A while back someone raised the question about the historicity of the census
of Quirnius in Luke 2:2. Many scholars have rejected Luke's statement as
erroneous. I found a fairly impressive answer today in an article by Brook W.
R. Pearson, "The Lucan Censuses, Revisited," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61
(1999) 262-282. I also found some good data in John Nolland's Word Biblical
Commentary, Luke 1-9:20 (1989) pp. 99-102. There is also an excursus on the
census in Darrell Bock's commentary on Luke (Baker, 1994) pp. 903-909.
I offer this note for those interested in finding good data on the question.
For those looking for the quick answer: Pearson provided considerable data
supporting the idea that the Greek word "first" in Luke 2:2 should be
translated "before." This solution is not new, but Pearson provided new
reasons for accepting it.
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