Published: Wed, August 09, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Has the Lost City of Jesus' Apostles Finally Been Found?

Has the Lost City of Jesus' Apostles Finally Been Found?

The lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, was uncovered during excavations last month at el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee by archaeologists from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in NY.

While the first headlines announcing the discovery claimed the "Roman Home of Jesus's Disciples Discovered in Israel", the academic director of the el-Araj excavations, Steven Notley of Nyack College, is urging people not to jump to conclusions before more has been excavated.

Haaretz there are three possible locations of Julias: "This one, called al-Araj; and two nearby sites by the lake".

The Center for the Study of Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins (CS-AJCO) seeks to foster greater understanding of the cultural, linguistic and physical setting for Second Temple Judaism and nascent Christianity, the relationship of these faiths and their shared socio-religious milieu, and to support efforts that will make current research about these topics more widely available.

According to the historian Josephus, king Herod rebuilt the little village to the city and renamed it Julius in honor of Libya Drusilla, mother of the Emperor Tiberius.

Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College told Haaretz the discovery a multi-layered location in Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve suggests there was a city there, not just a fishing village. "In any case, the bathhouse verifies the presence of urban culture".

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The gospel of John names the disciples Philip, Andrew and Peter as being from the town Bethsaida.

"A layer from the Roman period was discovered in the current [excavation] season, with potsherds and coins from the first to the third centuries CE", Dr. Aviam said on August 6. Furthermore, a Roman wall was discovered at a depth almost 693 feet (211.16m) below sea level.

The discovery of the city challenges an assumption held by researchers about the region. For the last 30 years, popular opinion identified Bethsaida with the site of et-Tel where archaeologists found settlement in the late Hellenistic (2nd cent. BCE) and Roman periods (1st-2nd cent. CE), including two private houses.

Aviam said they will continue the excavation at the site until they find definitive clues to confirm the identity of the lost city of Julias.

"That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries B.C.E., a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse".

"The results of this season's excavation indicate that el-Araj should now be considered a leading candidate for the lost city of Jesus' Apostles", Prof.

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