2:1–3 Luke dates the birth of Jesus by the common method of referring to the political rulers (3:1). There is no other record of a worldwide census under Augustus, but he did reorganize the administration of the empire and conducted censuses for taxation purposes. Quirinius was governor of Syria when a census was carried out in a.d. 6 and may have been there earlier (10–7 b.c.). It seems to have been the custom to conduct a census at intervals of fourteen years. Luke may be referring to a census preceding the well-known and unpopular census taken by Quirinius in a.d. 6.
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