tell us that Jesus's home town was the 'City of Nazareth' ('polis
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel
was sent from God unto a CITY of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of
the house of David; and the virgins name was Mary.
went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph
also went up from Galilee, out of the CITY of Nazareth,
into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;
because he was of the house and lineage of David:
he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of
his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding,
being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the
parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a CITY called
Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken
by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the
Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own CITY Nazareth.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom:
and the grace of God was upon him.
gospels do not tell us much about this 'city' it has
a synagogue, it can scare up a hostile crowd (prompting
JC's famous "prophet
rejected in his own land" quote), and it has a precipice but
the city status of Nazareth is clearly established, at
least according to that source of nonsense called the Bible.
we look for historical confirmation of this hometown of
a god surprise, surprise! no other source confirms
that the place even existed in the 1st century AD.
is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The
Book of Joshua (19.10,16) in what it claims is the
process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area records
twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any 'Nazareth'
from its list.
although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of
Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.
Paul knows nothing of 'Nazareth'. Rabbi Solly's epistles
(real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at
ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It
is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.
heard of the place' Josephus
his histories, Josephus has a lot to say about
Galilee (an area of barely 900 square miles). During
the first Jewish war, in the 60s AD, Josephus led
a military campaign back and forth across the tiny
province. Josephus mentions 45 cities and villages
of Galilee yet
Nazareth not at all.
does, however, have something to say about Japha (Yafa,
Japhia), a village just one mile to the southwest
of Nazareth where he himself lived for a time (Life
at a topographical map of the region shows that Nazareth
is located at one end of a valley, bounded on three
sides by hills. Natural access to this valley
is from the southwest.
the first Jewish war, Japha was of a reasonable size.
We know it had an early synagogue, destroyed by the
Romans in 67 AD (Revue Biblique 1921, 434f).
In that war, it's inhabitants were massacred (Wars
3, 7.31). Josephus reports that 15,000 were killed
by Trajan's troops. The survivors 2,130 woman
and children were carried away into captivity.
A one-time active city was completely and decisively
where on earth did the 1st century inhabitants
of Japha bury their dead? In the tombs further
up the valley!
complete destruction, tomb use at the Nazareth site
would have ended. The unnamed necropolis today lies
under the modern city of Nazareth.
a later time as pottery and other finds
below) the Nazareth site was re-occupied.
This was after the Bar Kochba revolt of 135
AD and the general Jewish exodus from Judea to Galilee.
The new hamlet was based on subsistence farming and
was quite unrelated to the previous tomb usage by
the people of Japha.
None of this
would matter of course if, rather like at the nearby 'pagan'
city of Sepphoris, we could stroll through the ruins of 1st century
bath houses, villas, theatres etc. Yet no such ruins exist.
Sepphoris – an ersatz Nazareth?
not Nazareth but Sepphoris (Diocaesarea), a 45-minute walk
away – and which does not get a mention in the gospels!
Credulous believers sometimes suggest that Jesus may have worked (with his father!) on the town's construction or even attended the theatre in Sepphoris (hypocrite, after all, is a Greek word for actor!). Contrariwise, others suggest that the "Torah-abiding Jesus" avoided the town because of its corrupting Hellenism. These mutually exclusive explanations are feeble attempts to solve the "puzzle" of why the gospels fail to mention the "capital" of Galilee.
In reality, in the early 1st century, Sepphoris was no larger than several acres, an erstwhile Herodian palace-town destroyed by Varus, the Roman governor of Syria, in 4 BC. Sepphoris reemerged as an ill-planned townlet during the time of Antipas. Only in the late 1st and 2nd centuries, particularly after the Jewish wars, did a vibrant, Romanised Sepphoris emerge, with theatres, bath houses and all the other amenities of pagan civilisation.
In short order,
Christian apologists fall over themselves to explain, 'But
of course, no one had heard of Nazareth, we're talking of a REALLY
small place.' By semantic downsizing, city becomes TOWN,
town becomes VILLAGE, and village becomes 'OBSCURE HAMLET'.
we are speaking of such an obscure hamlet the 'Jesus of Nazareth'
story begins to fall apart.
the whole 'rejection in his homeland' story requires at
a minimum a synagogue in which the godman can 'blaspheme.' Where
was the synagogue in this tiny bucolic hamlet?
