphasis added)

Similarly, he states the following in his well-received An Introduction to the New Testament:

“The setting for the birth of Jesus is supplied by the decree of Caesar Augustus for a census of the whole world, the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Historically this description is fraught with problems: There never was a census of the whole Empire under Augustus (but a number of local censuses), and the census of Judea (not of Galilee) under Quirinius, the governor of Syria, took place in AD 6-7, probably at least ten years too late for the birth of Jesus. The best explanation is that, although Luke likes to set his Christian drama in the context of well-known events from antiquity, sometimes he does so inaccurately.” [4]

Much more recently, the Bible expert and pre-eminent textual critic Prof. Bart D. Ehrman in his latest book says:

The historical problems with Luke are even more pronounced. For one thing, we have relatively good records for the reign of Caesar Augustus, and there is no mention anywhere in any of them of an empire-wide census for which everyone had to register by returning to their ancestral home. And how could such a thing even be imagined? Joseph returns to Bethlehelm because his ancestor David was born there. But David lived a thousand years before Joseph. Are we to imagine that everyone in the Roman Empire was required return to the homes of their ancestors from a thousand years earlier? If we had a new worldwide census today and each of us had to return to the towns of our ancestors a thousand years back – where would you go? Can you imagine the total disruption of human life that this kind of universal exodus would require? And can you imagine that such a project would never be mentioned in any of the newspapers? There is not a single reference to any such census in ny ancient source, apart from Luke.” [5] (emphasis added)

The People’s New Testament lends its support stating:

“Luke thus sets the story of Jesus in the context of political struggle, taxation, and the imperial and religious claims of Rome (Acts 26:26!). Luke’s main point is clearly theological, but the details of his historical presentation are problematic. If Jesus was born in the days of Herod, the census or registration was at least ten years later, it was not of all the world but of Judea, and it was not Roman practice to have people return to their native towns to register. Luke, writing eighty or ninety years after the events he narrates, apparently did not have accurate historical information. The claim he makes is not dependent on the accuracy of historical detail…”[6] (emphasis added)

Research professor at the Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure University, Robert J. Karris in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary says:

“1-3 There are historical problems in vv 1-3: Quirinius was governor of Syria in AD 6-7 and not during the reign of Herod (see 1:5), who ruled from 34-4 BC; there is no extra-Lucan evidence that under Caesar Augustus a worldwide census occured or that people were required to register in their ancestral towns. As Luke showed also in Acts 5:37, he has not a well informed memory about the census.” [7]

Scholar and historian Ian Wilson states:

“Unfortunately, while the first-ever census among Jews did indeed take place during Quirinius’ governorship, this did not and could not have happened until at least 6 AD, the first year that Judaea came under direct Roman rule, and it was reliably recorded by Josephus as an unprecedented event of that year. To put it bluntly, Luke has resorted to invention.” [8] (emphasis added)

Biblical scholar Dr. L. Michael White after discussing this issue spanning four and a quarter pages long concludes the following:

“Taken together, these facts show that the census was a new imposition in 6 CE and only in the region of Judea. It did not affect the Galilee, where the Lukan author says Joseph and Mary were living at the time. In the end it does not fit the historical circumstances for the birth of Jesus, nor does it fit with the Lukan claim that the birht took place during the lifetime of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5, 26).

…the story of the census is primarily a literary and theological device for the Lukan author.” [9]

What is the result of this little excercise? The result does not look good for the fundamental Christian. In verse 3 of Luke 1, the author with much boldness makes the claim for his writing that

“It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus”

Apparently, it wasn’t that perfect or carefully investigated after all! The fact that he got things wrong at the early stages of his writings points to the falsity of his claim that he had investigated carefully or had perfect understanding as the KJV and ASV renders it. How then can anyone attribute this to inerrant divine inspiration?

Addendum

Former Senior Lecturer at Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion, W. R. Telford is particularly blunt in his comments concerning this historical blunder.

“To determine the tax base for the tributum and other taxes, local census were taken. After the deposition of Archelaus in 6 CE, for example, when Judaea reverted to direct Roman rule, Quirinius, the Roman commander in Syria, ordered a general census to be taken in Syria and Palestine (cf. Josephus, Ant. XVII.355; XVIII.1-10,26). It may be a confusion with this particular census, which caused much protest, that lies behind the datum of Luke chapter 2, verse 1 that in the period of Quirinius’ governorship, a general ‘decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.’ Nothing, in fact, is known of a census at this time that was Empire-wide, and logically as well as logistically the idea is nonsensical.[10] (emphasis added)

 

Notes:

[1]  Lampe, G. W. H. (1962). Luke. In Matthew Black (Ed.), Peake’s Commentary on the Bible. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 825

[2] G. Ogg. Ibid. pp. 728

[3] Brown, R. E. (1990). Response to 101 Questions on the Bible. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press. pp. 79

[4] Brown, R. E. (1997). An Introduction to the New Testament. United States: Yale University Press. pp. 233

[5] Ehrman, B. D. (2009). Jesus, Interrupted. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 32-33

[6] Boring, M. E., & Craddock, F. B. (2010). The People’s New Testament. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 181

[7] Karris, R.J. (1990). The Gospel According to Luke. In Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer & Roland E. Murphy (Eds.), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. 682

[8] Wilson, I. (2000). Jesus: The Evidence. HarperSanFrancisco. pp. 55

[9] White, L. M. (2010). Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 239

[10] Telford, W.R. (2014). The New Testament. London: Oneworld Publications. p. 7

 

Related articles:

Did Luke meet Paul?

