NIV and NAS were the two popular translations of the Bible I grew up with as a middle class suburban Evangelical. As a result, I had never heard that Caesar had decided to tax the Roman world (the KJV version.) My versions all used the word census which I had always understood to mean: “counting people.”

Of course, to tax people, you must count them and census strictly relates to taxing but, I would never have known this growing up. The conspiratorial part of me wonders why the biblical translations most prominent among middle class whites in America would avoid painting Caesar (a villain in the Bible story) as a taker of taxes.

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