Cyrenius (correction on the name is "Quirinius") was an officer of Syria NOT JUST ONCE, BUT TWICE. The first time he was an officer was in 3/2 BCE when he was govenor over Augustus' the census.
There's absolutely no evidence that Quirinius served two different terms as governor of Syria. This is essentially an invention of later Christian apologists trying to reconcile contradictions between Luke and Matthew's accounts. Even if it were true, it fails to reconcile other discrepancies in the accounts.
I refer you to Richard Carrier exhaustive article on this subject, which establishes practically beyond all reasonable doubt that there are irreconcilable differences between the birth narratives:
The author of the source makes some significant errors in assumption even at the start of his research that establishes incorrect foundations, leading to wrong conclusions. I'm going to try to put the following facts in some type of order. Each one stands on its own but forgive me if they still seem out of order:
1. There is a difference between "enrollment registration (special census)" and "census for taxation (normal census)"
Luke 2:1-2 “And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed(apographesthai)
“Forologia” (Greek) = census [for] taxation, but “Apographó/i” (Greek) = enrollment; registration. The gospel record uses a derivation of the Greek word Apographi...so this was a special census for ENROLLMENT not simply taxation (which was mistranslated in English), but an enrollment for what (please continue)?
2. Quirinius was “governor” in name only
who conducted this ENROLLMENT during Luke’s account, but he was not an officially elected governor until 6CE
[when he was named “Legate of Syria” after Judea’s annexation, which would – indeed – require a new regular census be taken, which is mentioned in Acts 5:37]. Justin Martin even comments on Quirinius’s truer title as “Procurator of Syria” (before his official election as govenor) in his Apology (1.34)
3. Cambridge Ancient History (vol. X, 216)
shares that “each province had its equestrian procurator
who in the eyes of the provincials was almost as important as the governor himself”.
…These are the reasons why Luke says the registration at the time of the birth of Yahshua was the “first” one…while Quirinius was [“provisional”] governor of Syria (but its "actual" Procurator). So who was Syria’s actual governor in 3/2BCE? And where was he during this time?
4. Tertullian in Answer to the Jews [.8]
said the census that brought Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem was during the time when Sentius Saturninus was governor of Syria
. Josephus then corroborates that Sentius Saturninus was govenor in Josephus Ant. (17.89)
5. 3/2BCE was the 25th Year of the Reign of Caesar Augustus when he decreed that a declaration to name him Pater Patriae (Father of the Country)
by ALL of his subjects.
“When I administered my thirteenth consulate (2 B.C.E.), the senate and Equestrian order and Roman people all called me father of the country, and voted that the same be inscribed in the vestibule of my temple, in the Julian senate-house, and in the forum of Augustus under the chariot which had been placed there for me by a decision of the senate. When I wrote this I was seventy-six years old. “
(Res Gestae #35; http://www.romansonline.com/Src_Frame.asp?DocID=aug_Bk01_01
6. (back story) In 27BCE, the senate & Rome’s subjects gave their allegiance to Caesar by (1) swearing an oath
and (2) REGISTERING that oath
. Then at Caesar’s Silver Jubilee the people of Rome again renewed
their oath of allegiance.
So when Caesar was going to receive the title Pater Patriae this oath & registration was conducted once again
…and it’s important to understand that this ENROLLMENT was NOT just a normal census for Taxation (as incorrectly translated into English bibles).
7. Josephus mentions this special enrollment for Oath:
There was moreover a certain sect of Jews who valued themselves highly for their exact knowledge of the law; and talking much of their contact with God, were greatly in favor with the women of HerodÊs court. They are called Pharisees. They are men who had it in their power to control kings; extremely subtle, and ready to attempt anything against those whom they did not like. When therefore the whole Jewish nation took an OATH to be faithful to Caesar, and [to] the interests of the king, these men, to the number of above six thousand, refused to swear. The king having laid a fine upon them, PherorasÊ wife (HerodÊs sister-in-law) paid the money for them. They, in requital for her kindness (for they were supposed, by their great intimacy with God, to have attained to the gift of prophecy), prophesied that God having decreed to put an end to the government of Herod and his race, the kingdom would be transferred to her and Pheroras and their children. Salome [HerodÊs sister], who was aware of all that was being said, came and told the king of them. She also told him that many of the court [of Herod] were corrupted by them. Then the king put to death the most guilty of the Pharisees, and Bagoas the eunuch, and one Carus, the most beautiful young man about the court, and the (Josephus, Ant. 17.41-45)Question:
great instrument in the kingÊs unlawful pleasures. He [Herod] likewise slew every one in his own family, who adhered to those things which were said by the Pharisees. But Bagoas had been elevated by them and was told that he should some day be called father and benefactor of the [new] king, who was to be appointed according to their prediction, for this king would have all things in his power, and that he [the king] would give him [Bagoas] the capacity of marriage, and of having children of his own.
how did Josephus possibly know over 6000 Pharisees refused to take the oath
unless there was some tally
made where this number could be counted?
8. Orosius also corroborates that Augustus ordered a census for an ENROLLMENT (tally), not taxes:
[Augustus] ordered that a census be taken of each province everywhere and that all men be enrolled... This is the earliest and most famous public acknowledgement which marked Caesar as the first of all men and the Romans as lords of the world, a published list of all men entered individually... This first and greatest census was taken, since in this one name of Caesar all the peoples of the great nations TOOK OATH, and at the same time, throughout the participation in the census, were made apart of one society
(bk 6.22, 7.2
9. Regular censuses (for taxes & the like) were checked every 5 years
. And Res Gestae, [2.8]
gives evidence that Augustus had official censuses in 28BCE and in 8BCE. The next 5 year period requiring a “regular” registration was in 3BCE
, which also coincides with the time of the special Oath of Allegiance to Augustus
10. Not only was 2BCE the year of the Silver Jubilee for “Augustus”
but it was the 750th anniversary of the founding of Rome
, where Roman officials from all over the empire attended the celebrations, this included governors
. This means lesser officials
were given temporary power and position as governors to conduct business while the true governors were away at the celebration.
To reverse engineer and provide further proof of the date of Yahshua's birth as 3/2BCE, please note the following points:
1. Luke 3:23 “And Jesus himself began to be about (osei) thirty years of age
being as was supposed the son of Joseph which was the son of Heli”
The greek word for "about" is "Peripou" [about; perimeter (which can be of any size)], however the greek word used in Luke's account was "osei" [a specific mathematical construction meaning] "nearing but before the point of".
So yahshua "began to be nearing but before the point of
thirty years of age"...this means he was 29 years old when his ministry began
2. By biblical/eastern reckoning of time, the “birth year” IS “year 1”. There was no such thing as a “week(s) old”, “month(s) old”, etc.
3. Luke 3:1 “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar
, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, (2) Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. (3) And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;”
But when exactly was the 15 year of the reign of Tiberius?
4. The Jewish Temple began
its reconstruction in 19 BCE
(as testified by Josephus
And John 2:20 records, "Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building
, and wilt thou [speaking to yahashua] rear it up in three days?"
Math: 19BCE + 46 (accounting for "zero" year) = 27CE
26/27CE was the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius and was the same year Yahshua "began to be nearing but before the point of
thirty years of age" (29 years old).
5. 26/27CE - 29 years (accounting for "zero" year) = 3/2BCE as the birth year of Yahshua
, which perfectly syncronizing with the time of special Enrollment for Caesar Augustus (due to his new title), during which Quirinius conducted the special Enrollment as "provisional" govenor ("actual" Procurator) of Syria since Saturninus - the actual govenor - was attending the Silver Jubilee celebration in Rome (for the same reason).
If you'd like to discuss when Herod died (so to further syncronize), I'd be happy to provide more.