Was Nazareth Inhabited During the Time of Jesus?
I regularly hear skeptics claim that Nazareth was not inhabited during the first century, thus creating a major problem for the Gospel accounts about Jesus. This claim has been repeated so many times that people believe it without checking out more recent research.
It is true that for a long time that there was not much archaeological evidence for Nazareth. The reason for this is that Nazareth during the time of Jesus was a small village, one of such little importance that we would not expect much in terms of remains. This reflected in the Gospel of John.
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. (John 1:46)
Nathanael is basically saying that Nazareth is such a backwater that no one should expect anyone of importance to come from there.
Having said that, archaeological evidence has emerged for the first century habitation of Nazareth. Here a few articles worth reading.
- Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found?
- Photos: 1st-Century House from Jesus’ Hometown
- EARLY ROMAN-PERIOD NAZARETH AND THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH CONVENT
- Did Nazareth Exist? (by Bart Ehrman)
I am agnostic as to whether or not the house discovered belonged to Jesus’ family. I am confident, however, that there is good evidence for Nazareth existing during the time of Jesus. If you are interested in archaeology and the New Testament, I recommend Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence by Craig Evans.