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Quirinius Publius Sulpicius

a.d. 21). Roman imperial legate. The fixed events in his career, based on Tacitus and the interpretation of supporting Latin inscriptions, include being in 12 b.c. consul with Marcus Valerius Messalla Barbatus, in a.d. 2 adviser in the East to Gaius Caesar (the emperor's grandson), and in a.d. 6 the legate of Syria, succeeding Lucius Volusius Saturninus with a commission to make a tax census of the newly incorporated procuratorial Judea (cf. Luke 2:1, 2). There is identified for him also a campaign against a desert tribe while he was proconsul of Crete and Cyrene (c.15 b.c.) and the governance of Galatia some years later with a victory over the Homonadenses. To the gospel allusion the events of Acts 5:37 are compounded by the use of Josephus, whereby Quirinius's name and office have become the main obstacle in computing the year of Jesus' birth, if Herod the Great (37-4 b.c.) is involved.

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