Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


November 20, 2012

Now cometh the season

Greensburg — Probably like many of you, I’ve been thinking about the holiday season which is rapidly approaching.

I thought about a trip I made a few years ago to Israel to see some of the major archaeological sites. Here are some things I found most interesting. Archaeological excavations in and around the Galilee indicates that the average Jewish male of Jesus’ day stood 5’ 6” inches tall and weighed about 140 pounds.

Joseph’s hometown was Nazareth. Archaeological excavations a few years ago revealed that Nazareth in Jesus’ day was an agricultural settlement with numerous wine presses, olive presses, caves for storing grain and cisterns for storing water and wine. None are mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, or the Talmud.

Nazareth in Jesus’ day had a population of less than 500. It is located about five miles south of the little picturesque village of Cana in the southern end of the hills of Galilee where Jesus performed his first miracle: turning water to wine during a wedding feast. Nathaniel’s remark in John’s Gospel, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” is an indication of Nazareth’s comparative unimportance.

Joseph, Mary’s husband, was about 30-years-old when he met the virgin Mary. Mary was about 13. Most biblical scholars believe that Mary called Sepphoris her home town. The ancient city was home to Anna and Joachim, Mary’s parents. Sepphoris was located about three miles northwest of Nazareth. Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, called Sepphoris “the ornament of all Galilee.”

Sepphoris was the largest city in Galilee. Herod the Great took the city during a blinding snowstorm in 37 B.C.

After his death in 4 B.C., the brutal Roman general Varus burned Sepphoris and sold its inhabitants into slavery. At the time Sepphoris was virtually entirely Jewish. Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, made it the capital of his government. Following his father’s death. Antipas immediately sent out word that he was rebuilding the city.

Most likely Joseph and Jesus, living in nearby Nazareth, found work in Sepphoris, perhaps working on a theater during the building boom. Archaeologists from the University of Michigan as well as later archaeologists from the University of South Florida, unearthed Hasmonian coins while digging around the stage, leading them to date the theater’s construction to the time of Antipas.

Jesus was certainly familiar with, and used, theatrical terms such as “hypocrite” (someone like a stage actor who puts on a false appearance by using masks), for example.   

Until the eviction of its inhabitants by Israeli forces in 1948-1949 Sepphoris was an Arab village. In 2002 Sepphoris had a population of 616.

Ben Morris, MA, RPA is an archaeological and historical columnist for the Daily News. He can be reached at 812-932-0298 or

Text Only
  • Five Decades of 'Progress “Political polarization,” “divided government” and “Washington gridlock” have been on the rise for the last 15 years. Public calls for compromise and de-emphasis on centralized government stand out in public opinion polls; yet, nothing changes, and t

    July 31, 2014

  • Governor Pence addresses President regarding unaccompanied children Dear President Obama,I am writing to express my profound concern about the federal government’s mishandling of the present crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the nation’s Southern border by the tens of thousands. The federal government has not

    July 31, 2014

  • Now why didn't I think of that? According to the dictionary definition, repurpose means “ to change or adapt something so it can be used for a purpose other than its original intent.” As one of the many who spend their free time “repurposing,” I like to think of it as bringing new

    July 31, 2014

  • Getting on with the program Now that the fair has been written in the history book, it’s time to get on to more Extension Homemaker News. But first, I would like to extend thanks to Eileen Fisse for the wonderful job she did for the Open Class exhibits. The building looked nice

    July 30, 2014

  • Pat Smith: An actor's life Chances are that Ben Tebbe would have been successful anyhow but it’s refreshing that he remembers who gave him a chance. No doubt, Karen (Clemenson) Hoak would have been proud of what he has accomplished since she gave him a part in a Tree County Pl

    July 30, 2014

  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Nature’s BountyOur daughters were raised in the country and definitely couldn’t be considered “citified” children. Not with Dad around! From the time I was a little boy, I learned there are a lot of good things coming from the wild, and I set about e

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word?Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which th

    July 29, 2014

  • 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress for national security failures INDIANAPOLIS – Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous. A co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Rising up to meet Putin's thuggery BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my pa

    July 29, 2014

  • Pat Smith: A reader's special note Before beginning this week’s column it must be stressed that I love getting emails from readers, love getting telephone calls from readers and love seeing readers when I’m out and about – especially those who very generously tell me that they read th

    July 24, 2014