Was Jesus Really from Nazareth?
Jesus’ Hometown Discovered?
On December 21st, 2009, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced an archaeological discovery that may cause red faces for those who have doubted the New Testament’s historical accuracy. For the first time in history, archaeologists cite evidence of the 1st century town of Nazareth, the reputed hometown of Jesus.
Moreover, this discovery has the backing of scientists; Archaeologist Stephen Pfann, president of the University of The Holy Land, states: “It’s the only witness that we have from that area that shows us what the walls and floors were like inside Nazareth in the first century.”
Although Nazareth exists today as a thriving Arab city of 65,000 in northern Israel, some scholars have believed it didn’t exist during Jesus’ lifetime. For example, the Encyclopedia Biblica in 1899 stated, “It is very doubtful whether the beautiful mountain village of Nazareth was really the dwelling-place of Jesus.”
In 2006, American Atheist Press published a book by Rene Salm entitled, The Myth of Nazareth. The author summarized his argument before this recent discovery. He writes, “What must matter to all Christians, however, is the inescapable fact that the evangelists invented this basic element in the story of cosmic redemption. The proof is now at hand that ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ a long-standing icon of Western civilization, is bogus.”
In the face of this new discovery, Salm still defends the conclusions in his book. However, 1st century clay shards discovered in the Nazareth location seem to undermine his theory that Jesus’ hometown was mythical.
Archaeologists have also discovered other relics in recent times that confirm the existence of New Testament characters such as Pilate and Caiaphas (see, “Was Jesus a real person?“).