Roman legate of the province of Syria (which included the sub-province of Judaea, but not Galilee) in 6 ce. Luke seems to have thought that he ordered a census at the time of the death of Herod in 4 bce, which is a minor and understandable error, but the idea (Luke 2: 1) of a universal census requiring a mass movement of the population is incredible. Moreover, there must have been thousands of men who could claim as Joseph did (Luke 2: 4) to be descendants of King David. Quirinius did indeed order a local census in 6 ce (for which only the census enumerators needed to travel) and Luke has made use of this event, remembered because of riots associated with it (Acts 5: 37), as a device in the narrative to secure the removal of Jesus' family from their home in Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, ‘the city of David’ in Judaea, and thus fulfil OT prophecy (Mic. 5: 2).
Subjects: Biblical Studies.