The Anonymous Four Gospels

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15 Responses to “Historical Inaccuracy of Luke”

  1. ibnsaad says:

    Wow thanks for sharing this, this a clear refutation that Luke is not the Word of God.

    However like any argument against the Bible, the christian will defend it by claiming “its a living document”. Whatever that means.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      You are most welcome. There will be more articles to come that will insha’Allah continue to undermine the Bible which is our aim. Islam claims that the Christians have corrupted their books and attribute them to God…I think we have proven that this claim is TRUE and Muhammad s.a.w. was not even a Bart D. Ehrman lol.

  2. ARMY OF JESUS IS ISLAM says:

    Can you believe this preeminent CHRISTIAN preeminent SCHOLAR Raymond E. Brown?

    HIS BIBLE CLAIMS: 2 Timothy 3:16 (King James Version)
    16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..

    And to see Prof. Raymond E. Brown confession:

    There never was a single census that covered the whole world under Augustus, and the census (of Judea, not involving Nazareth!) that took place under Quirinius occurred about ten years after the death of Herod the Great, and presumably, therefore, after the birth of Jesus”

    Yet this person is still a Christian? After seeing the clear contradiction in the so called: inspired scripture Luke: 2:1-2

    In the name of Allah, Most gracious, Most merciful..
    They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the Right Path). (Al-Bakarah 2:18)

    • Captain Planet says:

      Father Brown passed away a couple of years ago and was one of 20th century’s greatest scholar on the New Testament, particularly an authority on the Johannine writings.

      The problem is that you, presumably, wrongfully believe that mainstream Christians are fundamentalists (those who believe that the Bible contains not a single error of ant sort imaginable). The fact is that mainstream Christians, which includes BOTH conservatives and liberals, do not view the Bible as an inerrant source, one which lacks all types of errors and mistakes. Instead, the readily grant the presence of inaccuracies in the Bible, though they disagree over its extant. They also tend to acknowledge that a number of the traditional authorship claims for the various Biblical books are probably wrong.

      Scholars such as the late Father Brown, those who are in the mainstream, have very sophisticated and complex views on the nature and inspiration of Scripture.

      Unfortunately, 99.9% of Muslims who interact with Christians almost always do so with fundamentalist Christians, or those just a step away from fundamentalism – a very tiny little minority among Christians whom not many take with much seriousness, if any.

      I hope Muslims would read the works of the late Father Brown, James Dunn, Graham Stanton, James Barr, and so many other brilliant Christian scholars who firmly belong in the mainstream and explain their views on inspiration and Scripture.

      • Ibn Anwar says:

        Greetings,
        Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts as always, though, i have to strongly disagree with your claiming that “presumably” I believe that mainstream Christians are fundamentalists. I did not mention anything like that in my article. My criticism on inerrancy is not much difference from Bart Ehrman’s whose popular book Misquoting Jesus deals heavily on. In any case I have interacted with hundreds of Christians for the past 6 years and I hardly ever find those who would be prepared to admit there are errors in their Bibles..in fact, so far the only one that I have actually spoken to who “readily grants” that there are problems with the scriptures would be Ar198 who has commented on this site a few times. You would be living in delusion if you think most Christians accept the views of textual critics…why do you think Raymond Brown was about the only real textual critic comparable to protestant ones as many observers noted? Have you ever visited the so called Bible belt? How many people live there? a score of 100 people? Or are there millions? lol..come on man….
        The Catholic catechism bluntly states,
        “135 “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God” (DV 24).”

        Elsewhere we find that it says,
        “134 All sacred Scripture is but one book, and this one book is Christ, “because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ” (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2, 8: PL 176, 642: cf. ibid. 2, 9: PL 176, 642-643).”

        “111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.”
        The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.”

        In fact, there are many Catholics who deem Raymond Brown as deviant for his messing around with scripture using methods that are not familiar with the Church. The catholic website roman-catholic.com lists him together with Hans Kung and McBrien under the heading “Heresies and Heretics” http://www.roman-catholic.com/.....etics1.htm

        There is no doubt that millions of Christians an Catholics percieve the Bible as inerrant without errors. It is these Christians that the article addresses.

  3. Captain Planet says:

    Assalam Alaikum Ibn Anwar,

    There is a confusion here. I was NOT responding to anything you had said in your article (with which I agree) or any of your comments in the comments section. I thought this was very clear. I was responding to the “Army Of Jesus Is Islam” fellow who, I presumed, believed that mainstream Christians were fundamentalists. Hence I clicked on the “reply” link underneath his post and then offered my comments.

    I have no idea how you wrongly concluded I was interacting with any of your comments.

    In a nutshell, my comments were not directed at you or anything you had written at any location. So, I was not saying that “presumably” you (Ibn Anwar) believe such and such…again, all of my comments were meant for “Army Of Jesus Is Islam” only.

    But now I will respond to your comments, since they are obviously directed towards me.

    You (Ibn Anwar) wrote:

    “In any case I have interacted with hundreds of Christians for the past 6 years and I hardly ever find those who would be prepared to admit there are errors in their Bibles..in fact, so far the only one that I have actually spoken to who “readily grants” that there are problems with the scriptures would be Ar198 who has commented on this site a few times.”

