rene joseph salm wrote:
> Jack, you really should bring yourself up to speed regarding Nazareth
> if you want to contribute to this discussion.
> We've already gone through the Pfann and Voss material you presented to
> Tom, not once, but several times, dating back to Nov. 1998. Tom and I
> have pointed out that this website contains unpublished claims,
> a highly devotional perspective, and floridly speculative (even fanciful)
> conclusions. You don't address these reservations but merely restate
> some of the familiar Pfann material. My comments, if you're interested,
> are in a post of 8 Apr at 2:12.
> On Wed, 5 May you wrote:
> > I think the archaeological evidence is clear that there was a village
> > on this site dating at least to the early Roman period and habitation as
> > far back as the Bronze age.
> What "clear" archaeological evidence?
> So far, we have one sherd about the size of your thumbnail, very dubiously
> labelled 'Hellenistic' by Bagatti.
> On 6 May 13:45 you wrote [to S. Goranson]:
> > I will review the archaeological evidence again, including the new dig
> > in Nazareth to assess your position. Nazareth is not a sacred cow with
> > me.
> Then you should not be able to look at a hill with an available water
> supply in a fertile area and suppose there was a village there
> (specifically in I BCE/Hellenistic times):
> > Strictly from the standpoint that Nazareth sits on a hill with an
> > available water supply in a fertile area makes it hard for me to believe
> > it was not a habitation.
> By "habitation" I assume you mean "village," or your argument has no
> force. Also, I assume you mean I BCE, or your argument again has no force
> (this is required for Jesus to have come from Nazareth). Hence my
> statement above.
No, I meant habitation in its earlieat development. In the
bronze to iron age and before what some interpreters classify
as its "refounding" as a village in the 2nd century BCE
(Meyers and Strange), it was an agricultural site. It would
not be unusual for a "village" to have arose...uh..arisen....
hmmmm (gotta have my morning coffee yet)...from a "habitation"
by one agricultural family. But in the above statement, I was
not referring to the variously interpreted archaeological
evidence. I was looking at this region of the Galilee as
prime agricultural real estate since the iron age. I see
an elevated area between the basin on the north and the
extensive fertile fields to the south and an available
water supply. The idea that this ridge would have been
unclaimed and unoccupied until sometime in the first
or second century CE is not credible to me strictly from
a demographic standpoint. The proximity of Sepphoris
and its continued occupation since at least Iron II makes
an unoccupied, unutilized Nazareth by the 1st century
even more incredible to me.
> BTW, late Roman Nazareth is not at the summit of the hills (which
> reach above 450 m), but below 350 m in the valley between summits.
Its not unusual for occupation sites in elevated locations like the
ridge of the Beth Netofa Basin to literally "float" about over
> Jack [5/9]:
> > We have to rely on the archaeological evidence alone
> I see no reason at all to exclude literary, historical (events of the
> time, etc), religious (Jewish prohibition against tombs within village
> bounds) or any other evidence that might be brought to bear.
OK, so the twenty odd tombs found on a perimeter of 250-750 yards
from the Church of the Annunciation gives some ides of the placement
of the village. This leaves the dating of the tombs as the key.
As you correctly state, Kokim tombs were a feature between 2 bce and 2
and cannot prove a pre-Jesus model. On the other hand, it cannot
prove a post-Jesus model. I would suggest, however, that the four
"rolling stone" tombs places that dating earlier rather than
> > since the lack of any mention of Nazareth in Jesus' time or prior
> > in no way suggests the village was not there...
> In fact it does to me, though it doesn't prove it. At the least, this is
> an item of evidence to be placed in the composite picture.
Are you forgetting the gospels? Jesus is multiply attested in all
four gospels and in Acts as having been born in Nazareth. Now I
realize all the possibilities here...Matthew and Luke drawing on
Mark..the dating of the gospels...but I would contend that this comes
from the earliest source material used by the gospelers. Surely Luke
would have corrected it if it were not true and, if he is the Luke
of Paul, he was a contemporary.
> > only that it was not important.
> You've sold the farm with this statement... First you have to prove
> the existence of a village.
I am not willing to dismiss Bagatti, Pfann and Voss from my armchair
position as easily as you. I find their reports to be persuasive
and they are the ones with the shovels. I also have more
confidence in the ceramic datings.
> What I mean is, how can "the lack of any mention of Nazareth in Jesus'
> time or prior" suggest to you *the existence* of a village "that was not
> important" (or of any other kind)? Your statement merely demonstrates a
> priori acceptance of such village... This, then, effectively excludes you
> from the possibility of scientific debate.
