Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37)

“After Theudas,

Judas the Galilean

Rose up

At the time

Of the census.

He got people

To follow him.

He also perished.

All who followed him

Were scattered.”

μετὰ τοῦτον ἀνέστη Ἰούδας ὁ Γαλιλαῖος ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς ἀπογραφῆς καὶ ἀπέστησεν λαὸν ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ· κἀκεῖνος ἀπώλετο, καὶ πάντες ὅσοι ἐπείθοντο αὐτῷ διεσκορπίσθησαν.

The author of Acts indicated that after this man Theudas (μετὰ τοῦτον), Judas the Galilean (Ἰούδας ὁ Γαλιλαῖος) rose up (ἀνέστη) at the time (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις) of the registration census (ἀπογραφῆς).  He got people to follow him (καὶ ἀπέστησεν λαὸν ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ).  He also perished (κἀκεῖνος ἀπώλετο).  All who followed him (καὶ πάντες ὅσοι ἐπείθοντο αὐτῷ) were scattered or dispersed (διεσκορπίσθησαν).  Judas the Galilean led a tax revolt around 6 CE.  He was considered the father of the Zealot movement against the Roman rulers in Israel about a Roman census in 6 CE.  However, he came before Theudas.  Was there another Theudas before Judas the Galilean?  Gamaliel seemed to indicate that these uprisings usually died off after they lost their leader.  How important to a movement is its leader?

Quirinius of Syria (Lk 2:2-2:2)

“This was the first registration.

It was taken

When Quirinius was

Governor of Syria.”


αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου.


Luke noted that this first registration was taken (αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο) when Quirinius was governing Syria (ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου).  Quirinius was the legate of Syria from 6 CE-12 CE.  He was born 51 BCE and died at the age of 72 in 21 CE.  He did take a census or registration for tax purposes in 6 CE when he took over.  This led to the revolt of Judas the Galilean and the formation of the Jewish Zealots, who opposed Roman rule.  They opposed this census for the purposes of taxation by Quirinius, the Governor of Syria.  The one problem is that this census took place 10 years after Herod had died.  However, the birth of Jesus and John was placed during the reign of Herod.  Thus, there is a problem with this dating by Luke, who may have been confused about these historical details.