Exciting news: Archeologists have discovered the remains of first-century house in Nazareth from the time of Jesus's boyhood. While there's no way of telling whether it's "Jesus's Home," as The New York Post, with its typical ridiculousness, reported today, the find will help to shed light on daily life in Nazareth around Jesus's time, and therefore, his daily life. Previously the only other artifacts found in Nazareth from this era were burial caves nearby. Scholars have concluded that the home is of a relatively "simple" family (or perhaps extended family) in Nazareth (a town of only about 50 houses, according to experts) who were clearly Jewish, judging from the remains of clay and chalk vessels, used to ensure the purity of the food and water. The report in Ha'aretz, includes several photos. And above is a video report from the Associated Press.
The release of the findings just a few days before Christmas seems somewhat, um, well timed, but reports say that the site was discovered this summer, and only this month did it become apparent that the house dated from the time of Jesus. I've always wondered why some Christians find the search for the "historical Jesus" so uninteresting, even threatening. For me, it's absolutely fascinating. Thus my enthusiasm for books like John Meier's magisterial A Marginal Jew(the granddaddy of the genre, with everything about his life and times that you might wish to know, and now approaching five volumes), Albert Nolan's provocative Jesus Before Christianity and Daniel J. Harrington's judicious Jesus: A Historical Portrait. Any information that adds to our knowledge of the early life and the "hidden life" (between ages 12 and 30, unaccounted for in the Gospels) will help us better understand Jesus of Nazareth, his life, his time and his teachings better. Why would you not want to know as much about Jesus of Nazareth as possible?