Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found?

Jesus’ home in Nazareth

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2015. It has been updated.—Ed.


 
house-nazareth

This very well could be the childhood home of Jesus. It doesn’t look inviting, but this rock-hewn courtyard house was quite likely Jesus’ home in Nazareth. The recent excavation by Ken Dark and the Nazareth Archaeological Project revealed evidence suggesting this is where Jesus was raised—or at the least the place venerated as such by the Byzantine period. Photo: Ken Dark.

The childhood home of Jesus may have been found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, according to archaeologist Ken Dark.

The excavation site located beneath the convent has been known since 1880, but it was never professionally excavated until the Nazareth Archaeological Project began its work in 2006. In “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR, Ken Dark, the director of the Nazareth Archaeological Project, not only describes the remains of the home itself, but explores the evidence that suggests that this is the place where Jesus spent his formative years—or at least the place regarded in the Byzantine period as the childhood home of Jesus.

The excavation revealed a first-century “courtyard house” that was partially hewn from naturally occurring rock and partially constructed with rock-built walls. Many of the home’s original features are still intact, including doors and windows. Also found at the site were tombs, a cistern and, later, a Byzantine church.
 


 
The Galilee is one of the most evocative locales in the New Testament—the area where Jesus was raised and where many of the Apostles came from. Our free eBook The Galilee Jesus Knew focuses on several aspects of Galilee: how Jewish the area was in Jesus’ time, the ports and the fishing industry that were so central to the region, and several sites where Jesus likely stayed and preached.
 

 
The remains combined with the description found in the seventh-century pilgrim account De Locus Sanctis point to the courtyard house found beneath the convent as what may have been regarded as Jesus’ home in Nazareth. Archaeological and geographical evidence from the Church of the Annunciation, the International Marion Center and Mary’s Well come together to suggest that this location may be where Jesus transitioned from boy to man.

Ken Dark also discusses the relationship between the childhood home of Jesus, Nazareth and the important site of Sepphoris. It has been thought that Sepphoris would have provided Joseph with work and Jesus many important cultural experiences. However, Ken Dark believes that Nazareth was a larger town than traditionally understood and was particularly Jewish in its identity—as opposed to the Roman-influenced Sepphoris. This is partially based on the result of his survey of the Nahal Zippori region that separates Sepphoris and Nazareth geographically.

For more on the childhood home of Jesus, read the full article “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” by Ken Dark in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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BAS Library Members: Read the full article “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” by Ken Dark in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.
 


 
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on March 2, 2015.
 

 
Is it possible to identify the first-century man named Jesus behind the many stories and traditions about him that developed over 2,000 years in the Gospels and church teachings? Visit the Jesus/Historical Jesus study page to read free articles on Jesus in Bible History Daily.
 

 

Related reading in the BAS Library:

Steve Mason, “Where Was Jesus Born?: O Little Town of…Nazareth?” Bible Review, February 2000.

Philip J. King, “Biblical Views: Jesus’ Birthplace and Jesus’ Home,” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2014.

Eric M. Meyers, “The Pools of Sepphoris: Ritual Baths or Bathtubs? Yes, They Are,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2000.

Mark Chancey and Eric M. Meyers, “Spotlight on Sepphoris: How Jewish Was Sepphoris in Jesus’ Time?” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2000.

Zeev Weiss, “The Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic,” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2000.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.
 


 
Which finds made our top 10 Biblical archaeology discoveries of 2015? Find out >>
 

 

Posted in Biblical Archaeology Sites, Jesus/Historical Jesus.

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  • Andrew says

    It’s hard to find the home of a fictional character. What’s next, the home of Harry Potter?

  • David says

    All of the Bible quoting proves nothing; the odds of this house belonging to a particular person are exceedingly small.
    As well as, since it was cut out of rock, a wealthy family owned it, and my impression is that this was not a wealthy family, or we wouldn’t have the Bethlehem story. If Joseph were rich, he wouldn’t have had any problem finding a room and midwife.
    As to Mary being a virgin all her life, that sounds to me like something the RCC came up with to make people believe in her eternal purity. But it would not have been normative for that day. People would have looked askance if she had no further children.

  • Robin says

    For Ilan, Christina, Krystof….etc……a Jesus Slept Here sign would do no good. The name was too common for that era. Thus the need for “Jesus OF Nazareth” to distinguish Him from Jesus of Podunk…….But finding remains of dwelling sites, early church sites, olive presses. and other items from first-century A.D era suits as well. As for “every dive” having been named by Josephus, I think Ilan overstates a bit. The town of Nazareth was known up to Roman times when some resettlement occurred in the area…..and these other items — olive presses would be a sign of industry — show the area had settlement including the houses, the well site, etc…..As for “Jesus of Nazareth” — whether of or from, either way. And yes, Krystof, He was Galilean…….

  • Krzysztof says

    Maybe. Hm, at least Jesus from Nazareth (Mark 1:9)or not (why was he called “from Nazareth”) was for sure a Galilean (John 7: 41, 52) who was born with the “rebellion with the mother’s blood” (Josephus on Galileans)

  • ilan says

    First the scholars word was that Nazareth, not having been mentioned by Josehpus and other historians of the period, despite every single town and dive in the Galilee being mentioned leads them to think that there was no Nazareth at the time Jesus was born.

    Now out of nowhere, this town, called Nazareth. Possibly another town renamed or a new town built later but given the name Nazareth. And with a Jesus Slept Here Sign as well.

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