Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Blogs > gold heart
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Rate this Entry

Nazareth or Nabratein or ...?

Posted November 17th, 2016 at 08:22 PM by gold heart
Tags "jesus"

Could the "real/lost" Nazareth be Nabratein (not the traditional "Nazareth")? by Sean B.

(This is just a repost of our original rough article from a few years ago, we haven't yet improved/updated it except a quick editing some bits.)

The reason/story for this article was that I had seen that sources claim that the traditional "Nazareth" was not around (evidence it didn't exist or no evidence it existed) at the time of Christ (and no synagogue there). If the NT is true then it is a challenge then to find/prove either that Nazareth was around (at that site) in the time of Christ, or that Nazareth was not on the exact site and to find another true/real/original Nazareth site. I did a little looking around for alternative sites in wider vicinity of "Nazareth" and came up with a few posisble candidates but didn't find any real major other candidates and/or evidence (see list of considered candidates at end.)
Later on when I was working on my draft Ark of the Covenant article I saw my note/comment on the ark of Nabratein and had a sudden flash inspiration connection that this seemed like it could be the lost Nazareth because Nabratein had a synagogue and Nazareth was supposed to have a synagogue but they claim there wasn't one at "Nazareth" in "Jesus'"/Yeshua's times, and also they are both connected closely with Capernaum. Subsequent investigation seemed to offer a lot of confirmatory evidence. To me, Nabratein/Safed seems/feels/looks more right than "Nazareth" for "Jesus'" Nazareth (e.g. its geographical situation/relationship to Capernaum). If correct it sheds light on "Jesus'" home/life. Nabratein was the obvious candidate to emerge.
Admittedly there are doubts and my theory here could be wrong. Carol Meyers wrote in a reply to me "Nazareth can't be Nabratein" (though she didn't say why, and/or she didn't say "Nabratein can't be Nazareth"?)
Also, note that as usual/often there is so much conflicting info in the different skeptics/antis/critics and believers/Christians sides/sources, and ignorance on my and/or others parts about Jewish people-in-the- land settlement(s) history etc.

Nabratein is near Safed, roughly # miles north(- north-west/-east) of Capernaum/lake Galilee.
I haven't found many pictures of Nabratein (i have found there is not a great deal of free good info on the web/net). Wikipedia article on Nabratein now (since we first made the possible discovery/theory) has a picture of the synagogue there.

This article gives seventeen possible evidences/arguments that the true Nazareth is Nabratein in ne/Upper Galilee and not the traditional "Nazareth" in sw/lower Galilee.

1. Nazareth is said in NT to have had (and/or been on) a cliff/height/hill(top) (note John 4 also stresses "(come) down") :

Traditional "Nazareth" does have Nebi Sa'in ("too steep / 14% grade / range / elevated-tableau") &/or is "1,200 ft above sea-level, surrounded by hills", but only the modern (Arab/Jewish) city is on hill/top(s), not the ancient which was in valley. [Though Keller says the vice-versa: that old "Nazareth" "lay farther up the hill than the modern village". My sources/notes are bit confusing/confused as to whether the ancient or modern and jewish or arab city was on hill or in valley.] "Nazareth" is in Lower Galilee while Nabratein/Safed is in Upper Galilee.

Safed/Zefat (which Nabratein is near / (4 km) n.n.e. of) is "lookout", "situated on a hill" / in "mountains", "elevated", "view over the valley", and "is the highest city in Galilee". Nabratein is "on a ... promontory, in Upper Galilean highlands, 650m above sea-level, on north side of mount Biriya, the site is situated on the summit of a small hill, the east side of which is marked by wadi Nabratein, [and] on the north side ... [is] the much deeper Khallat es-Siddiq", and its name is associated with root meaning "rise/swell(ing)/grow/prominence, 2 hills / the 2 high places".

