724 "C. Sentius Saturninus, a consular, held this census of the whole empire as principal augur, because Augustus determined to impart the sanction of religion to his institution. The agent through whom Saturninus carried out the census in Judaea was the governor Cyrenius, according to Luke, chap. ii."-Fr. Junius. Tertullian mentions Sentius Saturninus again in De Pallio, i. Tertullian's statement in the text has weighed with Sanclemente and others, who suppose that Saturninus was governor of Judaea at the time of our Lord's birth, which they place in 747 A.u.C. "It is evident, however," says Wieseler, "that this argument is far from decisive; for the New Testamant itself supplies far better aids for determining this question than the discordant ecclesiastical traditions-different fathers giving different dates, which might be appealed to with equal justice; while Tertullian is even inconsistent with himself, since in his treatise Adv. Jud. viii., he gives 751 A. U. C. as the year of our Lord's birth" (Wieseler's Chronological Synopsis by Venebles, p. 99, note 2). This Sentius Saturninus filled the office of governor of Syria, 744-748. For the elaborate argument of Aug. W. Zumpt, by which he defends St. Luke's chronology, and goes far to prove that Publius Sulpicius Quirinus (or "Cyrenius") was actually the governor of Syria at the time of the Lord's birth, the reader may be referred to a careful abridgment by the translator of Wieseler's work, pp. 129-135.
733 We have translated Oehler's text of this passage: "Denique nihil magnum, si fidem sanguini, quam non habebat." For once we venture to differ from that admirable editor (and that although he is supported in his view by Fr. Junius), and prefer the reading of the mss. and the other editions: "Denique nihil magnum, si fidem sanguini, quem non habebat." To which we would give an ironical turn, usual to Tertullian, "After all, it is not to be wondered at if He preferred faith to flesh and blood, which he did not himself possess!"-in allusion to Marcion's Docetic opinion of Christ.
738 This obscure passage is thus led by Oehler, from whom we have translated: "Lege extorri familiae dirimendae in transitu ejus Jordanis machaeram fuisse, curjus impetum atque decursum plane et Jesus docuerat prophetis transmeantibus stare." The machoeram ("sword") is a metaphor for the river. Rigaltius refers to Virgil's figure, Aeneid, viii. 62, 64, for a justfication of the simile. Oehler has altered the reading from the "ex sorte familae," etc., of the mss. to"extorri familiae," etc. The former reading would mean probably: "Read out of the story of the nation how that Jordan was as a sword to hinder their passage across its stream." The sorte (or, as yet another variation has it, "et sortes," "the accounts") meant the national record, as we have it in the beginning of the book of Joshua. But the passage is almost hopelessly obscure.