Why was it not obvious to the first pilgrims like Helena (see
below) it would, after all, have been far more pertinent
to her hero than a well? In reality, such a small, rustic community could never have afforded its own holy scrolls, let alone a dedicated building to house them. As peasant farmers almost certainly they would have been illiterate to a man.
had grown up and spent thirty years of his life in a village
with as few as 25 families an inbred clan of less than
300 people the 'multitude' that were supposedly shocked
by his blasphemy and would have thrown him from a cliff, would
not have been hostile strangers but, to a man, would have been relatives and friends that
he had grown up with, including his own brothers. Presumably,
they had heard his pious utterances for years.
if the chosen virgin really had had an annunciation of
messiah-birthing from an angel the whole clan would have
known about it inside ten minutes. Just to remind them,
surely they should also have known of the 'Jerusalem incident' (Luke 2.42-49) when
supposedly the 12-year-old proclaimed his messiahship?
no one mentioned what had happened in Bethlehem star,
wise men, shepherds, infant-massacre and all? Why would they
have been outraged by anything the godman said or did?
Had they forgotten a god was growing up in their
midst? And what had happened to that gift of gold – had
it not made the 'holy family' rich?
"Would they not have bought lavish for themselves and the community such as rattan garden furniture or perhaps built one of those fancy greenhouses that the Romans invented so they could have vegetables year round?"
really had been barely a hamlet, lost in the hills of Galilee,
would not the appellation 'Jesus of Nazareth' have invoked the
response 'Jesus of WHERE?' The predictable apologetic of quoting gospel John ("Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" - 1.46) implies that the questioner, Nathanael, had indeed "heard of" the vanishing small hamlet (Nathanael was supposedly a local boy from Cana). But would anyone outside of Galilee have recognized the name?
again, if Nazareth had really been a tiny hamlet, the nearest
convenient 'mountain' from which the god-man could have been
cliff edge (Luke 4.28-30) would have been 4 km away, requiring an energetic
climb over limestone crags. Would the superman really have been
frog-marched so far before 'passing through the midst of them' and
making his escape?
all these incongruities exist because the 'Jerusalem incident'
and the whole nativity sequence were late additions to the
basic messiah-in-residence story.
as it may, was there even a tiny village?
The archaeological evidence?
The world has
been blessed by the fact that excavation at Nazareth has been
conducted by Catholic archaeologists. In
an earlier age they may well have "found" sandals neatly
inscribed with "property of Jesus Christ". As
it is, they diligently extract every last drop of sanctity from
some pretty meagre findings. Yet for all their creative interpretations
even the Franciscans cannot disguise the fact that the lack of
evidence for a pre-Jesus village at the Nazareth site is virtually
Not that the
Franciscans have lacked the opportunity to find what they want
to find; they have, in fact, been in Palestine for several
centuries, official custodians of the 'Holy Land' as a result
of Papal Bulls 'Gratias agimus' and 'Nuper charissimae' issued
by Clement VI in 1342.
Crusaders' wars, Nazareth had changed hands several times. At
one point (1099) the Norman-Sicilian adventurer Tancred had
set up a 'principality of Galilee' with Nazareth as his capital.
But the Christians were repeatedly kicked out until finally,
in 1263, Nazareth was completely devastated by Sultan Baibars
and the whole area left desolate for nearly 400 years.
got back into the area under a deal with Fakhr ad-Din II, emir
of Lebanon, in 1620. They reoccupied the remains of the crusader
fort but found Greek monks still in possession of 'Mary's
Well' . With funds flowing in they took over the town administration
and in 1730 built a church over the Grotto. The demolition of
this structure in 1955 paved the way for 'professional' archaeology,
and the 'discovery' of the Biblical Nazareth in the very grounds
of the Church itself!
Hero No 1. 1955-1960
Excavations conducted by Father Bellarmino Bagatti (Professor,
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum at Flagellation, Jerusalem).
Beneath his own church and adjoining land, Bagatti discovered
numerous caves and hollows. Some of these caves have obviously
had a great deal of use, over many centuries. Most are tombs,
many from the Bronze Age. Others have been adapted for use
as water cisterns, as vats for oil or as 'silos' for grain.