2. Nazareth had a synagogue (building &/or congregation) (like Capernaum, Masada, Gamla, Japha, Jerusalem, Gadarenes) :

Sources say traditional "Nazareth" didn't ("no trace found"). [However, "there were many synagogues all over Galilee ... many not excavated" (which agrees with gospels). Some suggest the synagogue at Nazareth was destroyed (while others say not) and Keller wrote that "in the whole of Palestine there is not one synagogue left from those days. When the Romans ... razed Jerusalem ... and the inhabitants of the ancient country were scattered ... their sanctuaries fell ... to destruction." Counter is "Yet 1st Century synagogues have been found in a number of Galilean cities, and there are no records of any mass destructions taking place in Nazareth that would have obliterated a synagogue if it existed." There are academic articles which have "authoritative"-like arguments that synagogues didn't originate or become prominent until the 1st or 2nd century ad. They say that synagogue in gospels meant an assembly or place (or private home) of worship/prayer, or place/house where 10 men gather to pray. If the English translation of gospel verses is correct (and not a mis-translation) then they seem to imply a special/separate structure/building? Others also point out things like that synagogues used on any other days other than sabbath weren't private houses/homes. Sepphoris had a synagogue in 6th cent [b/ce].

Nabratein/Safed [&/or k shema] did have a synagogue (like Capernaum) except maybe problem that date is mid/late Roman not early Roman? [Though, "Nabratein's synagogue is somewhat earlier than the other synagogues of Upper Galilee", and compare later Capernaum synagogue "built on top of ruins/foundations of" previous one(s), and/or that 2 archaeologists believed the ("200 ad") Capernaum synagogue dated from time of Christ. Although some statements/evidence seems sure that Nabratein (synagogue/ark) was mid/late Roman to late Byzantine [1], there has been some evidence that perhaps shows that the dating/stratigraphy is not as definite as held [2].
1 - "preponderance of middle Roman pottery under flooring", inscription "494th year after Roman destruction of Temple", "lintel with inscription provides some clues to stratigraphy", "[style of] lintel first used in Late Roman".
2 - ["Why archaeologists disagree";] "at least 2 periods suggested by lintel" ("[late Roman lintel & Byzantine inscription]"), "inscription additional to lintel", "late Roman structure tentatively identified, though some confusion as to date of the synagogue's initial construction", "only small exposure of earliest flooring was attained", "location of northern wall for periods preceed late Byzantine could not be identified", "badly disturbed foundations ... signified early history of building more complicated than previously considered", "theory of late Byzantine rebuild after gap 150 years", "revised stratigraphy", "seemed to indicate founding of the building prior to Late Roman period", etc.]

3. Nazareth (had synagogue and) was home of "Jesus"/Yeshua who was a great rabbi who when 12 debated with scribes/pharisees (whence later Rabbins) in Jerusalem. [Nazirite means consecrated.]

[Nazareth has Nebi Sa'in which first word may mean "prophet"?]

Nabratein/Safed is one of 4 holiest cities being center of mystic Kabbalists, and had synagogue(s) in mid/late Roman times.
Khallat es-Siddiq maybe related to "teacher of righteousness" (DSS), James the just, the just one (("Jesus"/Yeshua) in 'Acts')?

4. Perhaps: "Jesus"/Yeshua read from book of Isaiah.

~ Torah shrine/"ark" found at Nabratein (synagogue).

5. (NT Nazareth &/or) traditional "Nazareth" is not mentioned in "pre-Christian" Jewish sources (like Josephus, bible, Rabbinic, maps, etc) :

Nabratein is n.e. of Safed which is mentioned in Josephus (Sepph), etc. Nasor/Hazor is mentioned in Apocrypha.

6. Not any much evidence that traditional "Nazareth" was a very [well/highly] inhabited (city) in NT/JC's times [between pre-pottery Neolithic / MBA / IA and post-IA tombs / 1st cent a.d.], it was "small size/unimportant/insignificant hamlet"/etc, (apart from "some remains / house(s) (walls) [Santa Casa di Loreto?] date time Jesus" claimed, and "many graves/traces"). [Its possible though that Nazareth was insignificant, separated, small peasant, not-on-main-routes which might be significant if "Jesus'"/Yeshua's home/upbringing was poor? (And "Jesus"/Yeshua moving to Capernaum maybe like moving to city?)]

