Jesus’ home discovered in Nazareth?
HOLY LAND – “The rubbles of a stone dwelling were updated and analyzed in Nazareth. A British archaeologist confirms that it would be the home where Mary and Joseph raised Christ.” The article published by Figaro on Wednesday 10 March stirred the web. Fr. Frederic Manns, ofm, cites on his blog the history of archaeological research carried out in Nazareth, calling “to keep one’s critical sense and nerves cool”.
Dr. Ken Dark, British archaeologist of Reading University, revealed in an interview granted to the Biblical Archaeology Review, his discovery of a stone and concrete-built house dating back to the first century.
Parts of the soil, an entrance and remnants of dishes were found almost intact reflecting signs of life within a Jewish family. The decorations of Byzantine mosaics would be a sign of importance granted to this site. And if there is no archaeological evidence that it is the home of Jesus, the archaeologist points out that “there is no reason to discard this thesis”.
A thesis which has immediately brought about a chain of reactions. Fr Frederic Manns, a Franciscan, writes in his blog the history of archaeological excavations carried out in the village of Nazareth, urging to “keep one’s critical sense and nerves cool” when “sensational discoveries” come up. The Sisters of Nazareth, present in their Convent courtyard, since the end of the XIXth century, the tomb of St Joseph, Roman tomb with a round stone blocking the entrance. Dr. Ken Dark brought up in 2006 the results of excavations dating back to 1936, by a Jesuit, Fr Henri Sénès on archaeological remains at the Sisters’ courtyard, the results of which were never published. The archaeologist Dr. Dark talks about objects that were found, especially teapots of Byzantine mosaic. Fr. Manns says that the discovery of the remains of Crusader and Byzantine churches over two Roman tombs above a structure, would possibly be that of a house, does not allow “to think that it could be the home where Jesus was raised”.
Other excavations carried out in 2009 led to the discovery of cisterns and central courtyard beneath the International Center Mary of Nazareth. According to Fr. Frederic Manns, the issue comes from the location of the village of Nazareth at the time of Jesus: it would not lie between the house of Mary and the Fountain, as Fr. Bagatti had suggested in his study. According to the latter, the first century village would lie in part beneath the present souq.
Talking again about archaeological discoveries, such as the Lithostrotos at Ecce Homo Convent (which dates to the times of Hadrian and not to the time of Jesus as thought for a longtime), Fr. Manns concludes by saying: “Fortunately Christian Faith is not founded on stones, but on one person.”
Eva Maurer Morio