Nazareth Quest

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Beloved | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Oct 1 2016 5:57 PM

I learned from LBD and the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Matthew that Nazareth was likely considered ritually pure = holy ground at the time of Christ. Why did Nathanael utter his famous words in Jn1.46 with regards to Nazareth if the preceding observations are true?

So now I seek scholarly resources that address the archaeological evidence with respect to Nazareth and any work that details information regarding Nazareth. One other thing; the Essenes are mentioned in connection with Nazareth a resource detailing the evidence here would be great as well. Thanks!

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

Posts 461
Robert Harner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 1 2016 7:29 PM

The fact that the family moved to Nazareth was once again said to be in fulfillment of prophecy (Matt. 2:23). However, the words He will be called a Nazarene, were not directly spoken by any Old Testament prophet, though several prophecies come close to this expression. Isaiah said the Messiah would be “from [Jesse’s] roots” like “a Branch” (Isa. 11:1). “Branch” is the Hebrew word neṣer, which has consonants like those in the word “Nazarene” and which carry the idea of having an insignificant beginning.


Since Matthew used the plural prophets, perhaps his idea was not based on a specific prophecy but on the idea that appeared in a number of prophecies concerning Messiah’s despised character. Nazareth was the town which housed the Roman garrison for the northern regions of Galilee. Therefore most Jews would not have any associations with that city. In fact those who lived in Nazareth were thought of as compromisers who consorted with the enemy, the Romans. Therefore to call one “a Nazarene” was to use a term of contempt. So because Joseph and his family settled in Nazareth, the Messiah was later despised and considered contemptible in the eyes of many in Israel. This was Nathanael’s reaction when he heard Jesus was from Nazareth (John 1:46): “Can anything good come from there?” This concept fit several Old Testament prophecies that speak of the lowly character of the Messiah (e.g., Isa. 42:1–4). Also the term “Nazarene” would have reminded Jewish readers of the similar-sounding word “Nazirite” (Num. 6:1–21). Jesus was more devoted to God than the Nazirites.


Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 23). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Posts 461
Robert Harner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 1 2016 7:55 PM

NIC doesn't have a reference of a garrison but it's insignificance. AYBD has its history.

Nazareth was a village probably smaller than Bethlehem and without its historical connections; it probably came into existence late in the OT period. Archeological evidence suggests that its population was “a maximum of about 480 at the beginning of the 1st century A.D.” (J. F. Strange, ABD 4.1050) It was an obscure Jewish village in the Galilean hills, rapidly being overshadowed by the growing Hellenistic city of Sepphoris only four miles away which Antipas rebuilt as the capital of Galilee

France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (p. 91). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

The most promising approach paradoxically takes its cue from the very non-existence of Nazareth in the OT—it is a scriptural non-entity. For someone to be “called a Nazorean,” especially in connection with a messianic claim, was therefore to invite ridicule: the name is in itself a term of dismissal if not of actual abuse. We see precisely this reaction in Nathanael’s response to Philip’s suggestion of a Messiah from Nazareth, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46; cf. John 7:41–42, 52 for Judean scorn for the idea of a Messiah from Galilee). If Nathanael, a native of Cana only a few miles from Nazareth, reacted like that, what must have been the response in Judea, where most people had probably never heard of Nazareth? On this understanding it is not only the word Nazōraios which conveys Matthew’s message, but also more specifically the verb “He shall be called:” this is about derogatory name-calling. In 26:71 (the only other occurrence of Nazōraios in Matthew) we shall see the term used in just this way by a speaker in Jerusalem.

France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (p. 94). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

Posts 2339
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 1 2016 8:04 PM

Robert Harner:

Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 23). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Robert,

Thank you very much. Nuggets of gold plucked from one of the  pillars of my Logos library!

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

Posts 6591
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 1 2016 8:46 PM

The priest were there, it seems, following the first revolt, according to the inscriptional evidence from Caesarea. According to the news in this link: http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/meast/9904/16/israel.muslims.christians/ 

the site was considered "Holy Ground" because it is believed that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary there to announce Jesus's birth. So, it seems to me, that the Holy Ground belief came after Jesus died and stories about the announcement of his birth started being propagated and not before. Nazareth was considered insignificant in Jesus's days and that's why Nathanael spoke the way he did.

"Nathanael was from Cana, another village north of Nazareth (John 21:2) and it is likely that his comment tells us something about the rivalry of the regional Galilean villages." -- Taken from the Bible Knowledge Background Commentary, General Editor Craig Evans  -- sorry, mobile device won't include footnotes 

DAL

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Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 4 2016 7:03 AM

There's some discussion of this in the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels article on Nazareth.

Posts 2339
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 4 2016 10:59 AM

Sean Boisen:
There's some discussion of this in the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels article on Nazareth.

Thanks Sean,

The article is very good with balanced coverage of the topic. It certainly justifies my purchase of the base package to obtain this feature. I will have to give more attention to this resource in the future. 

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 2:49 AM

Sean Boisen:

There's some discussion of this in the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels article on Nazareth.

Clicking your link, I get  a notice informing me That Resource is no longer in your library. When I search the FL webpages for that resource, I get a notice that it cannot be found. Looked at resources offered by Lexham Press, and it is not there.

Posts 461
Robert Harner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 3:34 AM

Jack Caviness:

Sean Boisen:

There's some discussion of this in the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels article on Nazareth.

Clicking your link, I get  a notice informing me That Resource is no longer in your library. When I search the FL webpages for that resource, I get a notice that it cannot be found. Looked at resources offered by Lexham Press, and it is not there.

It is part of standard Silver and above packages. It is also in Baptist Silver so I assume it is in all the denominational packages.

Posts 6591
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 3:48 AM

I've used it 4x and I'm getting hooked!

DAL

Posts 2851
Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 3:57 AM

NAZARETH The small town in Galilee where Jesus spent his childhood and youth, and from which he set forth to visit the towns and villages of Galilee (Matt. 2:23; Mark 1:9; Luke 1:26; 2:4, 39, 51). The New Testament mentions a synagogue there (Luke 4:16). After the destruction of the Second Temple Jews lived at Nazareth and it was the seat of the priestly family of Pises. Eusebius (Onom. 138:24 ff) mentions a village in Galilee called Nazereth, opposite Legio, near Mt Tabor. No church was built there until the time of Constantine and it is not mentioned before AD 570. The first church was destroyed by the Arabs in about AD 636 and rebuilt by the Crusaders under the guidance of Tancred. The modern Church of the Annunciation incorporates remains of the Byzantine basilica.

Negev, A. (1990). In The Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land (3rd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall Press.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 4:08 AM

Robert Harner:
It is part of standard Silver and above packages. It is also in Baptist Silver so I assume it is in all the denominational packages.

Thanks for that information.

Posts 763
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 10:17 AM

Jack Caviness:

Robert Harner:
It is part of standard Silver and above packages. It is also in Baptist Silver so I assume it is in all the denominational packages.

Thanks for that information.

We released an initial version with the Logos 7 launch: we plan to ship the completed version next month, and we'll make sure it gets added to the Lexham Press page at that point (this project has been directed by the Content Innovation group, with Barry Beitzel as the external editor, so it's a little different than a typical Lexham Press title). It's not currently offered as a standalone purchase, though we may do that in the future.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 10:40 AM

The size of Nazareth and the size of the local Roman garrison has been disputed more recently. See the chapter in "The Cosmopolitan World of Jesus". 

Posts 2339
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 1:17 PM

Mark Barnes:
The size of Nazareth and the size of the local Roman garrison has been disputed more recently. See the chapter in "The Cosmopolitan World of Jesus".

Mark, 

This is fascinating coverage and some of its implications are well reflected in the Gospels. Further it  begs the question: What were the lives of Hebrew stone masons like in first century Galilee? Some of the parables of Jesus spoke of building with stone. And hearkening back to the scripture that Cynthia focused in on Jn1.42, Jesus's nickname for Simon as well as the later reference to building his Church on this rock, provide a new and interesting perspective. 

For those who don't have this resource in their library I provide snippets of the text from what I've read thus far.

Recent excavations at Nazareth have produced some surprising results. Elias Shama, a businessman and owner of Cactus, a coffee and gift shop in Nazareth, had begun to dig a cellar underneath his shop, and stumbled upon the remnants of a Roman bath, with floor tiles, hypocaust and water channels. It is located next to ‘Mary’s Well’, a structure with first-century origins which Orthodox Christians regard as their traditional site of the Annunciation, preferring it to the Byzantine and Crusader tradition at today’s Church of the Annunciation.

Thiede, C. P. (2004). The cosmopolitan world of Jesus: new findings from archaeology (p. 13). London: SPCK.

Rabbi Moshe Bassola, visited Nazareth and wrote: ‘We came from Kfar Kana, arriving the next day in Nazareth, where the Jesus of the Christians lived. The citizens told me that there existed a hot bathhouse where the mother of Jesus immersed herself.’ In other words, they were not talking about a ‘mikveh’, a purifying bath (which was never hot), but probably about a structure like the one now excavated. Roman baths included a ‘caldarium’, the hot bath. And this rabbi was educated enough to appreciate the difference. Known as Moses ben Mordecai Bassola, he lived from 1480 to 1560 in the Italian city of Ancona and was one of the most influential Jewish scholars of his time.
A persistent local tradition, and the first archaeological traces: it all suggests a fascinating addition to our picture of Nazareth at the time of Jesus. Obviously, it is too early to publish final results—this may take another year or two—but it is an opportune moment to ask ourselves what we could have and should have known about Nazareth, anyway. For admittedly, some of the surprise, and some of the first rejections of the find, were based on the widespread assumption that Jesus’ Nazareth was an impoverished settlement of perhaps 150 to 200 people, where farmers and carpenters scraped a living. Archaeological evidence from previous excavations had suggested that there were extensive olive groves and vineyards, well-built, lived-in caves, and simple but solidly built stone houses. The Via Maris, in those days the most important trade route linking Syria with Egypt, passed nearby, and thus the people from Nazareth were in frequent contact with international merchants, both selling and buying goods. Joseph was a tektōn, the Greek word for a builder which we still recognize in the English word ‘architect’, the ‘arch-builder’. Wood was scarce in those parts of Galilee, and so our traditional translation ‘carpenter’ is misleading. He would have built houses—or indeed caves—rather than furniture. Was there enough to do in Nazareth for people like him and his adopted son Jesus (himself called a tektōn in Mark 6:3), once the baths had been built? A number of scholars have suggested a striking answer: Joseph and Jesus probably worked at the magnificent building site of Sepphoris, earning a sizeable income.


Thiede, C. P. (2004). The cosmopolitan world of Jesus: new findings from archaeology (pp. 14–15). London: SPCK.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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