Just the opposite. As a scientist I am full aware that the absence of
epigraphic evidence proves nothing, pro or con. The absence of that
form of evidence does not suggest to me "the existence of a village"
You have constructed a straw man here.
> > The agricultural terraces, walls, towers,
> > etc now being excavated by Pfann and Voss date to the early Roman
> > period...
> Correction: Pfann writes "beginning with the early to late Roman periods."
> As I remarked in the Apr 8 post, does this equivocal statement mean the
> earliest potsherds are "early" or "late" Roman? (Or is he intentionally
"Early to late" is not vague to me. I repoorts a ceramic range and
again, Pfann is the one with the shovel. Are you suggesting he is not
qualified? He is unfamiliar with ceramic dating? It seems as if all
of the guys with the shovels are reporting a pre-Jesus Nazareth and
all the opponents in their armchairs are disputing it. It sounds
as if the a priori is in the armchair camp.
> > some to the Hellenistic period
> This is a bald unsubstantiated claim. What "Hellenistic" evidence?
> The closest to anything definite that I found on his website is another
> equivocal (and very broad) statement: "Pottery was found from the second
> century BC to the fourth century CE." On the face of it, one would suppose
> this means Pfann claims II BCE and I BCE finds. But he doesn't say what
> these finds are, give examples, characteristics or particulars, say who
> dated them, to when within this broad period (4 centuries), etc. He
> merely makes a passing claim, on the internet. Oh well, that sort of
> information is not much use to me. People do make claims all the time...
You are claiming that Pfann, Voss, Rapuano, Karnis, etal are not
qualified to identify 2nd century BCE ceramics from the terraces
of the site? You think these claims would be made by professional
archaeologists without cataloging the shards? Tell ya what..I'll ask
> > and this is certainly prior to Jesus' time.
> Nothing from Pfann's website is certain.
This season they will be investigating the watchtowers.
Let's see what they find.
> > The complex of burial caves that form
> > a perimeter around the ancient village site (in the region of
> > the Church of the Annunciation) has yielded BRONZE AGE pottery.
> Forget about your "perimeter." Of the burial caves, only three (Bagatti
> Nos.1, 7, and 80, p.258), all in the area of the present Church of the
> Annunciation, have yielded Bronze age remains. No Bronze Age remains have
> been found in Richmond's find to the south, nor any in Feig's finds to the
Uh....three tombs in the area of the CA, which is considered to be
the locus of the ancient site, has produced bronze age remains.
This doesn't tell you anything? Am I missing something here?
> And what of it? I sense your point is perhaps that Bronze Age finds
> implies "continuous habitation" thereafter... If so, I suggest you think
> again. As mentioned above, there are no artifacts at the site from the
> Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic, or Hasmonaean periods at all.
Not according to the archaeologists on site.
> > Grain silos of the same type found at Tel Abu Matar (Chalcolithic)
> > contained IRON II pottery (Solomon period). Eighteen of the tombs
> > surrounding the ancient village area are of the kokim type.
> (The comment for the Bronze period holds also for Iron period evidence.)
> As for the kokhim tombs, that type has been dated as current from anywhere
> between II BCE and II CE (K. Galling, Palaestina Jahrbuch 1936, p.76;
> etc.) In other words, the mere existence of Kokhim alone is in no way
> evidence for BCE use as opposed to CE use, as you seem to imply.
Well, I covered this above.
> A closer look at arcosolia and other characteristics of these tombs
> suggests construction of many of them in later rather than earlier
> kokhim times. This is confirmed by Feig's evidence: all of her 5 tombs
> are dated to *post-Jesus* CE times.
> Then, Feig's tombs have much similarity with those across the valley
> studied by Bagatti...
Actually, I am not concerned with "across the valley."
> Then again, none of the contents of any Nazareth tomb is certain
> before II CE. Not even a shard...
But there are ceramics dating to II BCE.
> Bob Schacht writes:
> > Horsley agrees that there was a substantial settlement at Nazareth
> > during the first century.
> I doubt Horsley has gone through the evidence item-by-item as I have.
> If he did, I doubt he would hold that view. For example, do you think he
> knows that not one of the oil lamps found at Nazareth can be clearly dated
> before II CE?
I take it then that you disagree with the dating range of Herodian style
> > We have discussed this before.
> > There is other evidence than lamps.
> We're not just talking oil lamps here, Bob. For the record, once again:
> there are no artifacts or structures at the Nazareth site dated to the
> Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic, or Hasmonaean periods. None. We're
> -- no habitations
> -- no pottery
> -- no oil lamps
> -- no inscriptions
> -- no coins
Let's give Pfann another season and we'll see.
taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon