The Christian story starts off briskly in St. Matthew’s account with a place and a date: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King.” St. Luke, still more practically and prosaically, pins the thing down by a reference to a piece of government finance. God, he says, was made man in the year when Caesar Augustus was taking a census in connection with a scheme of taxation. Similarly, we might date an event by saying that it took place in the year that Great Britain went off the gold standard. About thirty-three years later (we are informed) God was executed, for being a political nuisance, “under Pontius Pilate” — much as we might say, “when Mr. Joynson-Hicks was Home Secretary.” It is as definite and concrete as all that.

—Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos