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November 20    Scripture

Sites - Israel: Sea of Galilee
Ancient Israel

Ancient History of the Sea of Galilee The Sea of Galilee lies on the ancient Via Maris, which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans founded flourishing towns and settlements on the land-locked lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake. Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew (4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) describe how Jesus recruited four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. One of Jesus' famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha). In 135 CE the second Jewish revolt against the Romans was put down. The Romans responded by banning all Jews from Jerusalem. The center of Jewish culture and learning shifted to the region of the Kinneret, particularly the city of Tiberias. It was in this region that the so-called "Jerusalem Talmud" is thought to have been compiled. In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This led to the growth of a full-fledged tourist industry, complete with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns. The lake's importance declined when the Byzantines lost control and area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and subsequent Islamic empires. Apart from Tiberias, the major towns and cities in the area were gradually abandoned.[citation needed] The palace Khirbat al-Minya was built by the lake during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715 CE). In 1187, Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, largely because he was able to cut the Crusaders off from the valuable fresh water of the Sea of Galilee. [Wikipedia]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee#History


Archaeology at Tabgha and Around the Sea of Galilee Tabgha: Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. Christians of the early Byzantine period built monastries, churches and shrines in Galilee and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to commemorate the ministry of Jesus and the miracles ascribed to him. Tabgha an Arabic corruption of the Greek name Heptapegon (Seven Springs) is the traditional site of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. (Matt. 14: 13-21) It is situated in a narrow, fertile valley on the northern shore of the lake, watered by several springs. The earliest building at Tabgha was a small chapel (18 x 9.6 m) from the 4th century CE; only a part of its foundations was uncovered. This was probably the shrine described by the pilgrim Egeria at the end of the 4th century: In the same place (not far from Capernaum) facing the Sea of Galilee is a well watered land in which lush grasses grow, with numerous trees and palms. Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. In this fruitful garden Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The stone upon which the Master placed the bread became an altar. The many pilgrims to the site broke off pieces of it as a cure for their ailments. During the fifth century, a large monastery and a church decorated with exquisite mosaic floors was built on the site. The complex covered an area of 56 x 33 m. and included courtyards and many rooms used as workshops for a variety of crafts as well as for lodging for the monks and the many pilgrims who came to visit. The monastery and church at Tabgha were destroyed in the 7th century, probably during the Arab conquest of the country, and buried beneath a thick layer of silt and stones. In the 1980s, after excavation, the church was restored to its Byzantine form, incorporating portions of the original mosaics. The basilical church is divided by two rows of columns into a central hall and two aisles. In the eastern wall is a semi-circular apse and on either side of it, rooms for the officiating clergy. A raised platform in front of the apse is surrounded by a chancel screen and at its center an untrimmed stone was preserved under the altar. This is the traditional site of the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. A mosaic depicting a basket of bread flanked by two fish was found behind the untrimmed stone. It was added in the 6th century, suggesting the stones significance; today it is displayed in front of the altar. The church is famous for its mosaics, unique among Byzantine churches in the Holy Land. Most of the floor of the church is decorated in ordinary geometric patterns. The unique principal mosaics decorate both sides of the transept. Particularly well preserved is the one on the left of the platform, a square carpet (6.5 x 5.5 m.) bordered with a band of lotus flowers. The carpets are decorated with multi-colored representations of the local flora and fauna, interspersed with several buildings. The flowers and animals, mainly birds, are so naturalistically depicted that it is possible to identify lotus, oleander and lily; also duck, snipe, heron, goose, dove, swan, cormorant, flamingo and stork. A tower marked with bands bearing Greek letters, probably for measuring the water level of the Sea of Galilee (known as a "nilometer"), is also depicted. The church belongs to the Order of the Benedictines and is open to visitors. Today, as in Byzantine times, large numbers of pilgrims come to visit. In 1968 excavations were carried out by B. Bagatti and S. Loffreda on behalf of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. The 1979-1980 excavations were conducted by R. Rosenthal and M. Hershkovitz on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (today, the Israel Antiquities Authority), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
http://www.mfa.gov.il


