At least St. Luke says that Cyrinus, governor of Syria, published the decree of enrollment. But Quintilius Varus was governor at the time of Christ’s birth.

The Catholic Answers

The English version has the words, “This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.” But a better translation of the Greek would be, “The first enrolling was made by Cyrinus, the procurator, or quaestor, of Syria.” St. Luke knew of two distinct enrollings under Cyrinus, the first when he was procurator under Varus, and which he mentions in his second chapter of the Gospel; the second under Cyrinus as governor; an enrolling which he mentions in the Acts. It is not mere hypothesis that Cyrinus twice exercised authority in Syria; the first time under Varus, the second time in charge. It is the conclusion of the studies of Mommsen, and also of Zumpt, after his study of inscriptions dealing with this matter at Tivoli, outside Rome.

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