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Initial post: 4 Jan 2011 19:27:53 GMT
This verse is usually translated: "This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria."

There is gathering support for the proposition that Herod the Great died in 1 BC, rather than the conventional 4 BC date. If this is correct, Jesus was probably born in 3 BC when Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was called upon to secure an Empire-wide Oath of Allegiance ('enrolment/registration') to mark the Silver Jubilee of Augustus' reign, his 60th birthday and the 750th anniversary of the traditional date for the founding of Rome, all of which occurred in 2 BC, accompanied by unprecedented celebrations in February of that year.

Astronomical data would tend to confirm a 3 BC nativity date.
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Initial post:  4 Jan 2011
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Bible: New International Version Study Bible
Bible: New International Version Study Bible by Kenneth L. Barker (Leather Bound - 1 Nov. 1987)