Mythicists: Did Nazareth Exist?

I am interrupting my thread on the relationship of Jesus to the Jewish law (I haven’t gotten very far: I’m still on Marcion!) because of what is most pressing on my mind right now, the debate I’m having this evening with Robert Price.  It is here in Milwaukee sponsored by a group called the Milwaukee Mythicists.  It’s a small group of people committed to, or (for some of them) at least attracted by, the idea that Jesus was not a ...

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Bethlehem and Nazareth in Luke: Where Was Jesus Really Born?

Yesterday I discussed Matthew’s account of how it is that Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, if in fact he “came” from Nazareth.  For Matthew it is because Joseph and Mary were originally from Bethlehem.  That was their home town.  And the place of Jesus’ birth.  Two or more years after his birth, they relocated to Nazareth in Galilee, over a hundred miles to the north, to get away from the rulers of Judea who were thought to be ...

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Bethlehem and Nazareth in Matthew

In my last post I showed why it is virtually certain that Jesus’ home town was Nazareth.   All of our sources agree that he was from there, and it is very hard to imagine why a Christian story teller would have made that up.    But now the question is whether that was also his place of birth.

The only two accounts we have of Jesus’ birth, Matthew and Luke, independently claim that even though he was raised in Nazareth, he was ...

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Was Jesus From Nazareth?

QUESTION:

Do you think Jesus was born in Nazareth? A few weeks ago I went to both Bethlehem and Nazareth. I always thought Jesus was born in Nazareth but most there focused on Bethlehem as Jesus’s birth place. Is there strong evidence for either?

 

RESPONSE

Yes, when you visit Israel today, or when you ask any Bible-believing Christian, or when you ask most any Christian, or most any other human being, you will hear that Jesus was born in ...

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More on the Name “Nazareth”

My post on the archaeological proof that Nazareth did in fact exist elicited a number of responses, some of them asking for more details – especially about whether the name of the town could have been invented by someone who thought Jesus was a “Nazirite.”  I actually deal with that question in my response to mythicists in my book Did Jesus Exist?   There I deal with the arguments of mythicists Frank Zindler and G.A. Wells.  Here is what ...

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Did Nazareth Exist?

One question I repeatedly get asked is about my opinion on whether the town of Nazareth actually existed.  I was puzzled when I started getting emails on this, some years ago now.  What I came to realize is that mythicists (i.e., those who think that there never was a man Jesus; he was invented, a “myth”) commonly argue that Nazareth (like Jesus) was completely made up.   I still get the emails today – a couple within the past month.   I ...

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Rene Salm at the SBL (2)

In my post yesterday I began to explain why René Salm’s claim that Nazareth did not exist in the days of Jesus is dead wrong and is rejected by every recognized authority – whether archaeologist, textual scholar, or historian; whether Jewish, Christian, agnostic, or other . Here is my second and final post on the subject, again, with apologies to those who have read it already, lifted from my treatment in Did Jesus Exist?

 

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Salm also claims that the pottery found ...

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Rene Salm at the Society of Biblical Literature Meeting

Several people have sent me private emails asking why René Salm was put on the program at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting, given the fact that he is not a scholar and has no credentials in the field. For those of you who don’t know, Salm has written a book claiming that Nazareth did not exist in the first century, so that Jesus couldn’t be there. He argues this in part because he doesn’t think Jesus existed and so ...

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Did Jesus Speak Greek?

Several of my recent posts have elicited comments from multiple participants (same comment, asked in a variety of ways). One of them had to do with the question of the language that Jesus would have spoken with Pontius Pilate during his trial. A number of people have asked “why not Greek”? The logic behind this question/solution is that Pilate as an educated Roman would have been fluent in Greek; and Jesus, living in “Galilee of the Gentiles,” where he ...

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Q & A with Ben Witherington: Part 6

Q. Mythicists seems to often uses the interpolation theory to explain away NT texts that are inconvenient to their agendas. Yet it is also true that some NT scholars use interpolation theories to the very same end, even when there is apparently no textual basis for the interpolation theory. Explain how the mythicists appeal to interpolation is special pleading, whereas it is not when some NT scholars resort to such a theory (take for example the case of 1 Cor. ...

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