Exciting stuff from FOX News:
Archaeologists working in Nazareth — Jesus’ hometown — in modern-day Israel have identified a house dating to the first century that was regarded as the place where Jesus was brought up by Mary and Joseph.
I had to read that confusing, equivocating sentence a few times — in context — to understand what it means. Follow along:
[The house] was first uncovered in the 1880s, by nuns at the Sisters of Nazareth convent, but it wasn’t until 2006 that archaeologists led by Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, dated the house to the first century, and identified it as the place where people, who lived centuries after Jesus’ time, believed Jesus was brought up.
Whether Jesus actually lived in the house in real life is unknown, but Dark says that it is possible.
“Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds,” Dark wrote in an article published in the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review. “On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted.”
It’s impossible to know whether Mark Twain once seduced opera singer Jenny Lind in the master bedroom of my 19th-century home. But neither should such a possibility be discounted. (Yeah, I totally made that up.)
Also, it’s impossible to confirm that, according to local lore, a stupendous treasure lies buried somewhere in the bay I live on. But neither can it be disproven.
You don’t need an archeology degree to join in. Anyone can play this game.
To be honest, I’m not doing Dark’s story complete justice; according to the archeologist, there are other nebulous clues, such as a type of pottery that Jews were known to favor, that may (or may not) point to Jesus having lived on the premises.
But come on: Only two ruined houses from the 1st century C.E. are known to exist in Nazareth. One of those just happens to be the Savior’s childhood home?
It looks for all the world as if Dark and his team, perhaps spurred on by media eager for a sensational story, worked backwards from a preconceived result.
If that’s true, I can understand it — up to a point. When, consciously or not, you have a picture of a unicorn in mind, and someone shows you a piece of paper with six or seven seemingly random dots, you just might see a unicorn-shaped pattern. But more dots are needed, and if, after they emerge, the image turns out to be a platypus, or a tree, or a hat, the media will yawn and find something else to cover. Funding may well dry up.
No matter: Good public relations does not equal good science; and wild speculation serves, at most, the former.
(Image via Shutterstock)