Capernaum

Capernaum in Wikipedia

Capernaum (pronounced /kəˈpɜrniəm/ kə-PUR-nee-əm; Hebrew: כְּפַר נַחוּם‎, Kfar Nahum, "Nahum's village") was a fishing village[1] inhabited from mid 2nd century BC to 11th century AD. It is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Gallilee[2] and had a population of about 1,500.[3] Recent excavations revealed that there were two synagogues in the village: the more recent was made of limestone and was built on top of the older, which was made of local black basalt. Only the foundation walls, some , and the cobblestone floor remain of the earlier structure. A church near Capernaum is said to be the home of Saint Peter. When Jesus left Nazareth he settled in Capernaum where he chose his first four disciples; James, John, Peter and Andrew. The town is cited in the Gospel of Luke where it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus. According to Luke 4:31-44, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum on Sabbath. Jesus then healed a man who had the spirit of an unclean devil and healed a fever in Simon Peter's mother-in-law. According to Gospel of Luke /Luke 7: 1-10, it is also the place where a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. A building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue. Josephus referred to Capernaum as a fertile spring. He stayed the night there after spraining his ankle. During the first Jewish revolt of 66-70 Capernaum was spared as it was never occupied by the Romans. Etymology Although Kfar Nahum, the original name of the small town, means "Nahum's village" in Hebrew, apparently there is no connection with the prophet named Nahum. In the writings of Josephus, the name is rendered in Greek as "Kαφαρναουμ (Kapharnaum)". In Arabic, it is called Talhum, and it is assumed that this refers to the ruin (Tell) of Hum (perhaps an abbreviated form of Nahum) (Tzaferis, 1989). [edit]History Drawing upon literary sources and the results of the excavations, it has been possible to reconstruct a part of the town's history. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the town was established in the second century BC during the Hasmonean period. The site had no defensive wall and extended along the shore of the nearby lake (from east to west). The cemetery zone is found 200 meters north of the synagogue, which places it beyond the inhabited area of the town. It extended 3 kilometers to Tabgha, an area which appears to have been used for agricultural purposes, judging by the many oil and grain mills which were discovered in the excavation. Fishing was also a source of income; the remains of another harbor were found to the west of that built by the Franciscans. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus selected this town as the center of his public ministry in the Galilee after he left the small mountainous hamlet of Nazareth (Matthew 4:12-17). Capernaum has no obvious advantages over any other city in the area, so he probably chose it because it was the home of his first disciples, Simon (Peter) and Andrew. The Gospel of John suggests that Jesus' ministry was centered in a village called Cana. No sources have been found for the belief that Capernaum was involved in the bloody Jewish revolts against the Romans, the First Jewish-Roman War (AD 66–73) or Bar Kokhba's revolt (132–135), although there is reason to believe that Josephus, one of the Jewish generals during the earlier revolt, was taken to Capernaum (which he called "Kapharnakos") after a fall from his horse in nearby Bethsaida (Josephus, Vita, 72)...

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Capernaum in Wikipedia

Capernaum (pronounced /kəˈpɜrniəm/ kə-PUR-nee-əm; Hebrew: כְּפַר נַחוּם‎, Kfar Nahum, "Nahum's village") was a fishing village[1] inhabited from mid 2nd century BC to 11th century AD. It is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Gallilee[2] and had a population of about 1,500.[3] Recent excavations revealed that there were two synagogues in the village: the more recent was made of limestone and was built on top of the older, which was made of local black basalt. Only the foundation walls, some columns, and the cobblestone floor remain of the earlier structure. A church near Capernaum is said to be the home of Saint Peter. When Jesus left Nazareth he settled in Capernaum where he chose his first four disciples; James, John, Peter and Andrew. The town is cited in the Gospel of Luke where it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus. According to Luke 4:31-44, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum on Sabbath. Jesus then healed a man who had the spirit of an unclean devil and healed a fever in Simon Peter's mother-in-law. According to Gospel of Luke /Luke 7: 1-10, it is also the place where a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. A building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue. Josephus referred to Capernaum as a fertile spring. He stayed the night there after spraining his ankle. During the first Jewish revolt of 66-70 Capernaum was spared as it was never occupied by the Romans. Etymology. Although Kfar Nahum, the original name of the small town, means "Nahum's village" in Hebrew, apparently there is no connection with the prophet named Nahum. In the writings of Josephus, the name is rendered in Greek as "Kαφαρναουμ (Kapharnaum)". In Arabic, it is called Talhum, and it is assumed that this refers to the ruin (Tell) of Hum (perhaps an abbreviated form of Nahum) (Tzaferis, 1989).

