Monday, December 21, 2009


Just in time for Christmas, the Israel Antiquities Authority has announced that a house from the time of Jesus of Nazareth has been uncovered on the site of the ancient Jewish village of Nazareth. This is the first of its kind (hitherto, denialists have had a merry time with the lack of archaeological evidence from this area and era). It was discovered right next to the Church of the Annunciation (where Gabriel told young Mary a secret). That church was erected in 1969, on the site of a Crusader church, and an even earlier Byzantine building of the 4th century CE; all were supposed to mark the home in which Mary/ Maryam lived. There is a cave underneath the church, which has traditionally been identified as the dwelling of Joseph and Mary, and Jesus (till he moved to his mission-base in Capernaum, in the home of Peter).

It has been estimated that the village at that time would have had about fifty people in it. But if you are wondering what Joseph and Jesus did for a living, I would suggest that there was plenty of building work available for carpenters in the nearby city of Sepphoris.

So, all that nihilistic discussion we hear about no inhabitants in Nazareth at that time has been nullified. (That makes 3 negatives, so they produce a positive result, right?)

The sceptics will simply dismiss it (60 CE not 20 CE); the simple will septicly break out in pious stigmata, rejoicing because this house is right next to the Church of the Annunciation, and the original Christmas Mother might have lived there.

When I did the grand tour of the Holy Family's movements (Bethlehem, Cairo, Egyptian Desert, Nazareth) I was taken to a cave in each case, so I started to think they were troglodytes.

Still, (as in Stille Nacht) it all adds up to a verily verily merry Mary Christmas to all.

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