    The problem with the above is that the Christians you (and almost all Muslims online) interact with happen to be fundamentalist and extreme Evangelical Christians. They hardly represent mainstream Christians. Putting online interactions aside, you go to any decent library containing books on the Bible and you will immediately find plenty of writings acknowledging the presence of errors and mistakes in the Bible. I can cite many conservative sources, such as writings by Howard Marshall, Richard Bauckham, Bruce Metzger, and the many contributors to the conservative “New Bible Dictionary” who admit the presence of errors/mistakes/discrepancies in the Bible and doubt traditional authorship claims.

    Thus, if you venture into the scholarly writings, you will get a completely different picture.

    It is not a good idea to derive conclusions about what mainstream Christianity is based on interactions with online Christian polemicists and apologists, who are hardly representatives of mainstream Christiandom. They are completely out of the fold of mainstream Christianity and represent a deviant tiny little group, be it within Protestant and Catholic form of Christianity.

    You wrote:

    “You would be living in delusion if you think most Christians accept the views of textual critics…why do you think Raymond Brown was about the only real textual critic comparable to protestant ones as many observers noted?”

    I do not know how you dragged textual criticism into this. In my original comments, I asserted that mainstream Christians did not view the Bible as an inerrant source. Now even if we suppose that “most” Christians dismiss some unknown stance adopted by textual critics, I don’t see how that rebuts what I said? I know plenty of Christians who accept the textual integrity of the New Testament text. Yet, at the same time, they do not regard it to be an inerrant source. So just because someone accepts the textual authenticity of the New Testament, that does not follow that they necessarily view it as an inerrant document.

    Secondly, to correct you, Father Brown was NOT a textual critic. I know of no research he conducted in the field of textual criticism. His area of expertise was not textual criticism, though I am sure that like any other New Testament scholar, he would have had a basic understanding of the principals of textual criticism. In his commentary on the Johannine writings, like any other exegete, he commented on text critical issues when they came up, but I am quite sure he was not a trained textual critic (a very small number of New Testament scholars specialise in textual criticism).

    Thirdly, I do not know what to make of your statement, “You would be living in delusion if you think most Christians accept the views of textual critics…” Well, Ibn Anwar, as far as “most” Christians are concerned, they have no interest in textual criticism since, understandably, it is a dry and technical subject. But more importantly, textual critics entertain a variety of positions on a host of text critical issues. Textual criticism is not a monolithic area of study. Thus, rather than being vague, one needs to be precise and explain exactly which particular view among textual critics would likely be dismissed by “most” Christians.

    You wrote:

    “Have you ever visited the so called Bible belt? How many people live there? a score of 100 people? Or are there millions? lol..come on man….”

    That’s a very bizarre line of “reasoning.” So because millions live in the Bible belt, you conclude that mainstream Christians (there are 2 billion Christians on the globe) view the Bible as an inerrant book and I was wrong in asserting that mainstream Christians, apart from fundamentalists and extreme evangelicals, did not view the New Testament as an inerrant source? What about the millions and millions MORE who dwell outside the Bible belt region, the millions and millions all over Europe, and in South America? What about the fact that the overwhelming majority of Biblical seminaries do not adopt an absolutest inerranist view on the Bible? I suppose we can ignore all this and just form judgments based on our interaction with online Christian apologists and because “millions” live in the Bible belt (and, of course, utterly ignoring the fact that you find a mixture of views on the Bible even within the populations of the Bible belt!)? Not a very good approach…

    Then you go on mentioning the so-called “many” Catholics who deem Father Brown, a moderate scholar, to be a “deviant.” How did come to conclude that “many” Catholics deem him to be “deviant?” You are simply wrong and probably know little about Father Brown. There are extremists among all groups, within the Catholics as well, who are not part of the Catholic mainstream. Father Brown is a recognized authority for mainstream Catholics, his books are read till this day throughout the top notch Catholic seminaries (with the exception of a small fraction of right-wing fundamentalist ones) and he was fully endorsed as an authority by the Catholic Church (led by the late Pope John Paul).

    You said that Father Brown was a “deviant” because of “…his messing around with scripture using methods that are not familiar with the Church.” – Mate, someone is feeding you with total baloney and disinformation here. Stop reading the website where you got this from…its a brotherly advice. This is completely false since Father Brown was a qualified scholar of the New Testament and applied the WELL-KNOWN AND UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED (dismissed, of course, by the tiny band of fundamentalists) HISTORICAL-CRITICAL METHOD to study the Bible. ALL scholars do this and have been doing this for around 100 years now.

    Finally, you need to be updated regarding the CURRENT OFFICIAL stance adopted by the Catholic Church on the status of the Bible. I will suggest you read the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” (1993). In it you will find a defense of the application of the historical-critical approach to study the Bible. It emphasises the need to pay particular attention to the historical and cultural contexts in which the Bible was written. It speaks against the fundamentalist approach and outlook of the Bible. This represents the current stance adopted by the Catholic Church.

    To give some examples, they admit the unlikelihood of single authorship of the Pentateuch; they acknowledge that the gospel traditions underwent a development, reaching a basic form within the early Christian communities; they acknowledge that the evangelists made personal contributions, driven by certain theological tendencies.