Apparently, there were indications that Nazareth had been 'refounded'
in Hasmonean times after a long period when the area had been
deserted. Yet overwhelmingly, archaeological evidence from
before the second century is funerary. Obliged
to admit a dearth of suitable evidence of habitation, none
the less, Bagatti was able conclude that 1st century AD Nazareth
had been 'a small agricultural village settled by a few
With a great
leap of faith the partisan diggers declared what they had found
was 'the village of Jesus, Mary & Joseph' though
they had not found a village at all, and certainly no evidence
of particular individuals. The finds were consistent, in fact,
with isolated horticultural activity, close to a necropolis of
for the Catholic Church, questionable graffiti also indicated
that the shrine was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, no less!
Yet one point
is inescapable: the Jewish disposition towards the 'uncleanliness'
of the dead. The Jews, according to their customs, would
not build a village in the immediate vicinity of tombs and vice
versa. Tombs would have to be outside any village.
tombs, both those discovered by Bagatti and others known
from earlier explorations, would have been placed outside
the village and serve, in fact, to delimit its circumference
for us. Looking at their locations on the plans drawn up
by Bagatti (1.28) or Finegan (27), one realizes just how
small the village actually was ..."
– J.D. Crossan, The Historical Jesus.
But just how
small can we get before giving up on a 'village'? The presence
of numerous rock-cut tombs that close to the 'grotto'
is evidence that, in the 1st century, in that area, there was
no village. The area was not inhabited, even if it was
Hero No 2. 1996
-1997 Dr. Pfann (Franciscan School of Theology) digs at Nazareth.
In November 1996 Stephen Pfann of the Center for the Study
of Early Christianity began an investigation of agricultural
terraces in the grounds of Nazareth Hospital. What Pfann and
his crew came up with was a vaguely-dated winepress, described
as 'ancient'. Potsherds were also found on the surface of
the terraces, dating from various periods 'beginning with
the early to late Roman periods.'
survey of the surface of the land adjacent to Nazareth Hospital
was conducted between February and May 1997 by Pfann and a team,
all from the Center for the Study of Early Christianity.
Two distinct areas were identified which are defined by the type
of terracing found there. Yet dating by traditional stratification was not possible.
Christian zeal Pfann was able to conclude that 'Nazareth was
tiny, with two or three clans living in 35 homes spread over
2.5 hectares'. It was just unfortunate that all evidence
of the homes was razed by later invaders.
In truth, the
scanty evidence is consistent with the site being used as a
single family farm over many centuries and a single family farm does not make a village.
Excavations by Michael
Avi-Yonah at Caesarea in 1962:
archaeology actually begin to coincide with the discovery of
a fragment of dark gray marble at a synagogue in Caesarea Maritima
in August 1962. Dating from the late 3rd or early 4th century
the stone bears the first mention of Nazareth
in a non-Christian text. It names Nazareth as one of the
places in Galilee where the priestly families of Judea migrated
after the disastrous Hadrianic war of 135 AD. Such groups would
only settle in towns without gentile inhabitants, which
ruled out nearby Sepphoris. Apparently, the priests had been
divided from ancient times into twenty-four 'courses' that took
weekly turns in Temple service. The restored inscription reads:
priestly course [called] Hapizzez, [resettled at] Nasareth.'
Crossan (The Historical Jesus)
A few Jewish
priests and their families made up a small settlement in the
southeast of the valley until the 4th century. Quite probably,
they extended and re-used some of the ancient necropolis tombs.
The Jewish hamlet was then supplanted by the Christian presence
slightly further north, by 'Mary's Well'.
One might speculate
that Christian control of the village's sole water
drove the perfidious Jews away, thus allowing the Greek monks
to take over the 2nd century synagogue – now known as the 'synagogue-church'
– sometime in the 4th century when Christianity got the
official stamp of approval. A town grew up at the site, causing
the abandonment and destruction of any more ancient Jewish
dwellings which, as
in Capernaum, were most probably built without foundations.
Some Jews subsequently re-settled in the valley, for we know
again from the area in the 7th century for collaboration with
'Jesus of Nazareth' is actually a bad translation of the
original Greek 'Jesous o Nazoraios' (see below). More accurately,
we should speak of 'Jesus the Nazarene' where Nazarene has a
meaning quite unrelated to a place name. But just what is that
meaning and how did it get applied to a small village? The highly
ambiguous Hebrew root of the name is NZR.
The 2nd century
gnostic Gospel of Philip offers this explanation:
that came before us called him Jesus Nazarene the Christ
the "Truth". Therefore 'Nazarene' is "The
One of the Truth" ...'
– Gospel of Philip, 47.
we do know is that 'Nazarene' (or 'Nazorean') was originally the name of an
early Jewish-Christian sect a faction, or off-shoot,
of the Essenes. They had no particular relation to a city of
Nazareth. The root of their name may have been 'Truth' or it
may have been the Hebrew noun 'netser' ('netzor'), meaning
'branch' or 'flower.' The plural of 'Netzor' becomes 'Netzoreem.'
There is no mention of the Nazarenes in any of Paul's
writings, although ironically, Paul is himself accused of being a Nazorean in Acts of the Apostles. The reference scarcely means that Paul was a resident of Nazareth (we all know the guy hails from Tarsus!).
'For finding this man a pest, and moving sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a leader of the sect of the Nazaraeans.' – Acts 24.5. (Darby Translation).
The Nazorim emerged towards the end of the
1st century, after a curse had been placed on heretics in Jewish
'Three times a
day they say: May God curse the Nazarenes'.
may have seen themselves as a 'branch from the stem of Jesse (the
legendary King David's father)'. Certainly, they had their own
early version of 'Matthew'. This lost text the Gospel
of the Nazarenes can hardly be regarded as a 'Gospel
of the inhabitants of Nazareth'!
It was the
later Gospel of Matthew which started the deceit that
the title 'Jesus the Nazorene' should in some manner relate to
Nazareth, by quoting 'prophecy':
"And he came
and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."
Matthew closes his fable of Jesus's early years. Yet Matthew
is misquoting he would surely know that nowhere in Jewish
prophetic literature is there any reference to a Nazarene. What
is 'foretold' (or at least mentioned several times) in Old Testament
scripture is the appearance of a Nazarite. For
"For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and
bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the
child shall be a Nazarite unto
God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out
of the hand of the Philistines."
substitutes one word for another. By replacing Nazarite ('he
who vows to grow long hair and serve god') with a term which
appears to imply 'resident of' he is able to fabricate
a hometown link for his fictitious hero.
So how did
the village get its name?
It seems that,
along with the Nozerim, a related Jewish/Christian faction, the Evyonim the
Poor (later to be called Ebionites) emerged about
the same time. According to Epiphanius (Bishop of Salamis
, Cyprus, circa 370 AD) they arose from within the
Nazarenes. They differed doctrinally from the original group
in rejecting Paul and were 'Jews who pay honour to Christ
as a just man...' They too, it seems, had their own prototype
version of Matthew The Gospel to the Hebrews.
A name these sectaries chose for themselves was 'Keepers of the
Covenant', in Hebrew Nozrei haBrit, whence Nosrim or Nazarene!
words, when it came to the crunch, the original Nazarenes split
into two: those who tried to re-position themselves within
the general tenets of Judaism ('Evyonim'-Nosrim); and those
who rejected Judaism ('Christian'-Nosrim)
Now, we know
that a group of 'priestly' families resettled an area in
the Nazareth valley after their defeat in the Bar Kochbar
War of 135 AD (see above). It seems highly probable that
they were Evyonim-Nosrim and named their village 'Nazareth'
or the village of 'The Poor' either because of self-pity
or because doctrinally they made a virtue out of their poverty.
are the Poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."
– Matthew 5,3.
of Matthew (re-writer of the proto-Matthew stories) heard
of 'priestly' families moving to a place in Galilee which they
had called 'Nazareth' and decided to use the
name of the new town for the hometown of his hero.
Story, Dodgy Geography
gospel writers refrained from inventing a childhood, youth or
early manhood for JC because it was not necessary to their
central drama of a dying/reborn sun-god. But as we know, the
story grew with the telling, particularly as the decades passed
and the promised redeemer and judge failed to reappear. The re-writer
of the Gospel of Mark, revising the text sometime between
140 and 150 AD, introduced the name of the city only once, in
chapter one, with these words:
came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth
of Galilee and was baptized by John at the Jordan."
Mark I, 9.
