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Re: The Historical Nazareth, Secher, Weasel, Schacht and Gibson

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  • Teresa Callahan, M.D. Ben Douglas, M.D.
    Happy New Year to all! I ve just finished reading Jonathan Reed s newly published book, Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus (Trinity Press International,
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 31, 2000
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      Happy New Year to all!

      I've just finished reading Jonathan Reed's newly published book,
      "Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus" (Trinity Press International,
      2000), and in the book Reed discusses the excavations at Nazareth.
      Reed is the co-director of the Sepphoris Acropolis Excavations (along
      with Eric Meyers)and has spent 12 years excavating around Galilee.

      In chapter 2 of his book, Reed reviews the findings over 80
      archaeological sites in Galilee. In most sites, evidence of
      habitation was found during the Iron I and Iron II eras (prior to
      1000 BCE down to 732/733 BCE, the time of the Assyrian destruction
      of the Northern Kingdom of Israel). During the Iron III era (733 to
      586 B.C.E.), the Persian era (586 to 332 B.C.E.) and the Early
      Hellenistic era (332 to 167 B.C.E.), only a handful of Galilean
      villages showed any evidence of habitation (Nazareth NOT included),
      leading Reed to conclude that most of Galilee was destroyed and
      deserted from the time of the Assyrian conquest and exile in 733
      B.C.E. until the Late Hellenistic period (167-63 B.C.E.), when a
      significant number of Galilean villages again show signs of
      settlement by Galileans.

      Nazareth itself does not show definite signs of habitation again until
      the Early Roman era of 63 B.C.E to 135 C.E., and much of the first
      century C.E. material culture is obscured by the later church-building
      activities of the later Christian era after the conversion of the
      Roman Empire (pp. 131-132). Reed notes that first century Nazareth
      "was much more modest and simple, and agricultural, and was confined
      to an area of around 4 hectares", and the size of the site suggests
      a population of less than 4000 people, according to James F. Stange.
      Little first century material culture has been found, mostly limited
      to subterranean cisterns, storage bins and caves because of overlying
      later Christian constructions. Reed surmises that Nazareth's first
      century houses were likely "poorly made of fieldstones and mud, with
      thatched roofs and coverings over caves." The village area appears
      to have been "preoccupied with agricultural activites, yielding wine-
      pressing vats with straining depressions, fermenting vats, and
      depressions to hold storarge jars, along with grinding stones and
      silos,. . . simple locally made pottery and household items, . . . a
      few stone vessel fragments have been found."

      Reed's book reviews the findings of many years' worth of excavations
      by many different archaeologists in Galilee, and relates these
      findings to the modern quest for the Historical Jesus. Praise is
      offered for his work by John S. Kloppenborg Verbin, John Dominic
      Crossan and Sean Freyne on the book jacket. I would recommend Reed's
      book to anyone desiring more information about the status of Galilean
      archaeological research.

      All the best in the new millenium,

      Teresa Callahan, M.D.
      Eugene OR
      Oregon State University (under Marcus Borg)
    • Weasel
      At 22:02 12/31/2000 +0000, Teresa wrote: Many thanks for this information I have two comments though. ... Much less than 4000, a number of 100 to 300 would
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 31, 2000
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        At 22:02 12/31/2000 +0000, Teresa wrote:

        Many thanks for this information I have two comments though.


        > Reed notes that first century Nazareth
        >"was much more modest and simple, and agricultural, and was confined
        >to an area of around 4 hectares", and the size of the site suggests
        >a population of less than 4000 people, according to James F. Stange.


        Much less than 4000, a number of 100 to 300 would appear more reasonable.


        >Little first century material culture has been found, mostly limited
        >to subterranean cisterns, storage bins and caves because of overlying
        >later Christian constructions.

        Does Reed explain how this material was dated? This material is inorganic
        so C14 dating is out.


        ----------
        Weasel
        (Mustela nivalis)

        "It has been my experience that those
        with no vices have very few virtues."
        Abraham Lincoln
      • Bob Schacht
        ... And may the new year be the best yet! ... Thanks for your helpful summary of this book. Looks like I need to add it to my list.... Bob ... [Non-text
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 31, 2000
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          At 10:02 PM 12/31/00 +0000, Teresa Callahan, M.D. Ben Douglas, M.D. wrote:
          >Happy New Year to all!

          And may the new year be the best yet!


          >I've just finished reading Jonathan Reed's newly published book,
          >"Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus" (Trinity Press International,
          >2000), and in the book Reed discusses the excavations at Nazareth.
          >Reed is the co-director of the Sepphoris Acropolis Excavations (along
          >with Eric Meyers)and has spent 12 years excavating around Galilee...

          Thanks for your helpful summary of this book. Looks like I need to add it
          to my list....
          Bob



          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bob Schacht
          ... This used to be a specialty of mine, and I agree with Weasel that 4000 is way too high. Population densities of 1000 per hectare might be found in some
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 1, 2001
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            At 09:06 PM 12/31/00 -0800, Weasel wrote:
            >At 22:02 12/31/2000 +0000, Teresa wrote:
            >
            >Many thanks for this information I have two comments though.
            >
            >
            > > Reed notes that first century Nazareth
            > >"was much more modest and simple, and agricultural, and was confined
            > >to an area of around 4 hectares", and the size of the site suggests
            > >a population of less than 4000 people, according to James F. Stange.
            >
            >
            >Much less than 4000, a number of 100 to 300 would appear more reasonable.

            This used to be a specialty of mine, and I agree with "Weasel" that 4000 is
            way too high. Population densities of 1000 per hectare might be found in
            some contemporary urban centers, but not in an agricultural village. I
            wouldn't argue with the estimate of 100 to 300, but that might be a little
            low.
            ...
            Fortunately, I now see that Teresa has corrected her typo: 400 is certainly
            a reasonable estimate.

            > >Little first century material culture has been found, mostly limited
            > >to subterranean cisterns, storage bins and caves because of overlying
            > >later Christian constructions.
            >
            >Does Reed explain how this material was dated? This material is inorganic
            >so C14 dating is out.

            Usually the dating is done on the basis of trash (e.g., broken pottery)
            found in the bottom of the features.

            >----------
            >Weasel
            >(Mustela nivalis)

            It is my impression that psuedonyms are not appropriate on this list.
            Please identify yourself properly.

            Bob
            Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
            Northern Arizona University
            Flagstaff, AZ


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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