Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary

By John J. Rousseau; Rami Arav | Go to book overview

Nain (Hebrew Naim)

Importance

According to Luke, Jesus revived a young man there. It is the southernmost point of his activity in Galilee as recorded in the Gospels.


Scripture Reference

Luke 7:11.


General Information

Mentioned only once in the gospels, Nain or Naim (“pleasant” in Hebrew) is located about five miles southeast of Nazareth; its present name is Nein. Its location on the northwest slope of “Little Hermon” (the Hill of Moreh of Judges 7:1) between Mts. Tabor and Gilboa is indeed pleasant. It overlooks the Kesulot plain with a view of Mt. Tabor and Nazareth. A small spring gushes at the outskirts of the village and pours its water into the Tebet Brook. In the first century C.E., Nain was a Jewish village located on the Via Maris between Legio and Tiberias, and on the route from Sepphoris to Scythopolis-Beth-Shean. During the Byzantine period, the village became the center of a district separate from Sepphoris and is mentioned in the list of George Cyprius. The Midrash reports it as a pleasant area; and Eusebius, Origen, and Jerome cite it in their works. In 1137 Peter the Deacon wrote, “In the village of Nain is the house of the widow whose son was brought back to life, which is now a church, and the burial place where they were going to lay him is still there to this day.” Some scholars have argued that this passage reproduces a lost section of Egeria’s Travels; if so, the testimony would date back to circa 383.


Archaeological Data

Archaeological surveys, which have been conducted on the site of Nain since the nineteenth century, have revealed remains of the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. During 1966–67, R. Arav excavated a tomb outside the village. The excavations revealed a typical Jewish cave tomb in use from the end of the first century B.C.E. to the end of the first century C.E. The finds enabled the excavator to identify those interred there, as well as the inhabitants of the village, as Jews.


Implications for Jesus Research

The presence of tombs dating from the first century C.E., provides a plausible background to the account of Jesus’ resuscitation of a young man at Nain.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Arav, R. “A Tomb in Naim.” Galilee Research Conference. Haifa: University of Haifa Press, 1989: 106–18.

Avi-Yonah, M. “Gazeteer of Roman Palestine.” Qedem 5 (1976).

Baldi, D. “Nain.” Enchiridion Locorum Sanctorum. Jerusalem: Franciscan Publishing House (1982).

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Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Map of Palestine Key v
  • Title Page ix
  • Contents xi
  • Foreword a Down-to-Earth Jesus xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • List of Abbreviations xx
  • List of Figures xxi
  • List of Tables xxiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Aenon and Salim 7
  • Agriculture, Cereals 8
  • Antonia, Pavement (Gabbatha, Lithostrotos) 12
  • Bethabara/Beth Araba/Bethany 14
  • Bethany 15
  • Bethlehem 16
  • Bethphage 18
  • Bethsaida 19
  • Boats 25
  • Caesarea Maritima 30
  • Caesarea Philippi (Banias) 33
  • Camps, Siege Banks 35
  • Cana 38
  • Capernaum (Capharnaum) [Hebrew, Kfar Nahum] 39
  • Cave of Letters 47
  • Chorazin 52
  • Coins and Money 55
  • Coins as Historical Documents 61
  • Construction, Cities 68
  • Crucifixion 74
  • Dead Sea Scrolls 78
  • Decapolis 85
  • Ephraim 87
  • Exorcism 88
  • Gadara, Kursi 97
  • Galilean Caves 99
  • Gamla, Gamala 100
  • Garden Tomb 104
  • Gennesareth (Hebrew, Ginosar) 109
  • Gethsemane 110
  • Golgotha, Traditional Site 112
  • Gospel of Thomas 118
  • Hebron 123
  • Herodium 124
  • Hippos/Susita 127
  • House 128
  • Jacob’s Well 131
  • Jericho 132
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s House 136
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s Tomb 139
  • Jerusalem, City of David, Ophel 142
  • Jerusalem, Gehenna, Akeldama 145
  • Jerusalem, Herodian 146
  • Jerusalem, Herod’s Palace 151
  • Jerusalem, Kidron 152
  • Jerusalem, Pool of Bethesda 155
  • Jerusalem, Streets and Stairs 161
  • Jerusalem, Tombs 164
  • Jerusalem, Upper City 169
  • Jerusalem, Upper Room 173
  • Jerusalem, Walls and Gates 175
  • Jerusalem, Water System 180
  • Jordan River, Fords 183
  • Judean Caves 185
  • Machaerus (Hebrew, Makhwar) 187
  • Magdala (Hebrew, Migdal; Aramaic, Migdal Nunya; Greek, Taricheae) 189
  • Magic, Miracles 190
  • Masada 195
  • Medicine, Physicians 199
  • Moses’ Seat 203
  • Mount Gerizim 206
  • Mount Hermon 208
  • Mount of Olives 210
  • Mount Tabor 212
  • Nain (Hebrew Naim) 213
  • Nazareth 214
  • Ointments, Perfumes 216
  • Olive Oil Industry 220
  • Pantera’s Tombstone 223
  • Pontius Pilate’s Stone 225
  • Pottery and Glass 227
  • Qumran 233
  • Ritual Baths (Miqvaoth) 236
  • Samaria, Samaritans 240
  • Sea of Galilee (Yam Kinneret) 245
  • Sepphoris (Hebrew, Zippori) 248
  • Shepherding 251
  • Slaves and Servants 253
  • Sodom and Gomorrah 257
  • Son of Man 259
  • Stone, Stoning 263
  • Sychar-Shechem 267
  • Synagogues 268
  • Tannery, Leather 273
  • Tax and Tax Collectors 275
  • Temple, History, Description 279
  • Temple, Royal Stoa 288
  • Temple, Sacrificial System 291
  • Temple, Service and Ritual 296
  • Temple, Solomon’s Portico 303
  • Temple, Stairs and Gates 304
  • Temple, Treasury 309
  • Temple, Trumpeting Place 311
  • Temple, Warning Signs 312
  • Textiles, Dyeing 313
  • Tiberias (Hebrew, Tveria) 316
  • Traditional Healing 318
  • Tunic without Seam, Dice 324
  • Tyre and Sidon 326
  • Viticulture 328
  • Weapons 332
  • Weights and Measures 336
  • Wood, Furniture 339
  • Tables 343
  • Historical Synopsis 357
  • Glossary 361
  • General Bibliography 365
  • Index of Scriptures Cited 369
  • Index of Early Jewish Writings Cited 379
  • Index of Ancient Writers Cited 382
  • Index of Names, Places, and Subjects 385
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