The City of Nazareth, and interesting find.

by Crazyguy 15 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Crazyguy

    I was watching a video on Youtube about chistianity and its founding and it came to my attention that the city of Nazareth did not even excist when Jesus was said to be alive. It was'nt really anything accept a cemetary until about 200 AD. So just like the city of Goshen were the Israelites were said to be from when they left Egypt during the exodus, looks like another major flaw in the bible.

  • Bobcat

    I posted some research material about Nazareth and Jesus being called a Nazarene.

    Here was poster "Terry's" initial post in which he asks for answers to some questions, one of which was about Nazareth.

    My replies can be found here, here, here, and here.

  • Crazyguy

    Bobcat, not sure what you were getting at in your posts that R.T. France says that Matthew ment to say something else?? John 7:41-42 makes the claim that Jesus was from Galilee and that can't be correct either, for Jesus to be the messiah. I have also read that there were many geographical errors made by the writers of the gospels and were corrected in the King James bible, not sure yet. But this continues to show me that these writings are in error from an historical standpoint and the bible is losing all credibility to me. These writing may also be much later in history than most people believe, after 165AD because Justin Martyr 100-165 AD never mentions them.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    The Bible writings are not meant to be literal historically accurate records. They are theological histories, written to make a religious point to the community that each was addressed to - and continually modified throughout time to make the writing reflect the views of each age. Just like what the WTS did - making it fit their prejudices.

    When you come to the realisation that each piece is tied to the particular community and was written in order to impress and control that community, the change in attitude towards their writings opens amazing horizons. Who were these people, how did they think, what were the religious and secular politics of the time, who was trying to take control, why do we read only the views of one side of the story, who decided which writings were Scripture, how did they do it, what mistakes did they make, why did none of the people who knew Jesus prepare a written account, why did Jesus not write anything, why should we trust Paul's visions for the foundations of Christianity?

    Take the Book of Acts as one example: Why does it contrast and contradict Paul? Because it was written by someone living decades after Paul's death and the writer's intention was to smooth over the stark differences between Paul and James/Peter; so "Luke" concocted a religious history. Another example: only 7 of the writings attributed to Paul are recognised by scholars as havng actually being written by him.

    Recognise that the Bible is a collection of human writings selected by humans to meet their needs. It then provides an amazing insight into the people who wrote, compiled, edited, amended, copied and printed it - not that there is just one source version. And that opens up more scope for investigation.


    BTW. Regarding Nazareth. I had no idea that some doubted it existed; my understanding is that Jesus/Yeshua/Joshua was born in Nazareth and that his ministry was limited geographically to that region. His venture down to Jerusalem was seen as a display against the Roman powers, that he intended to set himself up as the King of the Jews, that the Kingdom was about due. He would become King when the Son of Man would come down from heaven.


  • fulltimestudent

    Here's an extract from the Wikipedia entry on Nazareth. Wikipedia is not always a reliable source, so I suggest to try and check the references provided by the author of the entry), but this comment may throw some light on this topic.

    James F. Strange, an American archaeologist, notes: “Nazareth is not mentioned in ancient Jewish sources earlier than the third century AD. This likely reflects its lack of prominence both in Galilee and in Judaea.” [37] Strange originally calculated the population of Nazareth at the time of Christ to be "roughly 1,600 to 2,000 people" but, in a subsequent publication, revised this figure down to “a maximum of about 480.” [38]

    In 2009 Israeli archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre excavated archaeological remains in Nazareth that might date to the time of Jesus in the early Roman period. Alexandre told reporters, "The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth." [39]

    Web Reference:

    More definitely, Eric Meyers (Duke Uni) has been excavating at Sepphoris (an hour's walk or so from Nazareth) in an article published in The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 69-79, describes his work:

    Subsequent to the excavation of these village sites I chose to bring our Duke excavation team to a large urban center in Lower Galilee: Sepphoris, just a few kilometers from Nazareth.

    We have been excavating there for four years (see Meyers, Netzer, and Meyers 1986, 1987), and one of our purposes has been to compare
    the vocabulary of material culture-ceramics, houses, agriculture, technology, and so on-of town and city.

    Sepphoris was the administrative capital of Galilee in the first century under Herod Antipas, and its great theater, several pagan temples, and triclinium with its colorful Dionysos mosaics reflect its Hellenistic and cosmopolitan ambience. It is perhaps surprising to some that Sepphoris is where the Mishnah was published around 220 C.E. and where Jewish-Christianity and post-Constantinian Christianity flourished alongside rabbinic Judaism and Roman paganism. This comparison of city to town is sure to assist us in better understanding how Judaism flourished in a variety of different settings in late antiquity.

    This is not evidence that Nazareth either existed or did not exist in the early first century CE, but I suggest that the explanation of the lack of evidence for the village's existence is simply that it was both small and unimportant, and over-shadowed by nearby Sepphoris the district capital.

    Douglas Oakman, in his extremely interesting, "Jesus and the Economic Questions of his Day," ( The Edwin Mellen Press, 1986, p. 180), makes the point that in the first century CE, Sepphoris was easily accessible from Nazareth. (Oakman certainly seems to believe that there was a small village named Nazareth, in which the family of Jesus lived).

    I would therefore be rather reticent to state categorically that Nazareth did not exist in Jesus day.

  • BackseatDevil

    So I might be thinking that this is only partially correct. Many places in that region have a very VERY old history, For example Jericho dates back to 10,000 B.C.E. and was nothing more than a small villiage by the time Joshua conquerd it (not very impressive of a feat, really). This is typical of many colonies in that area as they were in the hills, and no empire cared much about the "hill people." So there may be colonies there with ancient history, but they were not very complex nor were they often mentioned as the rulers of Mesopotamia and Egypt (who had invinted writing skills) simply did not care about them.

    All these towns up and down what would later be known as Judiah and Israel (or the Levant) had always been there, they were just under Egyptian rule, and had been such for several mellennia. As far as the Exodus is concerned, well... that didn't really happen like the bible says.

    Imagine that the United States' economy and resources started to fall to a dire point, and the state of Texas decided to secede. The only exodus that would happen would be from former Texans living throughout the United States who wanted to be back home with their families. The vast majority of Texans who lived within the Texas borders, would not have moved at all. The biggest change would be federally appointed leaders and commerce (money, etc.). Because the land of Israel and Judah had little water and resources, then they had arrangements with Egypt. The Levant was a provence of Egypt and was taxed, people were recruited for service in the army, and people were offered (sold) by their villages for labor. This was also true of provences to the south of Egypt as well. So when the Exodus happened, it wasn't so much as a "breaking free of the chains of slavery" as it was an already established hill country between two nations (Mesopotamia and Egypt) where their main source of supplies was a crumbling empire and they had to learn to survive on their own. THEN many Jews left Egypt to go... where the other Jews were. So... the exodus wasn't all that dramatic.

    However, from there, towns and cities that where once named under the Egyptian rule became renamed, reestablished, and reorganized. Now the names of places changed. Many of them may not have existed before, many did exist as small villages, but were renamed or started to be called something else. Sometimes villiages would pop up next to other villiages, etc. The area in general was occupied for several thousand of years before Christ. What they called themselves changed as the history of the area developed.

  • suavojr


  • Crazyguy

    Well I did find some information where someone claims that a group of priests moved there just before or after the destruction of Jerusalem and this info was written on a plaque that was found. If its true then who knows maybe Nazareth was a town at the time of Jesus, but if it was it was a very small town very small. Its just interesting what little evidence there is to what the Gospels claim, not to mention they get a bunch of geographical things wrong and contradicted each other. But thats a whole other subject for another thread.

  • BackseatDevil

    That area around the north and west of the Sea of Galilee had been obliterated on occasion way before the biblical accounts of the destruction of Jerusalem (mostly from the north). So there is no way any of those towns in that part of the hill country would ever have any real history or establishment about them. It's a place where people ended up, not a place people were destined to. So this story is possible, or at least one similar in plot.

  • BackseatDevil

    I wanted to also add that another thing that makes the Exodus account slightly more inflated is the continual relationship Judah and Israel had with Egypt throughout the bible. From 1 Kings 12:2 to Matthew 2:13-15 there are reports of people from these Jewish nations fleeing and taking refuge in Egypt. This wouldn't seem to make sense if the Egyptians had suffered this horrific blow in ego and slave labor. In fact, there would probably be an Egyptian standing order to kill all people crossing from the Levant on sight... especially those with young children (first borns especially). How could Mary, Joseph, and Jesus seek safety as an obvious middle eastern family living in Egyptian land with a firstborn male child and not fear some retribution for the last of the ten plagues?

    The reality is that the Exodus was not so dramatic and therefore a standing history of nothing existed between the neighboring countries... as not much else is written about Egypt except it was a safe place to go in times of refuge.

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