Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NT Pod 20: When Was Jesus Born? Programme Notes

I uploaded the latest NT Pod last Friday night, just before beginning an epic journey through the snow to Washington DC to catch a flight. Those who follow me on Twitter or on Facebook know some of the grizzly details, but now we are now safe and sound Britain, first England, now Wales, and I am getting a chance to catch up while on the road.

I was pleased to see this morning that the previous episode of the NT Pod, "Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem?" is currently featured on the front page of the main iTunes U site, no doubt because of its seasonal content. I had looked at the stats and was wondering why they had gone through the roof.

The most recent episode of the NT Pod, 20, "When Was Jesus Born?", is also seasonal. The "when" here refers not to the time of year, which is impossible to know, but to the rough date of Jesus' birth. Was it in or around 6-4 CE, as Matthew suggests and Luke echoes and if so, why does Luke have the extraordinary note in Luke 2.2 about Quirinius, Governor of Syria?

The key texts are of course Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2, with special references to the notes about Herod (Luke 1.5, Matthew 2:1; Matthew 2:19; Matthew 2:22; Luke 2:1-2; Luke 3.1-2; Luke 3:23). I will add references to Josephus later, but I've run out of time to update this post for now.


James F. McGrath said...

Glad you finally made it. I'm sure when you're watching the Dr. Who Christmas special, all the effort will feel like it was worth it!

Bill Heroman said...

Hey, Mark. Any particular reason you date the birth no earlier than "6 at the most"? Why not 7 BC?

Bob MacDonald said...

Hi Mark - I thought you had two ideas about Quirinius in your intents - but it seems there is only the one - a mistake. Is the suggestion that there was a census 10 years earlier completely implausible?

andrewbourne said...

I feel sorry for you Mark why Wales?

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, James. And we squeezed in a visit to the Doctor Who Exhibition in Cardiff too. Bill, just approximating; perhaps 7 would work too. Bob, idea 1 was the translation of PRWTOS as "before". Andrew, Wales because seeing old friends in Swansea.