Skip to content

The Nazareth Home of Jesus?

February 19, 2015

In the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, archaeologist Ken Dark (University of Reading, his personal page here) recounts for a general readership his recent work in/around Nazareth, proposing identification of first-century house structures, and other features of first-century Nazareth: Ken Dark, “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” Biblical Archaeology Review 41, no. 2 (2015): 54-63, 72.

He contends that in that time Nazareth would have been a small town or large village, with craftsmen, plenty of fresh water (from several springs), and an economic level generally somewhat higher than some scholars have imagined.  There are a number of photos of structures and artefacts, as well to illustrate what he discusses.

He also contends that his survey of the surrounding area, particularly looking at the area between Nazareth and the larger and nearby town of Sepphoris (information here) suggests a striking difference in accommodation to Roman culture.  The pottery and other items found nearer to Nazareth suggest a more observant Jewish culture (e.g., stone vessels, which did not contract ritual uncleanness as did pottery ones), contrasting with the artefacts found closer to Sepphoris.  This would mean perhaps an effort in Nazareth to maintain a cultural distinction from what may have been regarded as the too-accommodating posture of Sepphoris, and that earlier claims about Nazareth inevitably being influenced by the presence of “pagan” philosophy and religion in Sepphoris may need to be examined critically.

In answer to the question in the title, Dark simply judges “could be.”  He has identified first-century CE domestic structures, but no name on the door!

From → Uncategorized

  1. Dick Malone permalink

    On our tour of Israel last year I was quite surprised to see how close Nazareth was to Sepphorris, especially because it is so big yet never mentioned in the NT. Just down the hill.

  2. Donald Jacobs permalink

    I take it you don’t agree then with those who argue Nazareth didn’t exist as Jesus didn’t exist. The name was based on a misreading of a presumed prophecy in the Hebrew Bible.

    • Ah, no. With any other scholar competent to judge the matter, I take Nazareth to have been a real village and Jesus of Nazareth a real person. OK?

  3. Jim permalink

    A purely speculation-based question. Why do you think that none of the gospel writers mention Sepphoris? It would seem that this might have been a good nearby location to include if a writer wanted to imply that Jesus had at least some level of literacy training (even if only basic). Maybe I’m just being too anachronistic though.

    • As you say, pure speculation. Perhaps the simplest answer is that Jesus didn’t conduct his ministry there, or at least there were no refs to the place in the traditions to hand for the Evangelists.

  4. Ah, no name on the door, but let the film makers who run their stuff on Discovery handle it and it will be there on the mailbox, door, door bell…

    • lol, yes – no doubt Jesus bones will even be discovered inside, stored in an ancient rucksack.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: