Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nazareth in Jesus' Day

Where was Nazareth? Among Bible scholars and archaeologists there is much disagreement on that point. I choose one of the traditional locations, a small area in the middle of modern Nazareth, to focus on when I decided to research what daily life would have been like there. While we don’t know for sure that that particular spot is the same place where Jesus spent his childhood, it is representative of what we know about Nazareth from the Biblical accounts, and much like other small towns in the hills of Galilee.

During the time of Jesus, there’s evidence that this location was a Jewish community with less than 400 people living there. Archaeologists found a stone quarry there, terraced farmland, a wine press, and watch-towers like the ones which Jesus describes in the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers in Matthew 21 and Mark 12. They also found a house with a cistern and stone and chalk vessels that Jews typically used at that period to preserve purity of food. But what wasn’t found there was just as telling. No glass, mosaics, frescoes, paved roads, or imported materials were found in this town from the 1st century, suggesting that this was a simple, rural village at that time. (This is typical of many small towns in Galilee at this time.)

Would you like to learn more about what life was like in Nazareth?  I've written a series which covers various aspects of life in this small town in Galilee, and also collected some historical crafts and activities you can use with your church group, for homeschool, or just do with your family for fun.  Click the links below to read on...

A House In Nazareth

A Meal in Galilee

The Synagogue at Nazareth

Joseph, The Carpenter

Nazareth Pictures

CRAFT IDEAS:  Making Thread, Weaving, and Dying

ACTIVITY:  A Galilean Garden

Nazareth VBS Resources

Biblical History Resources

This series was originally housed on Squidoo, but when they merged with HubPages I decided to move it here because their link policy didn't allow enough links to properly credit my sources.  I've tried to site my sources throughout, on each post, but I want to give a special thanks to See the Holy Land, a company which organizes tours of various Holy Land Sites, for the use of many of the photos in this series (and for the wonderful Biblical timeline shared there, which I wish I had discovered earlier in my research), and to James Emery and Ian W. Scott who made their photos available through Creative Commons on Flickr. And I want to thank all the people who offered help on the Group Forums, and for all the people who answered my questions on Yahoo Groups and Squidoo (which now is a part of HubPages).

The Nazareth Village Website
Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus by Jonathan L. Reed.
Bible Blog: First-Century House Excavated in Nazareth

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