    As for your citations from the Dei Verbum produced by Vatican II, notice the lack of the term “inerrancy” within it. Your citations state that the Bible contains the word of God, that the Bible is inspired, and that “all Divine scripture speaks of Christ” etc. So what? When did I deny this? This was ALSO Father Brown’s view. None of these citations presume the absence of errors and mistakes within the Bible. If you dead the entire Dei Verbum, you will note that it permitted Catholics to use MODERN METHODS OF SCHOLARSHIP (the historical-critical method, which PRESUMES THE ERRANCY OF THE BIBLE) to investigate the Bible. Secondly, it emphasised the “living tradition” of the Church to understand the Bible. That the Bible cannot contain any conceivable error is simply not to be found in this document.

    Ok, so this is the official and mainstream Catholic stance in a nutshell. Anything contrary to this, particularly the fundamentalist inerrant view, is an aberration and out of mainstream Christianity.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Greetings,
      First and foremost I would like to apologise for the misunderstanding. I thought you were addressing my and the article. I didn’t notice before that your comment appeared in a sub-box to Army’s which is clear indication that you were responding to him. The error is on my part. However, I stand with everything I said in my previous response despite your lenghthy rebuttle. Firstly, I don’t understand why you felt the need to reiterate again that,
      “The problem with the above is that the Christians you (and almost all Muslims online) interact with happen to be fundamentalist and extreme Evangelical Christians. They hardly represent mainstream Christians. Putting online interactions aside, you go to any decent library containing books on the Bible and you will immediately find plenty of writings acknowledging the presence of errors and mistakes in the Bible. I can cite many conservative sources, such as writings by Howard Marshall, Richard Bauckham, Bruce Metzger, and the many contributors to the conservative “New Bible Dictionary” who admit the presence of errors/mistakes/discrepancies in the Bible and doubt traditional authorship claims.”

      I thought I had made it clear that,
      “Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts as always, though, i have to strongly disagree with your claiming that “presumably” I believe that mainstream Christians are fundamentalists. I did not mention anything like that in my article. My criticism on inerrancy is not much difference from Bart Ehrman’s whose popular book Misquoting Jesus deals heavily on.”

      You mentioned Bruce Metzger. I am sure you know his eminent student Bart Ehrman…what does Bart D. Ehrman say in his books especially Misquoting Jesus on ‘inerrancy’? It is the attitutde that Bart Ehrman discussed in his book that prevails in many if not most Christian circles that the article addresses. I’m not sure why you cannot understand this. The Qur’an criticises the worship of Mary…how many Christians worship Mary today? How many really worshipped Mary as a goddess in derogation of Allah when the Qur’an was revealed? A score of Christians? Yet, the Qur’an saw it fit to mention them even though they were not the majority? Even if the Christians that believe in absolute inerrancy of scripture number only a few from the masses that by no means render anything I have said thus far moot. However, I do not believe that most practicing Christians are what YOU may deem “mainstream”. The Bible Belt is but an example of Christian societies steeped in fundamentalism(that does not mean it’s 100% so). However, there are literally MILLIONS! There are many other significant pockets of fundamentalists around the world, including in most parts of South-East Asia where I am from. The Christians believe that the Bible truly is the Word of God from genesis to revelations and being that it has no errors(they love to quote the last passage of revelations to prove their point). What about Raymond Brown? You say that he’s no textual critic. Have you read the New Jerome Biblical Commentary? Does it not use principles in modern criticism? What about his An Introduction to Biblical Criticism? Have you read his 101 questions which is where the quotation in the article is taken from? He was both a textual critic as well as a trained theologian and hailed as an expert of the New Testament. I’m not sure how you can say he’s not a textual critic.

      You said,
      “I do not know how you dragged textual criticism into this. In my original comments, I asserted that mainstream Christians did not view the Bible as an inerrant source. Now even if we suppose that “most” Christians dismiss some unknown stance adopted by textual critics, I don’t see how that rebuts what I said? I know plenty of Christians who accept the textual integrity of the New Testament text. Yet, at the same time, they do not regard it to be an inerrant source. So just because someone accepts the textual authenticity of the New Testament, that does not follow that they necessarily view it as an inerrant document.”

      With all honesty among the hundreds of Christians I have spoken to and intimated only two have actually followed what you describe in the above i.e. Ar198(whom I may describe as a liberal Catholic) and my good friend who is considered a heretic for denying Jesus’ divinity Rev. Samuel aka AV LXX aka Common Sense(on islamicarchives). You’re trying to distinguish authenticity with inerrance. Many Christians do not percieve such a distinction. Yes, a text may be authentic in that somebody actually wrote it, but that does not follow that it is inspired. If a text is proven faulty because it contains false information then the text cannot be attributed to divine inspiration lest God is in error. In the article I have showed that ‘mainstream’ scholarship rebukes Luke 2:1 and 2 as historically false. In that case it undermines the integrity of the authorship since at the outset he boldly claims that he had looked into the things that he writes carefully or perfectly. The fact that he got the information wrong and at the beginning of the narrative on the subject matter i.e. Jesus shows that he had not done his homework well. The question posed at the end of the article is directed to those who specifically believe in the inerrancy of Biblical texts for which there are millions(to which you are willing to consider).

      You said,
      “As for your citations from the Dei Verbum produced by Vatican II, notice the lack of the term “inerrancy” within it. Your citations state that the Bible contains the word of God, that the Bible is inspired, and that “all Divine scripture speaks of Christ” etc. So what? When did I deny this? This was ALSO Father Brown’s view. None of these citations presume the absence of errors and mistakes within the Bible. If you dead the entire Dei Verbum, you will note that it permitted Catholics to use MODERN METHODS OF SCHOLARSHIP (the historical-critical method, which PRESUMES THE ERRANCY OF THE BIBLE) to investigate the Bible. Secondly, it emphasised the “living tradition” of the Church to understand the Bible. That the Bible cannot contain any conceivable error is simply not to be found in this document.”

      Right. Well, what I was doing was not to show that the official Catholic church’s stance is that the Bible is inerrant. You would die first before you discover any such claim made on my part because I never said anything like that. Rather, what I was doing was to show that even in Catholocism you will find opposition to techniques employed by scholars whom they percieve as incompatible with the church. The citations I give show that the Bible(s) is described as inspired i.e. the whole thing…again, how does the ‘sophisticated’ Brown approach say that Luke 2:1 to 2 is inspired? Can you explain? Don’t give me names…give me the methodology that is utilised and let us see how it can be called inspired and erronuous at the same time. The fact of the matter is that the Catholic church as well as other churches have had to change their stances and doctrines again and again..evolving throughout the ages contingent on new discoveries. Such institutions can hardly claim divine office. You say that the official church position today is that it’s all right to use modern techniques that undermines the idea of inerrancy(paraphrasing)..the implication is that prior to this stance it was the opposite. Were they wrong then? Why are they correct now? Or could it be that they have been wrong all along running around in circles?

      One last question, are you Muslim?

      • Captain Planet says:

        Ibn Anwar, Assalam Alaikum,

        I will reply to your confused comments in a couple of hours. But, for now, I wanted to reply to your following “question”:

        “One last question, are you Muslim?”

        Are you trying to be funny here? Because it ain’t working.

        OF COURSE I am a Muslim, as any rational person could gather from my comments posted on this blog under various papers thus far (though one certainly cannot know of my religion from my alias).

        I wrote elsewhere on your blog in defense of the authenticity of the Quran by giving some info on the Sanaa and other manuscripts, requesting readers to read islamic-awareness.org for more details. Does it make any sense for a Christian to do this?

        Under the same article (Preservation and Reliability of the Qur’an)I advised a Muslim (Zayed) to read scholarly writings to improve his knowledge and avoid getting into discussions with Christian polemicists in light of his poor knowledge. Does it make sense for a Christian (or non-Muslim) to give such an advice?

        Under your article entitled “Response to Dr. James White,” I wrote against James White and said that Christian Trinitarian arguments make no sense and I argued that Jesus was not God. I cited one scholarly source stating Jesus did not claim to be divine. I even wrote: “From a purely historical perspective – and I am attempting to talk here as a historian and not as a Muslim – it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that Jesus, a Jew of first century Palestine, thought of himself as divine in any sense…” Here I clearly mentioned me being Muslim (“I am attempting to talk here as a historian and not as a Muslim”). Does it make sense to suppose that a Christian made such arguments and said that though he is a Muslim, he would just speak as a historian on this issue? (!!) (read also my last comment underneath the same article of yours).

        Under your article entitled, “Unveiling Hate Muslims aka Haman,” I praised your paper but just slightly disagreed with you on one issue (9-11 conspiracy). I wrote (capital added): “Unfortunately, SOME BAD AMONG US, who violated Islamic law and teachings, carried out this act.” – does it make any sense for a non-Muslim to say this?

        Under your article “Did Paul really meet Jesus?,” I argued why Paul was a false apostle. Does it make sense for a Christian to say this?

        Yet you are still “confused” and cannot figure out I am a Muslim? SubhanAllah 🙂

        I wonder, what made you all of a sudden “suspicious” about me being a Muslim? Because I rightfully said that mainstream Christians are not fundamentalists and grant the presence of errors, mistakes and discrepancies in the Bible?

        I suppose this is an indirect form of takfir which instantly comes from young, half-knowledgeable, and arrogant brand of internet Muslim apologists who just hate being corrected. I don’t really mind nor care even if you outright make takfir upon me (since it’s just going to come back on you…I am sure you know the hadith).

        In anycase, I will offer a reply to your comments later and will try not to post any more comments here Inshallah.

      • Captain Planet says:

        Ibn Anwar,

        This is my reply to your latest comments. Before I begin, let me make a general observation. Like almost any other young arrogant Islamic internet apologist, you will probably continue arguing with me irrationally, a trade mark of the current generation of Islamic internet writers, who lack basic adab and Islamic etiquettes of communication when dealing with a different viewpoint. From your comments it is clear to me that you have barely just begun reading up on Biblical studies and know mostly nothing about modern critical scholarship on the Bible (else we wouldn’t be having this discussion). As the years go by and you become more mature, develop more adab, and increase in knowledge, you will then realize that I was right and you were wrong and arrogant.

        These will be probably my last set of comments on this blog. After this I will try not to visit this blog again.

        Your comments in inverted commas followed by my reply (I will only be ignoring some irrelevant comments of yours which do not really matter):

        “You mentioned Bruce Metzger. I am sure you know his eminent student Bart Ehrman…”

        Yes, I know him and have also been in communication with him for a few years. A very nice guy.

