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Nazareth

Nazareth (See also wiki article Nazareth.)


NAZARETH - The place from which Jesus came (Mk.1.9), where He was reared (Lk.4.16), where his parents lived (Lk.1.26, 2.4) or settled (Mt.2.23), and with which His name was associated (see NAZARENE). It is described as 'in Galilee' (Mt.2.23). The name-form is variously written in the Greek MSS: Nazerath, Nazaret, and Nazara also occurring. The correct form philologically must have been Naserath - a formation similar to that of Daberath (Jos.19.12), The place is not mentioned in the OT or the Talmud or Josephus; the oldest allusions to it are those in the Gospels. Its insignificance is reflected in Nathanael's remark (Jn.1.46). The tenacious survival of the name in en-Nasira is noteworthy. That the Christians of Palestine should have lost sight of a town so prominently mentioned in the Gospels seems incredible, and so the tradition seeking it at en-Nasira is doubtless correct. The town seems to have been exclusively non-Christian until Constantine's time. Byzantine and Crusader structures here were later obliterated. The present Christian identification of holy places at Nazareth is mainly due to the Franciscan monks, who endured much persecution here at the hands of Islam. Christian interest has centred particularly on the Well of Mary as a point certain to have been frequented by Jesus' mother. However, it seems very probable that this spring was too remote from the ancient settlement, which probably lay farther south. The location of the synagogue in which Jesus preached (Lk.4.16) invites interest owing to the local description attending His ejection from the city (v.29). However, it cannot be said that traditional identifications of the site of the synagogue or of the 'brow of the hill' are satisfactory. The archaeology of Nazareth in the time of Christ awaits probing by the spade at various points where soundings are desirable and feasible. The place is so built up that this is difficult. It is now under Israeli control. Population: 20,000. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - E.G.K.]

NAZARENE, NAZORAEAN - So Jesus is called in the Greek text (Mk.1.24, 10.47, 14.67, 16.6, Lk.4.34, 24.19), for Nazarenos is evidently intended to mean 'the one from Nazareth,' as Magdalene (Jn.20.18) is 'the one from Magdala.' It is questionable, however, whether the form Nazoraios (used of Jesus in Mt.2.23 in connexion with the settlement of his parents at Nazareth, and in Mt.26.71, Lk.18.37, Jn.18.5, 7, 19.19, Ac.2.22, 3.6, 4.10, 6.14, 22.8, 26.9 and in the plural of Christians, Ac.24.5) is a variant of Nazarenos. Mt.2.23 vaguely alludes to prophecy; the Evangelist may have in mind the passage about the 'branch' (Is.11.1, Heb. neser). However, this is merely a reflection on the name. The possibility that Nazoraios was a sectarian name (a formation like Pharisaios = Pharisee) cannot be discounted. In the translations 'Nazarene' or 'of Nazareth' is used. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - E.G.K.]

See also Wikipedia article NAZARETH.