Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1022-1023 Nazareth Village


The best place to go to understand the Christmas story and how people lived in the first century is not Bethlehem but Nazareth. Sure Bethlehem gets all of the publicity, Christmas carols, etc. Up until recently all Nazareth got, in most tours to Israel, was one quick stop at the Church of the Annunciation. A quick look around and then it was on to Cana, or Sepphoris, or Tiberias, or Megiddo, or Capernaum — all important sites but Jesus actually lived in Nazareth for over a quarter century, most of his time on this earth.

So that’s why we’re talking about Nazareth Village on this special 2-part series for this year’s Christmas programming. It’s a unique archaeological site, for starters. And the community of Nazareth–Christian, Arab and Jew–has been involved in putting it together. There’s a lot to see there, although unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to visit it during any of our BOOK & THE SPADE tours because it’s so new. However, we have had archaeologist Stephen Pfann on the program, he’s done the archaeological work there. Recently I got an email newsletter from Nazareth Village and noticed that the new interim director, Shirley Roth, hails from Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a good sized state so I was quite surprised to learn that in fact she lives right here in Madison, the home town of THE BOOK & THE SPADE. Well at least until she moves back to Nazareth.

So we got together recently and recorded these two programs. There’s also a feature in THE CAPITAL TIMES about Nazareth Village that ran on December 22nd. Music on these programs comes from Barbara Gallagher’s beautiful CD, “Radiant Light.”

Meanwhile, back in Bethlehem, business is difficult but innovation is helping.

Merry Christmas everyone. Let us know you’re listening.

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