        Moving on, you wrote:

        “what does Bart D. Ehrman say in his books especially Misquoting Jesus on ‘inerrancy’?”

        He says nothing in this book, or any other book, which is contrary to what I said on mainstream Christian outlook on the Bible. If you do not believe me, which I am sure you don’t, then send an email to Ehrman and ask him what is the mainstream Christian view on the Bible – do the majority regard it to be inerrant in the sense that it contains no conceivable error within it whatsoever, or is this a view shared by a small minority? As him this question.

        You wrote:

        “It is the attitutde that Bart Ehrman discussed in his book that prevails in many if not most Christian circles that the article addresses.”

        No, that attitude prevails in SOME Christian circles not in mainstream Christian circles and seminaries. Now if in your article you were discussing the attitude prevalent within SOME Christian circles, THEN GREAT. I HAVE NO “OBJECTION” TO THAT AT ALL.

        Please note, I NEVER wrote anything against ANY content in your paper to begin with. You just began a pointless argumentative discussion, without any adab of writing, with me for no reason.

        You wrote:

        “The Qur’an criticises the worship of Mary…how many Christians worship Mary today? How many really worshipped Mary as a goddess in derogation of Allah when the Qur’an was revealed? A score of Christians? Yet, the Qur’an saw it fit to mention them even though they were not the majority? Even if the Christians that believe in absolute inerrancy of scripture number only a few from the masses that by no means render anything I have said thus far moot.”

        Wow…I have NO IDEA what you are on about here. What a twisted argumentation to insist upon your factual mistake (that mainstream Christians are inerranists). Now if you argue that there are some Christians who view the Bible as an absolute inerrant book which could contain no error whatsoever and that you wish to show that they are wrong, THEN FINE…ABSOLUTELY GREAT…I SAID NOTHING TO OBJECT TO THIS TYPE OF AN ARGUMENT.

        I only (later on, once you replied to my comments directed at “Army Of Jesus Is Islam”) said this in my original comments: mainstream Christians are not fundamentalists and are not absolutely inerranist, that they grant the presence of errors and mistakes in the Bible. Period. That’s all. Your analogy of the Quran criticising Christians for worshipping Marium is just besides the point and irrelevant here.

        You wrote:

        “However, I do not believe that most practicing Christians are what YOU may deem “mainstream”.”

        Show us the statistical model that you applied to arrive at this conclusion? Now, generally speaking, I HAD NOT SAID that “most practicing Christians” were part of “mainstream” Christians. I am sure there are many many many many many in the mainstream who are not practicing, and many who are practicing who are not in the mainstream. SO WHAT? That has absolutely nothing to do with my FACTUALLY CORRECT claim: mainstream Christianity (practicing or otherwise) does not view the Bible as an inerrant document in an absolute sense.

        You wrote:

        “The Bible Belt is but an example of Christian societies steeped in fundamentalism(that does not mean it’s 100% so). However, there are literally MILLIONS! There are many other significant pockets of fundamentalists around the world, including in most parts of South-East Asia where I am from. The Christians believe that the Bible truly is the Word of God from genesis to revelations and being that it has no errors(they love to quote the last passage of revelations to prove their point).”

        You conveniently ignored what I said. What about the many many many many MORE LITERALLY MILLIONS outside the Bible belt and the “Bible belts” in other parts of the world, whether in South-East Asia or parts of mainland Europe?

        Because “literally” millions dwell in the Bible belt in America and elsewhere, it does not follow that they represent mainstream Christianity. They still constitute a minority in the 2 BILLION+ population of Christians.

        Now, I will grant you the real possibility that most COMMON Christian folks in places such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc would view the Bible as a document that lacks all errors and mistakes. The important question is this: WHAT IS THE VIEWPOINT ADOPTED BY THE SCHOLARSHIP? It is crucial that you LOOK AT BIBLICAL SCHOLARSHIP: once you do that you will realize that fundamentalist and extreme conservatism constitutes a TINY MINISCULE FRACTION of Biblical scholarship.

        Are you getting any of this?

        Now, do not believe my words. Just do this: GO TO A DECENT LIBRARY ON BIBLICAL STUDIES AND BROWSE THROUGH THEIR BOOK COLLECTION. Tell us how many present the Bible as an inerrant source lacking all mistakes and how many acknowledge it does contain errors?

        I now move on to perhaps the oddest (also irrelevant) comments you made. You wrote:

        “What about Raymond Brown? You say that he’s no textual critic. Have you read the New Jerome Biblical Commentary? Does it not use principles in modern criticism? What about his An Introduction to Biblical Criticism? Have you read his 101 questions which is where the quotation in the article is taken from? He was both a textual critic as well as a trained theologian and hailed as an expert of the New Testament. I’m not sure how you can say he’s not a textual critic.”

        Look, with all due respect, you are awfully confused and know little about scholarship. Let me correct you in these steps:

        1. Not every Biblical scholar is a textual critic. Only a FEW Biblical scholars specialise in textual criticism.

        2. Raymond Brown was one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century. But he was not a textual critic. I say this not for any personal reasons (what possible reason could I have to deny that he was a textual critic??) but because he really was not a textual critic. That’s simply a fact. You can easily prove me wrong as follows: just present us the reference of any essay published by Raymond Brown in a peer review journal on textual criticism. If he was a textual critic, then he MUST have written papers on this subject. So let us see you presenting the names of those papers. I know you can NEVER do this for a simple reason: Raymond Brown was not a textual critic and, therefore, had written no specialised papers on this subject in any peer reviewed journal.

