A United Kingdom archaeologist says the remains of a first-century house in Nazareth, Israel, could have been the home of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
What is left of house can be found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth convent in central Nazareth, Israel. It is located near the famous Church of the Annunciation, the spot where many Christians believe the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would give birth to the Saviour of mankind.
Ken Dark, a professor of archaeology and history at the University of Reading, told the BBC there is a “strong case to be made” that the site was the home in which Jesus was raised.
Professor Ken has spent 14 years studying the remains of the 1st century dwelling beneath a modern-day convent.
He began researching the site in 2006 and wrote about his findings in a new book, The Sisters of Nazareth Convent: A Roman-period, Byzantine, and Crusader site in central Nazareth.
The dwelling dates to the 1st century, he says. The building was carved into a rocky hillside and whoever built the house had excellent knowledge of stone-working, the sort of thing expected of someone who would have been called a ‘tekton’, the ancient word for craftsman that was used to refer to Joseph in the bible.
“I didn’t go to Nazareth to find the house of Jesus, I was actually doing a study of the city’s history as a Byzantine Christian pilgrimage centre,” he told the BBC. “Nobody could have been more surprised than me.”
Whoever built the house, would have had excellent knowledge of stone-working. The Bible, in Greek, calls Joseph a “tekton,” which means “craftsman” or “builder.”
“We know from written evidence this church was believed in the Byzantine period to have been built on the site of Jesus’ home and the dwelling preserved in its crypt,” the professor told the BBC. “It’s almost certainly the Church of the Nutrition, which was dedicated to the upbringing of Christ and mentioned in a Seventh Century pilgrim’s account.”
The archaeologist said, “this is about as close as we will probably ever get to being able to say it was the home of Jesus”.
(Picture Caption: The entrance to a 1st-century home, located under the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, believed by archaeologist Professor Ken Dark to be the boyhood home of Jesus Christ)
Picture courtesy: University of Reading)