* 4 cent. Syn.
* 1 cent. Syn.
* Domus Eccl.
* 2000 - 2003
* The House
* Pictures 1
* Pictures 2
* Pictures 3
* Pictures 4
THE VILLAGE - inhabitants
St. Epiphanius informs us that until the fourth century A.D. the population of Capharnaum was entirely Jewish: "This praxis, forbidding any one of a different race to live among them (i. e. among the Jews) is particularly followed in Tiberias, in Diocaesarea (i. e. Sepphoris), in Nazareth and in Capharnaum". On the other hand, some passages of the Mishna stress that the Jewish population of Capharnaum during the first three centuries of the Christian era formed two distinct and antagonistic blocks: Orthodox Jews, and Minim or heretics. From the context it is clear that those Minim of Capharnaum were Jews converted to Christianity, i. e. Jewish-Christians.
The Boat - a contemporary fishing boat recovered from the lake
Already before the second Jewish Revolt of 135 A.D. this Jewish-Christian
community of Capharnaum had reached even the high sphere of Orthodox Judaism by
converting to the sect rabbi Hanina, the nephew of the famous rabbi Jehoshua.
"Hanina, son of the brother of Jehoshua, came to Kephar Nahum, and the Minim
worked a spell on him, and set him riding on a ass on the Sabbath. He came to
Jehoshua his friend, and he put ointment on him and he was healed. He (R.
Jehoshua) said to him: Since the ass of that wicked one (i. e. Jesus) has
roused itself against thee, thou canst no longer remain in the land of Israel.
He departed thence to Babel, and he died there in peace" (Midrash Qoh Rabba
A bowl with a stamped cross unearthed at Capharnaum
In the early seventh century many houses were abandoned and left to ruin,
suggesting that the old population of Capharnaum, i.e. Jews and Christians
alike, left the site. The fact that in the early Arab period both the synagogue
and the octagonal church were abandoned seems to suggest that the newcomers
were predominantly Moslems.
© copyright 2001. Text written by Fr. Stanislao Loffreda ofm. Reproduction, retrieval or redistribution of this material is not permitted without prior permission of the author reachable at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (firstname.lastname@example.org)