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Gladius Hispaniensis

A question about the census of Quirinius

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There is a well known conflict between the dating of the census conducted by the procurator Quriinius in the writings of Josephus and the author of the Gospel of Luke. While Josephus dates the census as 6 C.E the latter would have it in the reign of Herod the Great, which would mean no later than 4 B.C.E.

Luke's narrative has come under some criticism in the past but lately I came across one apologetic version: that the relevant passage is just a mistranslation. The original Greek rendition:

αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου which can be translated thus: "Done first survey when he was ruler of Syria Cyrene". The apologist in question has the viewpoint that what is being referred to here is the city of Cyrene not Quirinius the procurator and the "he" refers to Augustus himself. In other words it refers to the previous census taken by Saturninus in 8 B.C.E during the reign of Augustus when the latter was ruler of Syria Cyrene.

This obviously begs the question of why Cyrene the city would be mentioned along with Syria in the first place, but I would love to get some input on this apologia from fellow forum members.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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