        3. I have seen many entries from the Jerome Biblical Commentary – it is just that: a single volume commentary on the Bible, together with essays on issues pertaining to the Bible. Yes indeed, it uses “principals of modern criticism” (historical-critical method). So what? ALL scholarly books on the Bible do this; does that mean they are all books on textual criticism or by trained textual critics? NO!!

        The Jerome Biblical Commentary is not a specialised work on textual criticism. MANY scholars who write books and commentaries on the New Testament briefly discuss textual criticism even though they are not textual critics. For example, James D. G. Dunn, a renowned expert on the historical Jesus subject, has written an introductory article on New Testament text and transmission in the “Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible.” But guess what: HE IS NOT A TEXTUAL CRITIC! Similarly, though I do not have the Jerome Biblical Commentary with me right now, I am quite sure there must be a section within it on Biblical transmission and text by one of its contributors. That does not mean that Raymond Brown (or whoever authored that article) was a textual critic.

        4. “An Introduction to Biblical Criticism” or did you mean “An Introduction to the New Testament?” I do not think that Raymond Brown wrote any book with the first title (though I could be wrong, in which case it would still not in anyway “disprove” what I said). But I do have his Introduction to the New Testament, probably the best introduction around at the moment. In chapter three of this book, Raymond Brown gives a very brief introduction to textual criticism. That’s it. Likewise, he also gives an introduction to the canonisation of the Bible. This is what most scholars, who are not textual critics, do in their introductions to the New Testament.

        5. I have Raymond Brown’s 101 question book (though it is lost somewhere in my bedroom). Does he say in this book that he is a textual critic? I don’t think so.

        Conclusion: Raymond Brown was a top notch Biblical scholar and authority, a recognized expert on the Johannine corpus and a trained theologian. BUT he was not a textual critic and he did not write on this subject in any peer review journal. It’s just a fact whether you like it or not.

        Now, just to make you ‘happy’ and for arguments sake, let us say this: Raymond Brown was indeed a textual critic. Fine, let’s go along with this if it pleases you since it does nothing to “disprove” what I said: that mainstream Christians are not absolute inerranists.

        You wrote:

        “With all honesty among the hundreds of Christians I have spoken to and intimated only two have actually followed what you describe in the above i.e. Ar198(whom I may describe as a liberal Catholic) and my good friend who is considered a heretic for denying Jesus’ divinity Rev. Samuel aka AV LXX aka Common Sense(on islamicarchives).”

        This does not mean that I am wrong when I say that mainstream Christians do not view the Bible as an absolute inerrant source lacking any conceivable error. I know you are been almost exclusively running into fundamentalist and extreme conservative Christians… I guess these are the brand of Christians you will mostly encounter from Malaysia. But once you read scholarly writings, get out from your little bubble and see the rest of the world (Europe, Russia, America, South America), you will then soon realize that mainstream Christians do not view the Bible as an inerrant source in an absolute sense.

        Many years ago I too was having discussions with such Christians, what seemed to me at the time like “hundreds” of Christians, on the internet and thought they constituted mainstream Christianity. Then I began reading scholarly books, I visited churches, spoke to scholars, looked at the so many seminaries on the Bible and the courses in universities (I am currently doing a course) etc etc. I then realized how wrong I had been. Absolute inerrancy is not a part of mainstream scholarship. I know you will not admit this truth right now since it is often hard to admit ones mistake, but you will realize this as you continue reading and getting mature in your outlook.

        You wrote:

        “You’re trying to distinguish authenticity with inerrance. Many Christians do not percieve such a distinction. Yes, a text may be authentic in that somebody actually wrote it, but that does not follow that it is inspired.”

        I have no idea what you mean by your first sentence, as for your second sentence (“a text may be authentic in that somebody actually wrote it, but that does not follow that it is inspired”), I COMPLETELY AGREE.

        Now tell us where did I say that because a text is authentic it is therefore inspired? Where on earth did I say this??

        You wrote:

        “If a text is proven faulty because it contains false information then the text cannot be attributed to divine inspiration lest God is in error.”

        Umm….YES. Where/when did I say the contrary?

        You wrote:

        “In the article I have showed that ‘mainstream’ scholarship rebukes Luke 2:1 and 2 as historically false. In that case it undermines the integrity of the authorship since at the outset he boldly claims that he had looked into the things that he writes carefully or perfectly.”

        Yes, so thanks for finally agreeing with me that mainstream scholarship (though I do not know why you enclose it within ‘’) does not view the Bible as an absolute inerrant source.

        You wrote:

        “The fact that he got the information wrong and at the beginning of the narrative on the subject matter i.e. Jesus shows that he had not done his homework well. The question posed at the end of the article is directed to those who specifically believe in the inerrancy of Biblical texts for which there are millions(to which you are willing to consider).“

        Umm…alright…so what? Yes, so out of 2 billion plus Christians, a couple of millions (constituting a small section) believe the Bible is inerrant. SO WHAT? Does that “disprove” something I said? Does it somehow “disprove” the FACT that absolute inerrancy constitutes a TINY FRACTION of mainstream Biblical scholarship???

        Then after making some incoherent statements justifying your WEIRD use of Dei Verbum, for which I have no time to waste responding, you wrote:

        “The citations I give show that the Bible(s) is described as inspired i.e. the whole thing…again, how does the ’sophisticated’ Brown approach say that Luke 2:1 to 2 is inspired? Can you explain? Don’t give me names…give me the methodology that is utilised and let us see how it can be called inspired and erronuous at the same time.”

        Why the bloody HELL are you asking me, a Muslim, to explain to you “how” Lk. 2:1 and 2 are still to be deemed “inspired” if they are erroneous? When did I say that I “agreed” with the theological stance adopted by Raymond Brown or any other Christian for that matter? I disagree with Raymond Brown’s conception of inspiration and I disagree with all other Christian views on inspiration. As a Muslim, I do believe the Bible could contain some of God’s message: if it agrees with the Quran then great, if it disagrees then I go along with the Quran.

        So no point asking me to explain to you how Raymond Brown’s model of inspiration works.

        If you still wish to understand “how it works” (how the Bible is deemed to be inspired if one acknowledges it contains mistakes), then read this:

        http://opendiscourse.wordpress.....spiration/

        (The above is authored by a Muslim)

        You wrote:

        “The fact of the matter is that the Catholic church as well as other churches have had to change their stances and doctrines again and again..evolving throughout the ages contingent on new discoveries.”

        So what? How does it “disprove” what I said?

        You wrote

        “Such institutions can hardly claim divine office.”

        When on earth did I say that they were “right” in claiming divine office? NOWHERE.

        You wrote:

        “You say that the official church position today is that it’s all right to use modern techniques that undermines the idea of inerrancy(paraphrasing)..the implication is that prior to this stance it was the opposite.”

        Of course…YES.

        You wrote:

        “Were they wrong then?”

        Yes.

        You wrote:

        “Why are they correct now?”

        I think they are correct in acknowledging that the Bible is not inerrant.

        You wrote:

        “Or could it be that they have been wrong all along running around in circles?”

        Of course.

        Well, enough said, I am out of here and (hopefully) never to return.

        Wassalam.

        • Imran Khan says:

          Using a silly, childish name like “Captain Planet” is typical of you and I recognise who you are, Usman Sheikh. Fixed your lisp problem yet?

  4. Ibn Anwar says:

    sorry for the spelling mishaps and maybe some grammar problems..i’m between classes. I’m sure you understand :p.

  5. Ibn Anwar says:

    Assalamu’alaikum,

    You wrote,

    “Yet you are still “confused” and cannot figure out I am a Muslim? SubhanAllah

    I wonder, what made you all of a sudden “suspicious” about me being a Muslim? Because I rightfully said that mainstream Christians are not fundamentalists and grant the presence of errors, mistakes and discrepancies in the Bible?

    I suppose this is an indirect form of takfir which instantly comes from young, half-knowledgeable, and arrogant brand of internet Muslim apologists who just hate being corrected. I don’t really mind nor care even if you outright make takfir upon me (since it’s just going to come back on you…I am sure you know the hadith).

    In anycase, I will offer a reply to your comments later and will try not to post any more comments here Inshallah.”

    JazakAllah for the clarification. I apologise that I asked you the question. Yes, I did think you were a Muslim which I gathered from the comments you posted on the articles that you cited. However, I found it strange the way you replied to Army and started calling Brown, Father Brown. Honestly, it sounded as if you were a Catholic(na’uzubillah). Though your previous comments seem to indicate your Muslimness the most recent ones seem to undermine it. I truly am sorry that you found offence to the question. That was not at all my intention. I simply wanted you to clarify for all the readers who you are so as to avoid any misunderstanding. If you wish to totally cease from contributing further to the blog that is your prerogative. In any case I thank you for your valuable thoughts and participation to this point and hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive me for asking you the question which you found offensive.

    But, the following from you is just uncalled for.
    “I suppose this is an indirect form of takfir which instantly comes from young, half-knowledgeable, and arrogant brand of internet Muslim apologists who just hate being corrected. I don’t really mind nor care even if you outright make takfir upon me (since it’s just going to come back on you…I am sure you know the hadith).”

    If I hated being corrected I would not have allowed your comments. I would have just deleted them. But, I suppose you’re free to think what you want of me. In one of your comments you labelled White as a sort of ad hominem freak. I wonder, what the above quotation makes you? I will not care to respond to your follow up comments..after-all i’m half-knowledgeable. You’re the knowledgeable one oh great professor in some awesome ivory tower. You are welcome to comment if you feel like it, but there will be no exchanges between you and I anymore.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Anyone can read your comments and tell who’s arrogant. May Allah reward you for your kindness and i’m sure good intention.

  6. Imad says:

    This is one of the most fascinating historical errors in the Bible. For good measure, I went and purchased a copy of “De Res Gestae Divi Augusti”
    which is a collection of the deeds and decrees of the Emperor Augustus penned by the emperor himself.
    It’s a Latin text with a side by side English translation. There is simply no mention of a world-wide census here, only of periodic assessments of the number of Roman citizens for tax and recruitment purposes.
    There is no historical evidence anywhere of a governorship of Publius Sulpicius Qurinius that coincides with the reign of Herod the Great, none whatsoever.

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