Kursi and Archaeology Kursi: Christian Monastery on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee. The church, during excavations. Mosaic floor of the aisle The Byzantine monastery of Kursi is situated east of the Sea of Galilee at the mouth of a wadi (riverbed) descending from the Golan Heights and creating a small, fertile valley along the shoreline. The remains of the ancient monastery came to light accidentally, during construction of a new road, and they were excavated in the years 1971-1974. The site is now open to the public as a national park. The location of Kursi, its architectural features and the testimony of early travelers identify it as the site where, according to tradition, Jesus healed two men possessed by demons. (Matthew 8: 28-33) To commemorate the miracle, a monastery was built there, probably at the beginning of the 6th century. The monastery is surrounded by a protective stone wall which creates a rectangular enclave measuring 140 x 120 m. The entrance, protected by a watchtower, faces west, towards the Sea of Galilee. In antiquity, a paved road led from the monastery to a small harbor which served Christian pilgrims arriving in boats. A wide, paved path led from the entrance of the monastery complex to a large plaza in front of the church at the center of the complex. The 45 x 25 m. rectangular church consists of a courtyard surrounded by pillars; these formed an atrium through which one entered the prayer hall itself. In its interior, two rows of eight stone columns supported Corinthian capitals of marble with crosses carved in relief. The columns divided the prayer hall into a nave and two side aisles. The whole floor of the church was paved with colored tesserae. Preserved mainly in the aisles, square frames are decorated with floral and faunal motifs, such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, fish, birds and water fowl. The faunal representations were almost obliterated, probably by members of the iconoclastic movement which became active in the early Arab period (7th century). At the eastern end of the church was a raised apse reached by two steps with two square rooms beside it. One was used as a baptistery, attested to by a Greek inscription, dedicating it to the Abbot Stephanos in the time of the Emperor Mauricius (end of the 6th century). Lateral wings were added to the sides of the church; the northern wing was an oil press, probably providing sacred oil for the pilgrims. To the south of the church there was a chapel with mosaic paving, beneath which was a crypt which contained the tombs of monks who had served in the monastery. Within the grounds of the monastery, living quarters for the monks and a hostel for housing pilgrims, as well as household utilities, were uncovered. Upon the slope overlooking the monastery to the south were the remains of a small chapel, incorporating a cave with a mosaic floor. In front of it stood a rock, some seven meters high, surrounded by revetment walls to prevent its collapse. This presumably marks the place where, according to tradition, the miracle recounted in the New Testament occurred. The monastery was damaged by an earthquake in the middle of the 8th century and abandoned. The site was excavated by D. Urman and V. Tzaferis on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
http://www.mfa.gov.il/


Sea of Galilee in Wikipedia The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת‎, Arabic: بحيرة طبرية‎), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8 miles) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km², and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet).[3] At 209 metres below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake).[4] The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. Geography. The Kinneret is situated in Northern Israel, near the Golan Heights, and deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. Consequently the area is subject to earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic activity. This is evident by the abundant basalt and other igneous rocks that define the geology of the Galilee region. Etymology. The lake often appears on maps and in the New Testament as Sea of Galilee or Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1) while in the Hebrew Bible, it is called the "Sea of Chinnereth" (or spelled as "Kinnereth") (Numbers 34:11; Joshua 13:27). The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor ("harp" or "lyre")) in view of the shape of the lake. Christian religious texts call it Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) or Sea of Gennesaret[5] after a small fertile plain that lies on its western side. The Arabic name for the lake is Buhairet Tabariyya (help·info) (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names for the Sea of Galilee are Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth and Sea of Tiberias (Roman).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee


Sea of Galilee in Wikipedia The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת‎, Arabic: بحيرة طبرية‎), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8 miles) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km², and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet).[3] At 209 metres below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake).[4] The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. Geography -- The Kinneret is situated in Northern Israel, near the Golan Heights, and deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. Consequently the area is subject to earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic activity. This is evident by the abundant basalt and other igneous rocks that define the geology of the Galilee region. Etymology -- The lake often appears on maps and in the New Testament as Sea of Galilee or Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1 ) while in the Hebrew Bible, it is called the "Sea of Chinnereth" (or spelled as "Kinnereth") (Numbers 34:11 ; Joshua 13:27 ). The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor ("harp" or "lyre")) in view of the shape of the lake. Christian religious texts call it Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1 ) or Sea of Gennesaret[5] after a small fertile plain that lies on its western side. The Arabic name for the lake is Buhairet Tabariyya (help·info) (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names for the Sea of Galilee are Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth and Sea of Tiberias (Roman). History -- Antiquity -- The Sea of Galilee lies on the ancient Via Maris, which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans founded flourishing towns and settlements on the land-locked lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake. Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew (4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) describe how Jesus recruited four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. His disciples were the ones who caught the boatload of fish. One of Jesus' famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha). In 135 CE the second Jewish revolt against the Romans was put down. The Romans responded by banning all Jews from Jerusalem. The center of Jewish culture and learning shifted to the region of the Kinneret, particularly the city of Tiberias. It was in this region that the so-called "Jerusalem Talmud" is thought to have been compiled. In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This led to the growth of a full-fledged tourist industry, complete with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns. The lake's importance declined when the Byzantines lost control and area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and subsequent Islamic empires. Apart from Tiberias, the major towns and cities in the area were gradually abandoned.[citation needed] The palace Khirbat al-Minya was built by the lake during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715 CE). In 1187, Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, largely because he was able to cut the Crusaders off from the valuable fresh water of the Sea of Galilee...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee


Tabgha The quiet cove of Tabha on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee is the scene of many Gospel stories, including the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. Early Christians marked the site of this miracle (Matt. 14:15-21; Mark 6:35-44; John 6:1-14) with a church containing magnificent mosaics. The small loaves and fishes mosaic, marking the place where Jesus uttered a blessing over the bread, has become a well-loved symbol of this place and the miracle. Visitors love to take a walk along the Tabha-Capernaum promenade, built by the Tourism Ministry, to another part of the Tabha cove and the Church of Peter`s Primacy. This is the traditional site of the events of John 21 after the resurrection – Jesus cooking breakfast for the disciples, the miraculous catch of fish and Peter`s reconciliation. Tabha comes from a Greek word meaning “seven springs.” One, the Spring of Job, surges into the lake a short walk eastward along the promenade. (Israel Minister of Tourism)
http://www.goisrael.com/


Tiberias and Archaeology Tiberias: The Anchor Church. The city of Tiberias is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. In the sixth century, at the peak of its expansion, the Byzantine emperor Justinian built a wall around the city which climbed up the steep slopes in the west and included the highest point, Mount Berenice. Here the remains of a Byzantine church with unusual cultic objects were uncovered in the years 1990-93. The church was included within the fortification wall of the city and its location affords a breathtaking view of the entire Sea of Galilee, its shores and the distant mountains. The church complex measures 48 x 28 meters and includes an atrium courtyard, a basilical, tri-apsidal church and many rooms around the complex. The walls are of square basalt blocks coated with white plaster and the floor is paved with multi-colored mosaics. The atrium courtyard is unusually spacious. It was surrounded by aisles resting upon square piers and was paved with mosaics in black and white frames. Beneath it is a large cistern, the ceiling of which is supported by a set of arches. Rainwater was collected from the roofs and from the courtyard and carried to the cistern via channels. Running the length of the prayer-hall of the church were two rows of columns supporting the roofing. Two rows of semi-circular stone benches were situated along the central apse in the eastern wall. The floor of the church was in part paved with colored mosaics, depicting grapes, pomegranates and birds, and in part with marble tiles in geometric shapes. At the center of the bema (stage) the base of a stone altar was found, and beneath it a marble plaque covering a depression containing a large, care-fully fashioned basalt stone measuring 55 x 35 x 11 cm. The bottom part of the stone is crudely worked into a conical shape, indicating that it was originally set into the ground. At the center of the stone is a drilled, biconical perforation; it is obviously a type of anchor, a smaller version of which might have been used by boats sailing the Sea of Galilee. It was placed here, and probably venerated in connection with Jesus activities on this side of the lake. Surrounding the courtyard and the church were numerous rooms, with mosaic paving, which must have served the clergy who maintained the church and looked after the many visitors. The church was damaged in the earthquake of 749. It was renovated on a smaller scale and had some Islamic architectural features, such as pointed arches and pairs of columns supporting them. This church, with only minor changes, remained in use during the Muslim rule of the country, a very uncommon phenomenon. The Crusaders strengthened the church structure with external butresses and also added a bell tower to its facade. The church was destroyed when the Muslims conquered Tiberias in 1187. Its remains were visible on the surface prior to the excavations and had remained relatively well-preserved thanks to the difficult access and the distance from the city of Tiberias. The excavations were directed by Y. Hirschfeld on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
http://www.mfa.gov.il/


Travel to the Sea of Galilee (The Kineret Lake) The beaches surrounding the Kineret are also a perfect starting point for wonderful nature tours of the area. Some of the most popular and beautiful nature sites are the Jordan Park, the Beit Tsida Nature Reserve, Khamat Gader, Naharayim. There is also the lower Golan Heights region, which borders on the Kineret and is full of swift flowing streams, historic sites and nature reserves. The Kineret played an important role in the early years of Christianity and has now become a pilgrimage site for many Christians. According to Christian tradition, Jesus lived, preached and performed miracles in the Kineret and the surrounding region. It was here that he walked on the water and the miracle of the loaves and the fishes happened in nearby Kfar Nakhum (Capernaum). There are many Christian holy sites around the Kineret, including the Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of the Loaves and the Fishes, Kfar Nakhum, Kursi, "Yardenit​" Baptismal Site, and the wooden boat discovered in the lake and now on display at Kibbutz Ginosar. Other nearby historic sites include Migdal, Tel Hadar, Ubeidiya (Israel`s most important prehistoric site), Beit Tsida, Kibbutz Dganya Alef, Moshavat Kineret and the city of Tiberias. (Israel Minister of Tourism)
http://www.goisrael.com/


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