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    Posts: 752
  • Darwins +106/-5

Ah, ok, simple enough.  Narateth did not exist before 70ad.  What else do you want?
Do you have evidence it did?
C’mon, Nick. You’re not adding to your credibility. We’ve been here. Catch up to our conversation and then we can start.

There is archaeological evidence of human settlement near modern Nazareth dating all the way back to the pre-historic era. There is evidence for a significant bronze and iron age settlement which was destroyed in 720BC. After that the record becomes patchy and outside the Christian sources the only mention of a settlement at Nazareth occurs in the 2-3rd C AD (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazareth). Having said that, modern Nazareth sits in a fertile a river valley thus the claim that there was no habitation at all in the time of Jesus is a bit of a stretch.

In terms of the Christian sources the association of Jesus with the title Nazarene has good pedigree. It occurs in all the Gospels (including the very early Mark – c.30-60AD) and many of the non-canonical Christian texts.

It could be argued that the Gospel authors did have some motive for making the title of Nazarene up. In Matt 22:22-23 it is implied that Jesus coming from Nazareth fulfilled prophecy, and many of the most dubious stories of Jesus which are likely later elaborations of the emerging cult of Jesus (the birth narrative; the triumphal entry etc…) seem to be included in order to fit OT messiah prophecy. However despite Matthew’s assertion that Jesus coming from Nazareth fulfilled prophecy there is no mention of Nazareth in the OT at all. This would imply that rather than making up the fact Jesus was from Nazareth Matthew is actually making up the fact that this was in accordance with prophecy!

My own view is that the title of Nazarene is likely authentic; there are many better places for the Messiah to have been born than some little known and unimportant village with, at best, a small population. If the Gospel writers were going to make up a birth place they would almost certainly have picked out Jerusalem or Bethlehem (as later stories of the virgin birth, in fact, do!) which would have latched onto OT messiah prophecy. If the title of Nazarene is a fictional one, I struggle to find a motive for its inclusion in the Gospels.
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