Safed/Nabratein has evidence of structures as early as 1 ad; before that there was pottery but not associated with major structures though [incl bronze age/iron age] (and though early Roman &/or late Hellenistic/Hasmonean remains/coins on the whole / in general "low/few").

7. NT Nazareth was a city/polis (with a synagogue) (like Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nain, Bethsaida, Sodom, Capernaum etc) (one of only a few mentioned in gospels) not a village/kome (like which only 2 Bethany & Emmaus were named in gospels). [Though Oxford says there were only a couple of cities mentioned in gospel time(s).]

Traditional "Nazareth" was "small size / ..." (and no synagogue). [Though Oxford says "Distinctions between the 2 [city & village] were not great, and they were sometimes used interchangeably." (Plus it is reckoned that "Luke's knowledge of the holy land was not always correct".)]

[Safed is "one of 4 holiest Jewish sites", and is mentioned in Josephus. Safed/Nabratein had synagogue(s) like Capernaum. The evidences of habitation in # 6 above? [Nabratein (synagogue) is maybe like twin-/sister-city to Capernaum (synagogue)?]

8. No one is certain what meant when Nathanael said "can any good come out of Nazareth" ("size", "goodness", graves, peasant, zealots, etc)?

Nabratein/Safed had some negative associations like Arab name relates to "place where pigs rot".

9. "Jesus'"/Yeshua's home is elsewhere/later said to be Capernaum. ("Moved from Nazareth to Capernaum".)

Nabratein similar/sister-city to Capernaum in that both associated with "ark" (and synagogue) finds, and geographically close, etc.

("A frieze from the synagogue at Capernaum is engraved with what seems to be a wheeled Ark bearing the Biblical Scrolls."
Archaeologists found an ancient "proto-type of the ark" (or rather "a torah shrine successor to the ark") at Nabratein, Galilee, consisting of "2 lions on top of a shell".)

"Capernaum is a big detour in traveling from Cana to Jerusalem" (re jn 2:12)?

10. Perhaps compare: Nazareth/Nazara was near Cochaba (&/or [Japhia/Legio]). [Cochaba maybe related to "son of the star" messianic title?]
("Nazareth" is/was near Sepphoris.)

([K Shema] is near) Nabratein/Hazor is near Sepph/Safed/Saphet/Zefat is near Chorazin?

"Nazareth" is further from NT sites (which are all fairly close vicinity) except for Nain and uncertain location Cana and "Nazareth".
Nabratein is nearer NT sites like *Chorazin*, Bethsaida, Capernaum mentioned in the gospels and by "Jesus"/Yeshua.

11. The location of Cana is said to be unsure.

On one hand there are upto 3 sites in sw/lower Galilee, near/north of "Nazareth": ....

Though on other hand there are upto 5 sites closer to Safed/Nabratein / north/Upper Galilee than "Nazareth"/Lower Galilee : ....

[Not sure if the location of Nain is sure or could be ...? Nahrina? Nebi Sa'in?]

12. Joseph/"Jesus" was a "carpenter"/mason/builder/architect / adept/initiate.

Keller does mention that modern "Nazareth" had "a surprising number of carpenters [who] run their workshops and sell their wares .... and a variety of ... implements ... are manufactured there." [Santa Casa di Loreto?]
Also, sources reckon Joseph may have moved to Nazareth near the newly being built Sepphoris for employment.

Safed & Nabratein have modern & ancient craft/trade connections (incl pottery/stone-vessel fragments, ark/synagogue architecture, "artists quarter where they make and sell pictures and other artistic handicraft", etc. Safed is one of 3 Jewish holy site and center of mystic cabala.

13. It has been said that "Nazareth" was not on major/main road/route, (though Keller and map have do have major/military/caravan road/route pass by "Nazareth")? ....

14. "Jesus"/Nazareth was associated Naphthali &/or Zebulun, and Dan.
The traditional "Nazareth" is associated with Zebulun.
Nabratein is associated with Naphthali and Dan ["house of David"?]

