Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Facts and Fiction

Many skeptics have attempted to discount the coming of Christ (the Messiah) by stating that the town of Nazareth never existed in historical reality. Atheist Frank Zindler has noted that Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, by the Apostle Paul, by the Talmud, or by the first-century historian Josephus. In fact, no ancient historians or geographers mention Nazareth before the beginning of the fourth century.

However, Dr. James Strange of the university of South Florida is an expert on the area where Nazareth is said to have existed. He describes Nazareth as being a very small place - about 60 acres - with a maximum population of about 480 at the beginning of the first century.

When Jerusalem fell in AD 70, priests were no longer needed in the temple because it had been destroyed so they were relocated to other areas (including Galilee). Archaelogists have found a list in Aramaic describing the twenty-four families of priests who were relocated and one of them was registered as having been moved to Nazareth.

In addition, archaelogical digs have uncovered first-century tombs in the vicinity of Nazareth which would establish the village's limits, because Jewish law determines that burials take place outside the town proper. In fact, among archaelogists, there has never really been a big doubt about the location of Nazareth. The burden of proof is on those who dispute its existence.

Other skeptics have said that "such findings suggest that Nazareth may have existed in Jesus' time, but there is no doubt that it must have been a very small, insignificant place."

So small that Nathanael's musings in John's gospel make more sense: "Nazareth!" he said, "Can anything good come from there?"

Fact - Jesus grew up in an insignificant village named Nazareth.

Keep tuned for more facts and fiction about Christmas ~

Believing the truth of the Bible ~ Bob

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