The Nazareth Community circa 2BC - 20AD.....?? Yes!


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A piano teacher, Rene Salm, gathered as many archaeological reviews together and discovered that although showing habitation from earlier and later times the Hilltop of Nazareth had not produced more than oil lamps from the early 1st century. Evidence of maybe one building from that time, but nothing certain at all, and armed with this mass of evidence he wrote a book about the Nazareth story in the gospels being a total myth, and probably made more money from its sales than the keyboards that he knew so well. I mean, publish a book about the myth of Nazareth and many a 'myther' is sure to buy...... not a bad way to get attention, I'm thinking.

This thread is all about the silliness of such claims. Nazareth, the two Hilltops both called 'Cana' and two others were full and flourishing communities in early 1st century Galilee and I think it's fairly easy to show this proposal to you.

The thing is, I hate long winded OPs, and to stuff all the facts at you in one long dreary OP will be a real drag, so I'd like to come at this a single thrust at a time. So here we go.

1. Herod the Great had a special place in his psychotic heart for the mini-city of Sepphoris, which he called Zippori (birds nest?), a delightful palatial complex placed on top of a hill on the plains of Galilee, (a good walking distance from where Nazareth and Cana Hills) several acres of fabulous buildings.

2. In 4BC Herod died, and during the upsets and outrages that followed the power vacuum a well known bandit, Judas BarEzekiah together with his band of followers, seized the city, forced its inhabitants to swear loyalty to him (that or a journey in to the hereinafter) and took up residence...a perfect site to use as a base for plundering and looting expeditions all over the province.

So that's the start of the 'Nazareth community was there!' proposal.
More next time. :)
The situation at Sepphoris was soon discovered, and the Syrian Legate, Varus, was instructed to sort this bandit and his crowd of butchering looters out. It costs a lot of money to send a couple of legions and a cohort of cavalry in to Galilee, together with the time that it takes to lay siege to a city, take it and then sort out the total mess. Varus was furious about costs and the bother of it all.

The Roman Legions came to Sepphoris, lay siege to it and retook it, at great expense. Every woman and child in the city was sold in to slavery to help to recoup costs, and all the male prisoners were forced to tear down Sepphoris to the ground so that such an episode could not recur. After the city was razed to ground every male prisoner was crucified, some historians think this happened around the ruins, others suggest that the prisoners were marched to Jerusalem for their executions. I don't know what happened to Judas BarEzekiah but I'm guessing he didn't have a good year.

And now the date is somewhere between 3-2BC. A deserted waste where Sepphoris was and not much else in the area because there was not much for anybody to do around there.

But by that time one of Herod's (few) surviving sons, Herod Antipas, was given control of all Galilee and all Perea. And he had loved Sepphoris dearly....and he wanted this delightful little city to be rebuilt, even better than ever before......

......... which meant that there was a living to be gained around that place, again, and labourers, hauliers, wood and stone workers, metal workers and other trades were needed.....masses of them.

...which is where this proposal shall end for this post. :)
The Tetrarch Herod Antipas poured money in to the Sepphoris rebuild, and the working people came for the work and its rewards........thousands of them and with their families. Galilee was a very rough, tough province and few people would want to set up homes in the plains and valleys...most insecure places to leave wives and children, so they polarised towards the local hilltops around the future city. Some would have made homes around the project but Sepphoris hill could not accommodate that many, and so the two Canas, Nazareth, Simonias and maybe Yafia, all rocky hilltops offering safety and security, these were soon populated communities, just walking distance from Sepphoris.

There is a map below which proposes where these hilltops were placed. Two of these are named 'Cana' by churches at different times. Some of you might place Nazareth on a hilltop further to the West of Sepphoris which I tend to do, but this is one map to give you an idea of the geography. Here it is:-

Many people think of early 1st century Galilean communities, cities etc as being filled with streets and brick/stone houses, like the townships around the Lake, like Capernaum. Whilst the boatmen were working nets the women (and children) could be making mud or clay bricks, stripping flax down for clothing, ropes, netmaking etc....everybody was busy, and so any building work used materials to hand.

Nobody was going to make bricks and then drag up a 1000' hillside to make houses on a rocky outcrop. It's true that cellars were excavated on these hilltops for security etc, but labourers, hauliers, wood and stone workers, these people travelled to where the work existed, they were itinerants and they didn't build houses! They were tent dwellers, and they brought their homes with them.

More about this, next post :)
The tents of the working itinerants of Palestine and beyond.
People travelled to where a living could be made. Their homes were tents.
Tents, everything about tents, and tent making was very big in and around Palestine 2000 years ago.

The most weatherly and water resistant tents were made of goatskin, and some itinerant families still abide in tents to this day.
The idea that any working person would have had the time or means to get bricks up a hillside is a real joke. They weren't daft.... Here are some pictures of goatskin tents today, for your interest.

TENTS! Here an extract from a much larger article:-
Nomadic tents woven from goats' hair; the front flap and sides can be raised to allow the passage of fresh air
Nomadic tents woven from goats' hair; the front flap and sides
can be raised to allow the passage of fresh air

Tents were made from goats' hair or dark sheep's wool, woven in rectangular strips on large looms. Women wove the fabric for the tents, stitched them together, and kept them in good repair. In effect, they were the craftspeople who produced the housing.

They also set up the tents each time the clan/tribe moved to a new site. They selected a suitable site, then using wooden mallets and tent pegs they hoisted up and secured the unwieldy tents. When it was time to move on, they took down the tents, folded them and stowed to for the journey.

This would seem heavy work to us, but the Hebrew women were sturdy and skilled, and they worked as a group.

Since there was very little furniture, there was ample storage space inside the tent

Some pics......... I doubt that working folks could have had such a large tented home, but you could get an idea from these modern photos:-


.........And so..........
Once again the hilltop communities around the huge Sepphoris rebuild flourished. And it was not only the labourers, hauliers, stone, wood and metal workers that set up their homes around that central 'mini-city' to be....... the supporting trades came as well....the tent makers and repairers, the flax shredders, the rope makers and so on.... typical examples.

No wonder people from Nazareth could walk to Cana or another hill to celebrate with friends, and live for generations on these hilltops.

And after two thousand years, what evidence would be there that they ever existed? Where I live a once thriving bronze age community might only be discernible by slight changes in earth-colour to show where once, say, a round house pole had been......if that.

The Hill-top at Nazareth is now part of an amazing township of brick, stone and concrete and where archaeologists managed to search they only found oil lamp remains........... of course. And a piano teacher grasped these to make his claim that the story of a township upon Nazareth 2000 years ago is a total myth. And the mythers of the world rushed to buy his book. And the press, always short for material, stuff it all in their papers. And readers could tell you.... 'Scientists and scholars have totally trashed that story in the bible, it's all rubbish....I read a book about it.'

'Individual Investigation before Institutional Indoctrination'. :)

Thankyou for your interest.