15. The considered possible Aramaic relations of "Jesus"/Nazareth name cast doubt on the lower Galilee location of Nazareth. "Jesus"/Yeshua (spoke Aramaic, and) was once called a Samaritian by enemies which might be a point for traditional "Nazareth", though could perhaps imply a closer connection with Aram/Syria(c)?
Nabratein/Hazor is further north (& east) (& is "Arabic").
(Christians, Zealots, and/or ["Qumran sect"/Essenes/Yahad], were called Galileans/Nazarenes.)

16./15./10. Nabratein is in Upper Galilee which was a largely village culture area further from the arm of Herod Antipas / Sepphoris (and with Zealot centers later).
"Nazareth" in "Jewish Galilee" is right in Herod Antipas' / Sepphoris' vicinity. (Though "Jesus"/Yeshua did somewhat respect Roman authority.)

17. "Jesus"/Yeshua is Lion of Judah:

"2 lions on top of a shell" at Nabratein?

18. Nazareth/Nazarene has disputed origin/meaning of its name, one being natsar/"watch/guard/keep", (netser/"branch", etc).
Safed means "lookout", (and 7-branched menorah found at Nabratein).

19. (NT &/or traditional) Nazareth/Nazarene (&/or Nazirite) name variously/alternatively spelled Nazareth, Nazarene, nitrat, Nasareth/Natsareth, Nazaret, Nazara (Greek), an-Nasira/an- Nasiri/nasara (Arab (nisba)), Nasoraya, [hnwsyr], Nasoreans, etc. [Loreto?]

Nabratein variously/alternatively spelled Nabratein/Nabartine, Nevoraya/Nevoraia, Niburay(y)a(h), etc. (Nasor/Hazor (Apocrypha)?)

List of our other considered similar possible candidate places/names for Nazareth (Galilee, NT) &/or Nazarene:

(Kefar-/en-) Nabratein/Safed?* Nasor/Hazor (1 Maccabees 11:67)?* en Hazor/kh. hazireh?* kadesh Naftali/Nephtalim (refuge)?* Nephthar?* Arzareth (2Esdras13)?* et-tell?* bet-Netofa?* Zaretan?* Anaharath?* ginnesar/Gennesaret/Chinneroth/chinnereth? Exaloth/Chesulloth (near Nazareth)? the traditional "Nazareth" (lower Galilee)?*
Nozrei_ha-Brit ("keepers of the covenant")?* Nazirite?* nassenes? Yeishu ha-Notzri/nezer ("shoot/sprout/branch")? "Nazareth (Judea)"? Nazare? lazaret? nabaret? Lazarus/Eleazar? Mt Nisir? Neter "god"? Nestor(-ius/-ian)? Nasoreans (Mandeans/Sabians/Subbis, Aramaic)? a Nazareen ("a member of a mystic group schooled for 9 years in Alexandria")? st Gregory of Nazianzen? nusayri/alawites? nizari/Nizar(i) (assassins/Ismailis/Shiites)? name Nasir/Nazir (cf Robin of Sherwood)? mazzaroth (zodiac)?

Some suggest that it is not Nazareth but Nazarene or Nazirite, but the gospels seem to be clear that it was a place/city not just a group/office name.
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 1


  1. Old Comment
    Nazareth is in the northern part of Israel. Wikipedia has this about Nazareth:

    Nazareth (/ˈnęzərəθ/; Hebrew: נָצְרַת‎, Naṣrat; Aramaic: ܢܨܪܬ‎‎, Naṣrath; Arabic: النَّاصِرَة‎‎, an-Nāṣira) is the capital and the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as "the Arab capital of Israel".[2] In 2015 its population was 75,726. The inhabitants are predominantly Arab citizens of Israel, of whom 69% are Muslim and 30.9% Christian.[2][3][4][5] Nazareth Illit (lit. "Upper Nazareth") is built alongside old Nazareth, and had a Jewish population of 40,312 in 2014. The Jewish sector was declared a separate city in June 1974.[6]
    In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.
    Posted December 29th, 2016 at 07:40 PM by rfreeman0816 rfreeman0816 is offline

Remove Ads

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.