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Re: Nazareth-- Bronze and Iron Ages

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  • Rene
    ... Nazorean from the city name of Nazareth as an invention of Matthew, when that term can relate to an earlier vocalization of the city name. . .
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 31, 2007
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      > "One may ask whether it is linguistically appropriate to distance
      "Nazorean" from the city name of "Nazareth" as an "invention" of
      Matthew, when that term can relate to an earlier vocalization of the
      city name. . ."<

      There was no "earlier vocalization of the city name" because there was
      no earlier city. Nazareth (in the basin) did not yet exist at the turn
      of the era. That is *clearly* shown by the post-Iron Age material
      remains, which all date to CE times. They show that the village
      emerged between the two Jewish Revolts (cf. prior posts relating to
      kokhim tombs, bow-spouted oil lamps, etc.). There is no room for
      ambiguity here at all. The material record from the basin is very
      clear (I can't stress this enough). The 20+ kokhim tombs are all
      post-50 CE (there are no earlier tombs of the Hellenistic era). The
      earliest oil lamps are all post-Herod the Great (and possibly as late
      as 150 CE). All the other (post-Iron Age) material is Middle Roman and

      Whether it's linguistically possible to derive "Nazorean" from
      Nazareth is not critical, because we know already that did *not*
      occur, at least not before c. 100 CE (see below). After all, if the
      place did not exist, the derivation from it is not possible. In other
      words, we must look for the ultimate meaning of "Nazorean" somewhere
      else. This has long been suspected. Schaeder (Kittel: "Nazarēnos,"
      875) writes: "Nasraja┬ů is the consistent Syr. rendering of both
      Nazarēnos and Nazōraios. . . This single rendering of the two words in
      the whole of the Syr. Gospel tradition (cf. already Syr/sin and
      Syr/cur) leads to the conclusion that nasraja derives directly from
      the usage of the Aram. speaking disciples of Jesus and the primitive
      Jerusalem community. In secondary forms we find the Gk. Nazarēnos or
      Nazōraios and the Hebrew nōsri, as Jesus and the disciples are
      sometimes called in the Talmud." Together with the archaeological
      evidence from the basin, this is why, though it may not be
      *linguistically* appropriate to distance "Nazorean" from the city name
      of "Nazareth," is it historically appropriate to do so.

      The linguistic aspects of the various cognates are surely important
      and complex, and we all await a full explication by the experts. But
      whatever "Nazorean" and "Nazarene" (and Semitic equivalents) meant,
      they emphatically do not create a place Nazareth in the basin at the
      turn of the era. To suppose that these words purely derived from the
      toponym, one would have to suppose that they are strictly post-c.100
      CE (which Nazareth was), which is an indefensible position. For what
      it's worth, my *interpretation* of the archaeological evidence is that
      people started to come into the basin after the First Jewish Revolt,
      and that the village was worthy of a name in early II CE (c. 100 CE).
      It's possible to allow some grey area here, and to suppose that
      Nazareth already existed c. 70 CE. I, however, find such an early
      interpretation of the evidence forced.

      When "Matthew" wrote "Nazorean" at 2:23, he may have been influenced
      by two factors: (1) the knowledge of an emerging settlement in Lower
      Galilee with a similar name; and (2) a tradition of early
      Jesus-followers also with a similar name. These reasons are not
      mutually exclusive. Matthew's reasons could well have been a mixture
      of the two, and here I am only speculating: "Nazorean" was the
      ebvangelist's creative invention. After all, his verse at 2:23 is
      rather confused, is it not? To me, it bears the signs of
      inventiveness. No commentary has, to my knowledge, made good sense out
      of it.

      As for the LBA evidence mentioned by Yitzhak, this is again the
      "Nassura" of the Hazor tablet. That linguistically those terms *could*
      be related does not mean, of course, that they *are* related. I have
      given reasons to question such a relation: (a) the fact that "Nassura"
      *could* relate to an as yet unlocalized settlement virtually anywhere
      (as does another name in the tablet); (b) the *fact* of a hiatus in
      settlement of the Nazareth basin lasting many centuries; and (c) the
      *fact* that Bronze-Iron Age Japhia has not been localized. These
      issues must also be satisfactorily addressed before we can
      peremptorily assign "Nassura" to "Nazareth."

      Rene Salm

      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:
      > On 3/29/07, Rene wrote:
      > > Of course, there is nothing proven here. We have the toponym "Nassura"
      > > (with doubled sibilant and vowel "u") from the Late Bronze Age and
      > > "Nazara" (single sibilant and vowel "a") from fifteen hundred years
      > > later. I gladly defer to linguists whether those names can or cannot
      > > be related. It has not been ruled out, however, that "Nassura" is the
      > > name of a place which we have not localized (in Syria or elsewhere).
      > > After all, this is the case with the immediately preceding line of the
      > > Hazor tablet, where the toponym "Amazarum" has not been localized.
      > In an earlier message, Rene wrote:
      > > Matthew was interested in distancing Jesus from those
      > > "nazarenes" because they were non-Pauline. He strictly avoids
      > > characterizing Jesus as a "Nazarene" (the word exists four times in
      > > GMk but is not found in Matthew). Matthew first tried a new name,
      > > "Nazorean" (twice), an invention taken up subsequently by Luke, Acts,
      > > and GJn.
      > One may ask whether it is linguistically appropriate to distance
      > "Nazorean" from the city name of "Nazareth" as an "invention" of
      > Matthew, when that term can relate to an earlier vocalization of the
      > city name -- the same as represented in the LBA evidence. Also,
      > the Hebrew "nocri" could show a process whereby the first vowel
      > assimilated to the second (*naccori > *noccori) and the the
      > second vowel dropped (*noccori > nocri). It seems to me problematic
      > that Rene deals with these two issues (LBA vocalization, Matthew
      > vocalization) as separate without considering the possibility that they
      > are related.
      > Yitzhak Sapir
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