Magazine article The Christian Century

Unearthed Fishing Village May Be the Birthplace of Three of the Apostles

Magazine article The Christian Century

Unearthed Fishing Village May Be the Birthplace of Three of the Apostles

Article excerpt

Archaeologists excavating in northern Israel believe they may have discovered the biblical city of Bethsaida, the hometown of three of Jesus' apostles on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

For decades, archaeologists have searched for the fishing village where apostles Peter, Andrew, and Philip lived, according to the New Testament (John 1:44, 12:21). Three possible sites in the area had been identified, but the evidence was inconclusive.

This summer, however, during the second year of excavation, a team from Israel's Kinneret College discovered remnants of a Roman-era bathhouse, potsherds, and coins from the first to third centuries.

These findings are consistent with the chronicles of the first-century historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote that King Philip Herod transformed the small village of Bethsaida into a polis, or city state, called Julias.

"He didn't specify whether he built it directly on top of the village or nearby, but the presence of a Roman bathhouse says this was once an urban area," said Mordechai Aviam, head of the Institute of Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, and lead archaeologist for the excavation. …

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