Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found?

Jesus’ home in Nazareth

Excavation site in Nazareth

This essay originally appeared on Bible History Daily from the Biblical Archeology Society on March 17, 2017. It is an updated version of a 2015 posting.

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The childhood home of Jesus may have been found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, according to archaeologist Ken Dark.

The excavation site located beneath the convent has been known since 1880, but it was never professionally excavated until the Nazareth Archaeological Project began its work in 2006. In “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR, Ken Dark, the director of the Nazareth Archaeological Project, not only describes the remains of the home itself, but explores the evidence that suggests that this is the place where Jesus spent his formative years—or at least the place regarded in the Byzantine period as the childhood home of Jesus.

The excavation revealed a first-century “courtyard house” that was partially hewn from naturally occurring rock and partially constructed with rock-built walls. Many of the home’s original features are still intact, including doors and windows. Also found at the site were tombs, a cistern and, later, a Byzantine church.

The remains combined with the description found in the seventh-century pilgrim account De Locus Sanctis point to the courtyard house found beneath the convent as what may have been regarded as Jesus’ home in Nazareth. Archaeological and geographical evidence from the Church of the Annunciation, the International Marion Center and Mary’s Well come together to suggest that this location may be where Jesus transitioned from boy to man.

Ken Dark also discusses the relationship between the childhood home of Jesus, Nazareth and the important site of Sepphoris. It has been thought that Sepphoris would have provided Joseph with work and Jesus many important cultural experiences. However, Ken Dark believes that Nazareth was a larger town than traditionally understood and was particularly Jewish in its identity—as opposed to the Roman-influenced Sepphoris. This is partially based on the result of his survey of the Nahal Zippori region that separates Sepphoris and Nazareth geographically.

For more on the childhood home of Jesus, read the full article “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” by Ken Dark in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Image: Bible History Daily. Description: “This very well could be the childhood home of Jesus. It doesn’t look inviting, but this rock-hewn courtyard house was quite likely Jesus’ home in Nazareth. The recent excavation by Ken Dark and the Nazareth Archaeological Project revealed evidence suggesting this is where Jesus was raised—or at the least the place venerated as such by the Byzantine period. Photo: Ken Dark.”

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How would you portray the face of Jesus?

Once again we find the intersection of art and faith to be both interesting and challenging. Watch this short video of one priest’s quest over the years to seek the face of Jesus:

The video is part of a story on Religion News Service: The Many Faces of Jesus. What do you think?

Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?

Here is an accessible look at the events of Holy Week. When was the “Last Supper” and was it a Seder? When was Jesus tried, condemned, and crucified? Let Jonathan Klawans guide your exploration:

Many people assume that Jesus’ Last Supper was a Seder, a ritual meal held in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Passover. And indeed, according to the Gospel of Mark 14:12, Jesus prepared for the Last Supper on the “first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb.” If Jesus and his disciples gathered together to eat soon after the Passover lamb was sacrificed, what else could they possibly have eaten if not the Passover meal? And if they ate the Passover sacrifice, they must have held a Seder. […]

… I believe we must be careful not to let our emotions get the better of us when we are searching for history. Indeed, even though the association of the Last Supper with a Passover Seder remains entrenched in the popular mind, a growing number of scholars are beginning to express serious doubts about this claim.

Read the entire post on the pages of the Biblical Archeology Society:
Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder? – Biblical Archaeology Society.

What did Jesus look like?

Question: what did Jesus look like?If you close your eyes and pose this question to yourself, “What did Jesus look like” you would undoubtedly come up with an image.

A recent segment on Religion & Ethics elaborates one man’s research into the question. It is an affirmation of our continuing exploration of art and faith. Each influences the other.

Go to: Depicting Jesus

Wind Chimes: 28 Apr 2013

“I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.”

John 13:34

Today (4/28/13) we listened to these words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. Getting home I found this post by Brian McLaren:

I compiled this list of “one-anothers” in the New Testament, a primer on a basic social practices. Not a bad curriculum!

  • “…be at peace with each other.” (Mk. 9:50, 1 Thes. 5:13, 1 Pet. 3:8)
  • “wash one another’s feet…. serve one another in love.” (Jn. 13:14, Gal. 5:13)
  • “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34; 15:12; 15:17; Romans 13:8, 1 Thes. 4:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 Pet. 3:8, 1 Pet. 4:8, 1 Jn. 3:11, 23; 1Jn. 4:7, 11; 2 Jn. 1:5)
  • “Be devoted to one another with mutual affection.” (Romans 12:10)

Brian has quite a list of ‘one-anothers.’ See for yourself. Then comes the challenge: to live (act) like we understand, believe, and cherish these words.

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It sounds like the chimes have heard the Good News and are singing, “Love one another,” over and over (until we have the melody), “Love one another.”

What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 5 Mar 2013

The wind in kind of different today. It’s a prophetic sound in the chimes today. What do you hear?

“Unless you repent …” a sermon to consider

Pilate, that tyrant, has killed some Galileans at worship, a tower has collapsed in Siloam and killed 18, folks around Jesus at the time asked him to comment, and he did, but it wasn’t what they expected. Jesus’ final words of comment includes this gem, “unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of West Texas, opens up these words of Jesus and gives us much to think about and then, quoting one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, poses a question to us.

A couple of excerpts:

Imagine that one day you call or come by the office to tell me that your son is getting a divorce, that your best friend has just been diagnosed with cancer, that your mom has died, or your husband just lost his job. You would not be happy if my response was, “Unless you repent….” Your next phone call or visit would probably be with Bishop Lillibridge. “Can you believe what he said? How could he say that to me? What are you going to do about this?”

Let’s just be honest about this. Jesus’ words are not all that helpful. They offer no consolation, explanation, or comfort. “Unless you repent…” is not we want to hear. Sometimes, however, it is what we need to hear. Today’s gospel is not about pastoral care. Jesus, to state the obvious, is not acting as a pastor. He is being pure prophet.

Find out what else Michael said. Discover the question being posed by Jesus now coming to us in the poetry of Mary Oliver. I definitely commend Michael’s words as we journey through Lent. PLEASE, read the entire sermon Tyrants Act and Towers Fall, Choose Life (Luke 13:1-9) by  Michael K. Marsh. And, yes, answer Michael’s question for the glory of God and the welfare of God’s people.

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Wind Chimes: 4 Mar 2013

Then the Lord said,
“I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt;
I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters.
Indeed, I know their sufferings, and
I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians,
and to bring them up out of that land
to a good and broad land,
a land flowing with milk and honey…

Exodus 3:7-8 NRSV

Soacer40x20Friendly and intimate sounds come from the chimes today. What do you hear?

A God who is friend

On Sunday (3/3/13) we heard a lesson from Exodus 3:1-15 and we discussed this further in the Sunday Morning Forum. Believing that the scriptures reveal all that we need to know “for salvation” we focused on the truth of the intimate involvement of God with a whole People and by extension with individuals like you and me. Oscar Romero understood this and opens it further:

This is the beauty of prayer and of Christian life: coming to understand that a God who converses with humans has created them and has lifted them up, with the capacity of saying “I” and “you.” What would we give to have such power as to create a friend to our taste and with a breath of our own life to make that friend able to understand us and be understood by us and converse intimately–to know our friend as truly another self? That is what God has done; human beings are God’s other self. He has lifted us up so that he can talk with us and share his joys, his generosity, his grandeur. He is the God who converses with us.

Source: The violence of love as quoted on inward/outward: a project of the church of the saviour

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