Ironically, an indication that this sole reference to a town called Nazareth in Mark is a late, harmonization interpolation is to be found in the Gospel of Matthew. Copying the same baptism episode from an early edition of Mark, the author of Matthew makes no mention of Nazareth:
"Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him." – Matthew 3.13.
In the Greek New Testament no fewer than eleven variant spellings are used for Nazarene, Nazarean and Nazareth. In total the words occur thirty-one times. Though you would never guess from the English translations, on nineteen occasions Nazarene or Nazarean, not Nazareth, is intended. And in the Gospel of Mark, all four later occurences (1.24; 16.6; 10.47;14.67) the word used is Nazarene, not Nazareth.
Clearly, "Jesus the Nazarene" in the original tale became "Jesus, a resident of Nazareth" in the updated story of Matthew and Luke. Indeed, there are indications that an early layer in the development of Mark favoured Capernaum as the hometown of Jesus (home of the six most prominent disciples, venue for several key miracles, etc.).
We can trace
the subsequent elevation of Nazareth in the Gospel of Luke.
Luke is the writer who emphasizes JC's ties to 'Nazareth.' Luke
is the writer who goes out of his way to demonstrate an anti-Capernaum
stance. Scholars have concluded Luke was not a Jew himself
because of his 'glaring errors in things Jewish'. He
also makes mistakes in his geography. He knows little about the
place and in his mini-drama describes an impossible incident:
" ... and
brought him to the precipice of the mountain that their city
upon." – Luke 4.29.
in fact, is located in a depression, set within gentle hills.
The whole region is characterized by plains and mild rises
with no sharp peaks or steep cliffs. The terrain is correctly
understood as a high basin, for in one direction is
the much lower Plain of Esdraelon. But there is no disguising
Nazareth is built in a valley and not on a mountain. Even the
mediaeval town sat below the summit protected from the
wind. Beginning only in 1957, the Jewish suburb called 'Nazerat
Illit' ('Upper Nazareth') was built to the top of the hills
to the east of the city.
(below that pointy building): supposed location
of 1st century 'city' of Nazareth
Background & right:
'Mount of Precipice' (aka 'Lord's Leap')
"When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away." – Luke 4.28-30.
Perhaps the Multitude might really have threatened
to roll JC down the slope?
It would take
quite some time to get from the downtown 'synagogue'
and scramble to the top of the 'cliff'!
Town that Theology Built
In the 3rd
century Church Father Origen knew the gospel
story of the city of Nazareth yet had no clear
idea where it was even though he lived at Caesarea,
barely thirty miles from the present town! Even in Origen's day,
as the Church became more institutionalised, intense rivalry
was developing between the patriarchs of Caesarea and Jerusalem.
This rivalry was only resolved (in Jerusalem's favour) at Chalcedon in
451. Part of the rivalry centred on control of 'Holy
places'. Hence, 'finding' the lost city of Nazareth
was a matter of major importance,
to the rescue, in the early 4th century, came the 80-year-old
dowager Empress Helena. Preparing the way for
an imminent meeting with her maker with a program of 'Works',
she made a conscience-salving pilgrimage to Palestine. In the
area of Nazareth she could find nothing but
an ancient well in fact the only water source in the area
(which in itself demolishes the idea there was ever a 'city'
). No doubt encouraged by canny locals, Helena promptly labelled
the hole in the ground 'Mary's Well' and had a small basilica
built over the spot. Conveniently, the gospels had failed to
make clear exactly where Mary had been when the archangel
Gabriel had come calling. Thus the Well site acquired local support
for the divine visitation and Nazareth acquired its first church.
created the pilgrimage business which has never ceased. Yet before the passage of the imperial grandee, not a single ancient source had established a precise location for the 'Nazara' of the gospels.
'Mary's Well': A hole in the ground evidence for Holy Family (about as convincing
as an empty tomb)
box for coins, lower right.
Century Pilgrim Route – and NO NAZARETH!
Burdigalense – the
Itinerary of the Anonymous Pilgrim of Bordeaux – is
the earliest description left by a pious tourist.
It is dated to 333 AD. The itinerary is a Roman-style
list of towns and distances with the occasional comment.
As the pilgrim
passes Jezreel (Stradela) he mentions King Ahab and Goliath.
