<![CDATA[A house, built into a rocky and dusty hillside in Nazareth, Israel, could be the place where Jesus grew up. The house was initially re-discovered in the late nineteenth century, by nuns from the convent known as the Sisters of Nazareth. In 2006 Ken Dark, an archaeologist and professor at the University of Reading, led a team of researchers and archaeologists in the excavation of the house. He recently wrote in an article published in Biblical Archaeology Review that the team have dated the house to the first century CE. It is one of only two houses in Nazareth that date back to the first century CE. The Israel Antiquities Authority discovered the other in 2009, during a rescue operation carried out by a team of archaeologists. Both houses are located close to one another, as well as the Basilica of the Annunciation. Shortly after the house was abandoned, the site began to be used for quarrying. Then, in the late first century, two tombs were built beside and cutting into the abode. The team has identified the home as the site that people living in the centuries after Christ's death, and into the Middle Ages, believed to be Jesus' former home. Hundreds of years after Christ's death, the house was heavily decorated with mosaics and other artwork. A church was then built atop its grounds. This is very likely the explanation for its preservation over the centuries. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that one of the tombs connected to the home housed Jesus' father, Joseph. The tomb was also decorated with mosaics, and along with the house, regarded as a holy site. From 2004 to 2010, the Nazareth Archaeological Project investigated a large area known as Nahal Zippori. In doing so, they were able to illuminate much of Nazareth's ancient history and discovered many sites and artefacts dating to the period of early Roman rule. Due to aspects of the sites and artefacts, which abide only by Jewish purity laws, it was concluded that Nazareth had been a town of individuals abiding by conservative Jewish beliefs, untainted by foreign ventures. It has also been ascertained that first century Nazareth largely rejected Roman rule and culture, whereas other nearby towns and villages were more accepting and willing to embrace it. It is currently unknown whether or not the house truly belonged to Christ and his family. Even if it did belong to them, it is unclear whether Christ was raised there. However, Dark says that it certainly is a possibility. If the house is indeed proved to have belonged to Christ, it is uncertain what impact, if any, the discovery will have upon Judeo-Christian traditions and the cultures that celebrate them. For more information: www.biblicalarchaeology.org Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons user Magnus Manske ]]>
Proof that the house belonged to Jesus? That will be even tougher than proving that he lived there…..the house would have belonged to Joseph, after all. Jesus wasn’t exactly a chip off the old block, hanging around for his dad’s money- and his “family values” included telling people to leave their families and follow him, as well as dishonoring his own mother…….