Nazareth in the First Century

It seems that Richard Dawkins may be right about infectious memes. But they aren’t just an issue for religious people. I have on multiple occasions encountered claims by atheists who insist that there was no village of Nazareth in the first century, often citing outdated or misunderstood archaeological data, or worse still, things written by [Read More...]

Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee

There is an interesting book by Bellarmino Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee (a translation from the Italian original), which I had the chance to consult recently. Much of it focuses on Christian presence in later times, but in a few instances it is able to trace evidence back to a very early period. Bagatti [Read More...]

Class on Apocalyptic, Early Judaism, and the Context of Jesus

Above is the screen capture and audio from a class I taught as part of my course on the Bible, initially focusing on apocalyptic literature (and in particular the Book of Daniel), and moving from there to the Judaism of Jesus’ time. [Read more...]

Around Galilee

Today we visited sites that have some connection to the story of Jesus. Contrary to what some fringe internet voices such as the Jesus mythicists have sometimes claimed, there is evidence for habitation in Nazareth in the first century, in the structures excavated beneath the Church of the Annunciation. Even rather later, in the 4th [Read More...]

Two Nazarenes

Our tour guide Baligh’s local tour organization which EF works with is called “Nazarene Tours” because Baligh himself is from Nazareth. He made an amusing comment on the first day about the fact that he is more of a Nazarene than Jesus for two reasons: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth for [Read More...]

Jerusalem and Israel: An Aerial View

This trailer for an upcoming IMAX movie about Jerusalem gives an aerial view of a number of major sites. I hope it will generate enthusiasm among students for the Israel trip I’ll be leading in May! I definitely recommend clicking the “full screen” button! Also potentially of interest is the video blog, The Jerusalem Experience, [Read More...]

To Galilee by way of Armageddon

I was excited when I saw that the route to Tiberias, and to Afula where I would be meeting Eldad Keynan who kindly agreed to show me around the Galilee, was by way of Megiddo, even though not all services stop there. The bus took me straight through the plain of Megiddo. It seems more [Read More...]