This ongoing series of posts considers the historical reliability of the New Testament books of Luke and Acts by examining the relationship between the texts and other ancient sources. Primarily intended to assist those with a teaching ministry, it will cover both well documented and obscure correlations and will include periodic summaries and source references as relevant. Public domain photos, or those whose author has given permission for use, will also be provided when available.
To begin with, the first two verses of the third chapter of the Book of Luke contain references to eight individuals in prominent positions at the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist. The text itself is shown below.
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” (Luke 3:1-2, NIV)
Starting with the first individual in the list, Tiberius Caesar is obviously a well known figure who is referenced in numerous sources. These include the coins which contain his name such as the one shown here that is released to the public domain.
Future posts will continue to explore this list of eight people as well as other correlations between the books of Luke and Acts with various ancient sources.
The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.