(Investigator 131, 2010 March)

In December 2009 many newspapers reported the discovery and excavation of a 1st century house in Nazareth

First-century Nazareth was a village of around 50 impoverished Jewish families. So if it's not the house where Jesus grew up it may have been the home of his neighbors.

The discovery was made when builders dug up the courtyard of a former convent to make room for a new Christian center funded by French Roman Catholics

Excavations director Yardena Alexandre said the dwelling appears to have housed a "simple Jewish family." Her team uncovered about 900 square feet including the remains of a wall and water system.

The archaeologists found shards of clay and chalk pottery. The chalk suggests Jewish inhabitants since the chalk would have ensured the ritual purity of food and water kept inside the vessels. The shards date to the late Hellenic or early Roman period from about 100 BC. to the 1st century AD. This could be estimated because the shards were typical of that period in other parts of Galilee. The population was estimated from ancient burial graves.

For much of the 20th century critics declared Nazareth a New Testament myth. Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historian, doesn't mention Nazareth despite mentioning hundreds of other places, neither does the Old Testament or the Talmud. Nazareth was alleged to be an invention based on a prediction that the Messiah would be a "Nazarean". (Isaiah 11:1)

An atheist used such arguments in Investigator 19-22 — but now even a 1st-century Nazareth house has come to light! It's as Jesus said: "…if these [his followers] were silent, the stones would shout out."  (Luke 19:40)

Critics who argue from the non-mention of something to its non-existence, obviously need to rethink their logic.


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