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Ancient History of Capernaum

History Drawing upon literary sources and the results of the excavations, it has been possible to reconstruct a part of the town's history. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the town was established in the second century BC during the Hasmonean period. The site had no defensive wall and extended along the shore of the nearby lake (from east to west). The cemetery zone is found 200 meters north of the synagogue, which places it beyond the inhabited area of the town. It extended 3 kilometers to Tabgha, an area which appears to have been used for agricultural purposes, judging by the many oil and grain mills which were discovered in the excavation. Fishing was also a source of income; the remains of another harbor were found to the west of that built by the Franciscans. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus selected this town as the center of his public ministry in the Galilee after he left the small mountainous hamlet of Nazareth (Matthew 4:12-17). Capernaum has no obvious advantages over any other city in the area, so he probably chose it because it was the home of his first disciples, Simon (Peter) and Andrew. The Gospel of John suggests that Jesus' ministry was centered in a village called Cana. No sources have been found for the belief that Capernaum was involved in the bloody Jewish revolts against the Romans, the First Jewish-Roman War (AD 66–73) or Bar Kokhba's revolt (132–135), although there is reason to believe that Josephus, one of the Jewish generals during the earlier revolt, was taken to Capernaum (which he called "Kapharnakos") after a fall from his horse in nearby Bethsaida (Josephus, Vita, 72). [Wikipedia]

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Capernaum Archaeology and Excavations

Discovery and excavation In 1838, the American explorer, Edward Robinson discovered the ruins of the ancient Capernaum. In 1866, British Captain Charles William Wilson identified the remains of the synagogue, and in 1894, Franciscan Friar Giuseppe Baldi of Naples, the Custodian of the Holy Land, was able to recover a good part of the ruins from the Bedouins. The Franciscans raised a fence to protect the ruins from frequent vandalism, and planted palms and eucalyptus trees brought from Australia to create a small oasis for pilgrims. They also built a small harbor. These considerable labors were directed by the Franciscan Virgilio Corbo. The most important excavations began in 1905 under the direction of the Germans Heinrich Kohl and Carl Watzinger. They were continued by the Franciscans Fathers Vendelin von Benden (1905–1915) and Gaudenzio Orfali (1921–1926). The excavations resulted in the discovery of two public buildings, the synagogue (which was partially restored by Fr Orfali), and an octagonal church. Later, in 1968, excavation of the western portion of the site-the portion owned by the Franciscans-was restarted by Corbo and Stanislao Loffreda, with the financial assistance of the Italian government. During this phase, the major discovery was of a house which is claimed to be St. Peter's house, in a neighborhood of the town from the First Century AD. These excavations have been ongoing, with some publication on the Internet as recently as 2003.[4] The excavations revealed that the site was established at the beginning of the Hasmonean Dynasty, roughly in the second century BC, and was abandoned in the 11th century AD. The eastern half of the site-the portion owned by an Orthodox monastery-has also been surveyed and partially excavated under the direction of Vasilios Tzaferis. This section has uncovered the village from the Byzantine and Arab periods. Features include a pool apparently used for the processing of fish and a hoard of gold coins. (Tzaferis, 1989). [Wikipedia]

