How Was A Crucifixion Performed?

Nail through a heel bone contrasted with the usual depiction of a crucified victim's feet.

(Warning to readers: This article discusses subject matter which is necessarily unpleasant.)

Crucifixion is the most famous method of execution in history. Yet what was crucifixion exactly? How was it performed? Two archeological finds (one very recent) as well as contemporary historical accounts will illuminate the matter.

The Romans did not invent crucifixion. It seems they adopted a practise that was common in Persia. The Phoneticians were known to execute prisoners using crucifixion. Continue reading

Site of Capernaum in 1894

What Archeology Has Revealed About Capernaum, Jesus’ “Own City”

(This is the second of three articles on the ancient city of Capernaum, Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1). The first article examined the question of why Jesus choose Capernaum as his base of operations for the first part of his ministry. This article and the next will explore the fascinating results of over 100 years of archeological investigation into the ancient city.)

In 1894 when the Franciscan friars who purchased the site of ancient Capernaum walked through their new property, evidence of former habitation was everywhere (See photo above). Right up until the purchase, the Bedouin people had set their tents among the ruins. The remains of white limestone columns and elaborate Corinthian capitals gave silent testimony that a monumental structure had once stood there. But what structure? Would it prove to be a building known from the 4 Gospel books? In fact, it would! Continue reading

The site of ancient Capernaum

Why did Jesus move to Capernaum?

(This is the first of three articles on Capernaum, Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1). The first article will delve into Jesus’ possible connections to the city as well as the reasons why he left his residence in Nazareth to move there. The next two articles will examine what exciting things modern archeology has revealed about this most significant city in Jesus’ life and ministry.)

On a gentle hillside on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee stood the ancient city of Capernaum. The city was of modest size (by some estimates it’s first century population was between 1500 to 3000) and it did not survive down to modern times. Yet for a brief moment in the first century, this humble fishing community was the centre of the world. Continue reading

The “Jesus Boat”

Top Photo: Zachi Evenor (CC BY-SA 3.0) Wikimedia Commons. Other photo’s by author.

Post 31 – As many as 7 of Jesus 12 apostles were fishermen who plied their trade on the Sea of Galilee. Many of the most memorable accounts in the 4 gospel books take place on or near that body of water. The Sea of Galilee, is actually a freshwater lake about 21 km long and 13 km wide (it is also called “the Lake of Gennesaret” at Luke 5:1).  The lake is fed by the underground springs but primarily by the upper Jordan River, whose headwaters are found in Mount Hermon (the Golan Heights). The lake is the one significant body of water that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan all rely on for fresh water and agriculture.

By the winter of 1986, Israel, already a dry country, had experienced several years of drought. The drought had drastically dropped the water level and as a consequence, the shoreline had receded further than any local fisherman could remember. Two fishermen Continue reading