Steven Avery wrote:
When my friend Kevin Kleutz studied and found the two sites, one of which is likely the real Nazareth, there was no interest in the skeptic stuff. Which mostly came later, as a public brouhaha. There was a concern that Luke, the precision historian, had written very specifically:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up:
and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day,
and stood up for to read.
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city,
and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built,
that they might cast him down headlong.
And there was simply no way to reconcile this with the 4th century Helena identity of Nazareth.
Hello Steve, interesting suggestion that the NT Nazareth lies under Nitai. I can't comment on that. Is this conclusion the result of an argument like the following?
1. Luke describes Nazareth as being a "city" in Galilee on the brow of a hill
2. Nitai is a location in Galilee on the brow of a hill
3. therefore Nitai is likely to be the ancient Nazareth
ficino wrote:I note that Matthew's and Luke's use of the word πόλις to designate Jesus' home town is hard to square with attempts of Christian apologists to account for the paucity of evidence by saying that Nazareth was "just a bump on the road."
The word πόλις (polis), is used by Luke for Bethlehem, Capernum, Nain, Gadara, Bethsaida, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Arimethea, in Acts Damascus, Joppa, Lystra and Derbe, Philippi, Thyatira, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Tyre, Tarsus and Lasea.
κώμη kōmē is used by Luke for Bethany (10:38) and Emmaus.
"Josephus uses πόλις and κώμη almost interchangeably"
Considering the wide range of size of πόλις, and its dominance in specifying specific locales, I do not see any difficulty. The unusual situation is to refer to a specific town as κώμη.
I'm sure we're both aware that under Roman rule, a municipality could have legal "polis" status conferred upon it. For the NT writers we're talking about "polis" as a colloquial, not a legal, designation. I think we should resist the argument that: 1) 1st century koine used "polis" and "kwme" almost interchangeably, and therefore 2) a "bump on the road" can be called a "polis".
Back in January I did a word study of places in the NT called πόλις and also tried to contrast that usage with κώμη. FWIW I got slightly different results for "polis" in Luke/Acts from what you offer above: Luke: add "city of David" Acts: add Caesarea, Iconium, Nea Polis, and Pisidian Antioch. Also FWIW, Wikipedia says there is no record of the existence of Arimathea other than the NT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arimathea
). Tscherikover writes that it may have been a dependency of Jerusalem, but if so, it could not be a "polis." ("Was Jerusalem a 'Polis'? V. A. TCHERIKOVER, Israel Exploration Journal
Vol. 14, No. 1/2 (1964), pp. 61-78) Tscherikover here is concerned with legal "polis" status, though.
Leaving out Nazareth as the place under discussion, I'd offer Nain as a puzzle. One might get away with contending that Nain was both a "bump on the road" and a "polis." Its gate is mentioned in Luke 7:11-12. What I've read suggests it was so small as not to have walls. So we're faced with the familiar situation in the NT, whether we should say that the author doesn't know Palestinian geography or that he does know the geography and chooses to employ a word under a different meaning than its normal meaning. E.e. that "gate" at Nain doesn't designate a gate but "probably the opening between the houses by which the road entered the town," W. Ewing in ISBE quoted at:
It's easy to make up stuff and call it "probable." But what do I know? I wasn't there. I am skeptical.
Anyway, it's hard to square the "bump in the road" theory about 1st cent. Nazareth as a "polis" with Josephus' statement that in Galilee, even the smallest κώμη had more than 15,000 inhabitants (BJ 3.43). Τhe referent of τὴν ἐλαχίστην is τῶν κωμιῶν.
Then there's Luke's apparent conceptual distinction between "polis" and "kwme", reflected at 13:22 "cities and villages", 8:1 "city and village" 9:12 villages and fields. One might say that Luke does the old "doubling" thing that we find in psalms and prophets, but that would seem a stretch. Going around to the "cities and villages" pretty clearly has to refer to travel to municipalities big and small.
All this perhaps is relevant to the question, is Luke inerrant, and not to the question, was Nazareth a municipality/settlement at the time of Jesus.
I could write more but have to get breakfast ready! Thanks for seeking to push the ball further downfield.