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House of Peter at Capernaum

One block of homes, called by the Franciscan excavators the sacra insula or "holy insula" ("insula" refers to a block of homes around a courtyard) was found to have a complex history. Located between the synagogue and the lakeshore, it was found near the front of a labyrinth of houses from many different periods. Three principal layers have been identified: 1.A group of private houses built around the first century BC which remained in use until the early fourth century AD. 2.The great transformation of one of the homes in the fourth century AD. 3.The octagonal church in the middle of the fifth century AD. The excavators concluded that one house in the village was venerated as the house of Peter the fisherman as early as the mid-first century AD, with two churches having been constructed over it (Lofreda, 1984). [edit] First century AD The city's basalt houses are grouped around two large courtyards, one to the north and the other to the south. One large room in particular, near the east side and joining both courtyards, was especially large (sides about 7.5 meters long) and roughly square. An open space on the eastern side contained a brick oven. A threshold which allowed crossing between the two courtyards remains well-preserved to this day. Beginning in the latter half of the first century AD, this house displayed markedly different characteristics than the other excavated houses. The rough walls were reworked with care and were covered with inscriptions; the floor was covered with a fine layer of plaster. Furthermore, almost no domestic ceramics are recovered, but lamps abound. One explanation suggested for this treatment is that the room was venerated as a religious gathering place, a domus-ecclesia or house church, for the Christian community. (Loffreda, 1984) This suggestion has been critiqued by several scholars, however. In particular, where excavators had claimed to find graffiti including the name of Peter, others have found very little legible writing (Strange and Shanks, 1982). Others have questioned whether the space is actually a room; the paved floor, the large space without supports, and the presence of a cooking space have prompted some to note that these are more consistent with yet another courtyard (Freyne, 2001). [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Synagogue at Capernaum

Synagogue ruins of this building, among the Oldest synagogues in the world were identified by Charles William Wilson. The large, ornately carved, white building stones of the synagogue stood out prominently among the smaller, plain blocks of local black basalt used for the towns other buildings, almost all residential. The synagogue was built almost entirely of white blocks of calcareous stone brought from distant quarries. The building consists of four parts: the praying hall, the western patio, a southern balustrade and a small room at the northwest of the building. The praying hall measured 24.40 ms by 18.65 m, with the southern face looking toward Jerusalem. The internal walls were covered with painted plaster and superbly well-done stucco work found during the excavations. Watzinger, like Orfali, believed that there had been an upper floor reserved for women, with access by means of an external staircase located in the small room. But this opinion was not substantiated by the later excavations of the site. The synagogue appears to have been built around the fourth or fifth century AD. Beneath the foundation of this synagogue lies another foundation made of basalt, and Loffreda suggests that this is the foundation of a synagogue from the first century AD, perhaps the one mentioned in the Gospels (Loffreda, 1974). This, too, has been open for debate. Later excavation work was attempted underneath the synagogue floor, but while Loffreda claimed to have found a paved surface, others are of the opinion that this was an open, paved market area. [1] The ancient synagogue still has two inscriptions, one in Greek and the other in Aramaic, that remember the benefactors that helped in the construction of the building. There are also carvings of five- and six-pointed stars and of palm trees. In 1926, the Franciscan Orfali began the restoration of the synagogue. After his death, this work was continued by Virgilio Corbo beginning in 1976. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Fishing Boat at Capernaum

Fishing vessel. In 1986 the water of the lake reached an unusually low point. At that time, an ancient fishing boat was discovered that has been claimed to date from the first century AD[5]. The vessel was 8 meters long and was preserved in the mud of the lake. After a difficult unearthing process that had to be completed before the water rose again, the excavated boat was put on display in its modern-day position near the kibbutz Ginosar as The Sea of Galilee Boat. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Olive Press at Capernaum

Image of a Roman-era olive mill in the ruins of ancient Capernaum. [Wiki Image]

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