Luke 2:2 Price

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Chris Price (Layman) argues here:

Luke, the Census, and Quirinius: A Matter of Translation

Price's article is in a Category by itself here. He is either unaware of the Specific problems with the Defense he is trying to make or has intentionally ignored them. This is the Type of article that would be written by a Layman, someone who has not properly considered the detailed arguments for error here.

Therefore, I'll excerpt his arguments here and comment on the Problems he needs to deal with in order to make a Defense:

"Did Luke get this famous event wrong? Probably not. A number of respected New Testament and Greek scholars have challenged the popular translation of Luke 2:2 as the "first" census under Quirinius. Rather, they conclude that it is more properly interpreted to refer to a census "prior to” or “before” Quirnius' governorship. Thus translated, the passage looks something like this rendering by N.T. Wright in Luke for Everyone, page 20:

:Luke 2:2: This was the first registration, before the one the one when Quirinius was governor of Syria."

Price is trying to appeal to authority here but every Translation I'm aware of has "first". There probably is not a single non Christian scholar who thinks "before" is probable here and there may not be less than a Fundamentalist Christian scholar who thinks so. The few Fundamentalist scholars who I've read in detail only think "before" is Possible, not Probable. So much for appeal to authority.

"This was the first registration, before the one" is not a Possible translation anyway as there is only one underlying Greek word for "first" and "before". And "before the one the one"? Someone needs to check their Source.

"The oddity of the author of Luke making such an uninformed error here is matched, perhaps exceeded, by the awkwardness of the grammar in Luke 2:2. As Craig Evans, notes, "most commentators agree that Luke's use of the word 'first' is grammatically awkward." Craig Evans, Luke, New Testament Series, page 43. This leaves the proper translation of the verse in doubt. And, in fact, many commentators have interpreted 2:2 as indicated above -- refering to a census before the governorship of Quirinius."

There is nothing awkward about the grammar. Every proper jot and tittle of Greek grammar is used. What Apologists mean to say here is that they think the meaning is awkward. For Luke 2:2:

"This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria." (ASV)

The use of "first" makes sense here as this was the first enrollment for the new Province of Judea and made at the time Quirinius became Governor of Syria.

"It is undisputed that the word translated by many as "first" in Luke 2:2 is the Greek word "protus.” The root word "pro" means "in front of, prior" and when compounded "retains the same significations: -above, ago, before, or ever." Strong's Hebrew & Greek Definitions. Indeed, the term is translated by most modern versions of the New Testament as "former" in Acts 1:1. Furthermore, "protus" also means "before" or "former" when it is followed by the genitive case (which it is in Luke 2:2). Nigel Turner, a leading Greek scholar and author of one of the leading textbooks on New Testament Greek, notes that Luke 2:2 is more correctly translated, "This census was before the census taken when Quirinius was governor." Turner, Grammatical Insights into the New Testament, pages 23-24. Other respected New Testament scholars agree that this translation is a reasonable one. See Evans, Luke, page 43; Ben Witherington, New Testament History, page 65-66; William Temple, Readings in St. John's Gospel, page 16; Paul Barnett, Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity, page 98 99; A. J. B. Higgins, "Sidelights on Christian Beginnings in the Graeco-Roman World," Ev. Q. 41, page 200; W. Brindle, "The Census and Quirnius: Luke 2:2," JETS 27, page 48-50; and I. Howard Marshall. Also: Jamieson, Fausset & Brown's Commentary; Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible; John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible; and, Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament.

This translation is not without literary support. Dr. Brook Pearson notes that there are several examples from other ancient Greek texts of "protus" being used in the same grammatical sense as in Luke 2:2, to mean "before" or "prior." Brook W. R. Pearson, "The Lucan censuses, revisited", The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Apr. 1999. Perhaps most important, there are other New Testament examples of the Greek word "protus" being used to mean "before" or "former." John 1:15 is translated: "John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me." Also, John 15:18 is translated in the New American Standard to state, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you." Additionally, there are parallels in other ancient Greek literature of "protus" being used in the same sense as in Luke 2:2 to mean "before" or "prior": Aristotle Ph. 8.8 (263a, lines 11 12) ("therefore, in the earlier words concerning movement") and Athenaeus Deipnosophistae (discussing the origin of movements in dancing)."

Here Price is either unaware of the Specific Greek grammar rules indicating "protus" not only probably does not mean "before" in 2:2 but can not mean "before" or has intentionally ignore them. Without reading Turner for myself I wonder if he clearly states it probable that 2:2 should be "before". Price only says that other scholars say "before" is a "reasonable" translation, not a Probable one. As previously indicated, every translation I've seen says "first". Based on Holding's excerpts there is an implication that Pearson does not think "before" is probable for 2:2. If you look at the specific verses Price mentions to support "before" you can see how grammatically they have what 2:2 lacks in order to yield a translation of "before".

I'm still in love with Jones' conclusion but I have to put Price at the bottom because so far he is the only one who has attempted to Defend primarily by Ignoring the related specific problems.

--JoeWallack 10:08, 15 Aug 2006 (CDT)