Holman Bible Dictionary
(ci ree' nih uhss) The Roman official mentioned in Luke 2:2 as the governor of Syria when the birth of Jesus took place. Some translations of the New Testament use the name Cyrenius, an Anglicized form of his Greek name, while others use the Latin form Quirinius. His full name is Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. Throughout his varied career, Quirinius served as consul of Rome, military leader, tutor to Gaius Caesar, and legate (governor). He died in A.D. 21.
Luke's reference to Quirinius as governor during the nativity has caused some scholars to question Lucan historical accuracy. It is established that Quirinius was legate in Syria from A.D. 6-9, but this date is far too late for Jesus' birth, which occurred prior to the death of Herod the Great who died in 4 B.C. Luke's historical reference seems in direct conflict with non-biblical sources establishing that either Saturninus (9-7 B.C.) or Varus (6-4 B.C.) was legate of Syria during Christ's birth.
The discovery of an ancient inscription has shown that a legate fitting the description of Quirinius served two different times in Syria. Apparently the nativity occurred during Quirinius' first tenure in Syria as legate with primary responsibilities for military affairs, while Varus was the legate handling civil matters. Quirinius served a second term in A.D. 6-9.
This solution affirms Lukan accuracy without overlooking other known historical sources.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
Or Publius Sulpitius QUIRINUS, according to his Latin appellation, governor of Syria, Luke 2:2 . According to history, Quirinus was not properly governor of Syria till some years after this date; and the only census of that time mentioned by secular historians took place when Christ was eight or ten years old. The passage in Luke may be translated, "This enrolment took place first under Cyrenius governor of Syria." Compare Acts 5:37 .
- Latin proper name which the KJV transliterated as Cyrenius
. See Cyrenius
- (See JESUS CHRIST; Cyrenius
- (Luke 2:2 ; RSV, "enrolment"), "when Cyrenius
was governor of Syria," is simply a census of the people, or an enrolment of them with a view to their taxation. It has been argued by some that Cyrenius
- the Roman empire) should be taxed," (Luke 2:1 ) and is connected by the evangelist with the name of Cyrenius
] The second and more important, (Acts 6:37 ) is distinctly associated, in point of time, with the revolt of Judas of Galilee
- The passage in Luke may be translated, "This enrolment took place first under Cyrenius
governor of Syria
- 7 by Cyrenius
, or Quirinus, governor of Syria
- ” This “first census” was taken by Cyrenius
, the governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-5 ). This passage has presented problems in that: one, there is no specific record of such a census outside the Lukan account and two, the date of Cyrenius
's governorship (A. However, Luke's account is consistent with Roman practices, and such a census could well have been ordered by Cyrenius
functioning as a military governor alongside the political governor Sentius Saturnius around 6 B
- He was first appointed to that office by Cyrenius
, or Quirinus, proconsul of Syria, about A
Tax Taxing Taxation
- For the taxing or registration in order to taxation, said to be conducted by Cyrenius
, Luke 2:1-2, see Cyrenius
- Some translations of the New Testament use the name Cyrenius
, an Anglicized form of his Greek name, while others use the Latin form Quirinius
- Besides there was a property tax, the registry and valuation for which took place at Christ's birth and was completed by Quirinus Cyrenius
after Archelaus' deposition (Luke 2:1-2). (See Cyrenius
- the 'taxing' under Cyrenius
is generally held to be a census: the word is ἀπογραφή, an enrolment or register. It has been proved that Cyrenius
(Quirinius) was twice governor of Syria, which removes all difficulty as to the date of the census in Luke 2:1-5
6 Quirinis (Cyrenius
) governor of Syria the second time...
Archelaus banished, and Judaea made a province of Syria. ...
7 Enrolment, or taxation, under Cyrenius
The only governor of Syria mentioned in the New Testament is Cyrenius
- In company with one Sadoc, he attempted to excite a sedition among the Jews, but was destroyed by Quirinus, or Cyrenius
, at that time governor of Syria and Judea, Acts 5:37
- A "taxing" under Cyrenius
, governor of Syria, is recorded Luke 2:1; a disturbance caused by one Judas of Galilee "in the days of the taxing" is referred to in Acts 5:37. The word "first" too is to be noticed: "this taxing," ordered by Augustus just before Jesus' birth, was interrupted by the Jews' bitter opposition, and "was first carried into effect" when Cyrenius
was governor of Syria; grammatically the Greek expresses, "this taxing took place as a first one while Cyrenius
was governor of Syria" (Ellicott). The omission, however, of the Greek article in one oldest manuscript (Vatican) would thus modify the translation, "this first taxation was carried into effect when Cyrenius
In the New Testament we find such notices of Roman dominion as the Jews recognizing Caesar as sole king (John 19:15); Cyrenius
"governor of Syria" (Luke 2:2); Pontius Pilate, Felix, and Festus, "governors," i. (See CENSUS; Cyrenius
; PUBLICANS (portitores ), underlings of the Roman knights
- —Luke 2:2 Authorized Version , ‘And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius
was governor of Syria’ is better rendered in Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 , ‘This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Lardner’s method of solving the difficulty is to interpret the verse thus: ‘This was the first census of Cyrenius
, who (afterwards) was governor of Syria,’ St
Luke, the Gospel According to
- His accuracy appears in his giving exact dates (Luke 2:1-3 (See Cyrenius
and JESUS CHRIST, on the difficulty here; Cyrenius
was twice governor of Syria; Luke 3:1-2; also in his marking the two distinct sightings of Jerusalem observed by travelers in coming across Olivet; first at Luke 19:37, secondly, at
’), to mean merely the whole land of Palestine, so as to escape the difficulty that secular history, so far as then known, was silent as to any general census
- Luke called Cyrenius
, president of Syria, to reduce the countries over which Archelaus had reigned, to the form of a Roman province; and appointed Coponius, a Roman of the equestrian order, to be governor, under the title of procurator of Judea, but subordinate to the president of Syria