At Aser (Teyasir) he mentions Job. At Neopolis
his reference is to Mount Gerizim, Abraham, Joseph,
and Jacob's well at Sichar (where JC 'asked water of
a Samaritan woman'). He passes the village of Bethel
(Beitin) and mentions Jacob's wrestling match with
God, and Jeroboam. He moves on to Jerusalem.
pilgrim – preoccupied
with Old rather than New Testament stories – makes
no single reference to 'Nazareth.'
after the dowager empress had gone touring, another geriatric
grandee, the Lady Egeria, spent years
in the 'Land becoming more Holy by the day'.
Spaniard, like the then Emperor Theodosius and almost certainly
part of the imperial entourage reached the Nazareth area
in 383. This time, canny monks showed her a 'big and very
splendid cave' and gave the assurance that this was where
Mary had lived. The Custodians of the Cave, not to be
outbid by the Keepers of the Well, insisted that the cave, not
the well, had been the site of the divine visitation. This so-called
'grotto' became another pilgrimage attraction, over which by
570 rose the basilica of another church. Today, above
and about the Venerable Grotto, stands the biggest Christian
theme park in the Middle East.
Century Roman Map – and NO NAZARETH!
The Levantine coast from the so-called Peutinger map or "table" (Tabula Peutingeriana), with west to the top. The complete map is twenty-two feet wide and is so-named for Conrad Peutinger, a 16th century German antiquarian and is currently held in Vienna. The map is actually a medieval copy (12th or 13th century) of a 4th century Roman original (it shows Constantinople, founded in the year 328). The whole world known to the Romans is represented, from Spain in the west to India in the east.
In the section shown here, below the city of Aelia Capitolina (centre left), the map shows one site which had by this stage entered the Christian dreamscape – the Mount of Olives (red). The cartographer of this unique record named more than 3000 places. And guess what? – he does not mention Nazareth!
beneath Basilica of the Annunciation. Mary's 'maiden
home' (or even home of the holy family, if you prefer)
the late 4th century by which time the Church had control of theological
correctness Nazareth was being correctly described by Jerome as 'a
very small village in Galilee' (Onom. 141:3). He should
know: he had fled scandal in Italy to set up an ecclesiastical
retreat in the area for well-heeled Romans. The village owed
its very existence to the imperial itinerary half a century before.
the 5th century the supposed site of Nazareth marked by its couple
of churches had become a key destination for pious (and
leisured) pilgrims. We know of a Piacenza visiting in
570, of an Arculf visiting in 638, a Wilhebald in
724, an Al Mas'udi in 943. Sewulf in 1102, like
the earlier visitors, reported that only the annunciation church
was to be seen.
In 636 Arab
armies overran Byzantine possessions in Palestine, including
Nazareth. A Christian presence continued in the area, though
it was subject to restrictions and heavy taxes. Nearly five centuries
later, Crusaders occupied the valley and built a fort. On the
foundations of the earlier Byzantine 'grotto' church they built
something a little grander, more befitting their resident bishop.
town Nazareth an ecclesiastic theme-park
center of town, the huge Catholic Church of the Annunciation (largest
church in the Middle East) built over numerous caves.
Up the hill, Church
of St. Joseph built over other caves ('carpenter's
house and workshop').
street, Sisters of Nazareth Hospice, built over
ancient tombs, one with a huge rolling stone door!
Up the road,
the Greek Catholic Church, next to an early synagogue
Today more than a million
visitors (fifty per cent of tourists visiting Israel) call at
Nazareth. Who would want to spoil the party? So perhaps keep
it quiet ...
evidence for a 1st century town of Nazareth does not exist not
literary, not archaeological, and not historical. It is an
imaginary city for an imaginary god-man.
Salm, The Myth of Nazareth (Kevalin, 2007)
Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Crucified Jew (Harper Collins,1992)
Henry Hart Milman, The History of the Jews (Everyman, 1939)
Josephus, The Jewish War (Penguin, 1959)
Jonathan Reed, Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-examination of the Evidence (Trinity, 2002)
Leslie Houlden (Ed.), Judaism & Christianity (Routledge, 1988
Karen Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem (Harper Collins, 1999)
Jonathan N. Tubb, Canaanites (British Museum Press, 1998)
Norman Cantor, The Sacred Chain - A History of the Jews (Harper
Some fifty articles are now available as a book.
For your copy order: