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Scandal 2
The dishonest shell game with the Nazareth evidence

Our eyes should be opened when the primary archaeologist at Nazareth (Father Bellarmino Bagatti) assigns an artefact on one page to the IRON AGE (c. 1200 BCE-c. 600 BCE), and a few pages later assigns the same artefact to the MIDDLE ROMAN PERIOD. The difference, of course, is 1000 years. . . Was the priest confused? Inattentive? Inebriated? Unfortunately, his error is hardly unique in the Nazareth literature, and points up the need for a wholesale reassessment of the primary data by neutral, objective archaeologists.

The main source for scholarly information on Nazareth is the 325-page book Excavations in Nazareth by Fr. Bagatti (English edition 1969). This book is considered the definitive study of Nazareth archaeology and is repeatedly cited in the scholarly literature. It is no small thing, then, when one reveals Bagatti’s book to be full of blunders.

One could study Bagatti’s book for months and not realize anomalies such as the following example, which becomes apparent only if one makes a written itemization of the hundreds of artefacts in his work, as I have done while researching The Myth of Nazareth. The example I choose for this Scandal Sheet is the following:

(a) While discussing pottery of the Iron Period (1200-587 BCE) Bagatti comes to a v-shaped piece of pottery which he calls a “rim of the vase.” (For those with access to his book, it is on page 269, item 215:7.) He also diagrams this pottery shard in his figure 224.1. Bagatti continues his discussion, “Other elements of the Iron Period…” So, there is no question at all that the archaeologist considers this shard to be from the Iron Age.

(b) On page 282 of his book, in the section discussing “Pottery of the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Periods,” Bagatti notes “fig. 224.1” and “fig. 215.7” (the same references as above, both referring to one artefact). Evidently he forgot that a dozen pages earlier he called the shard the rim of a vase, for he now calls it the neck of a “cooking pot.” More importantly, Bagatti is oblivious to the fact that he earlier assigned this artefact to the Iron Period. Now, on p. 285, he writes: “The oldest element of these cooking pots appears to be No. 1 of fig. 224… The neck, with the splayed mouth, recalls the Hellenistic-Roman custom for these artifacts.” So, we see that on one page the archaeologist assigns a shard to the Iron Age, and on another page he assigns it to the “Hellenistic-Roman” period.

Our confidence must be shaken in an archaeologist who ascribes the same material to two eras separated by up to a thousand years. Doesn’t Bagatti know what he is talking about? Or is there something more nefarious at play, something which goes beyond error? For we see that the priest’s use of the word “Hellenistic” on p. 285 is entirely inappropriate. He signals the typical Roman features of this jar, not Hellenistic ones! It would appear that the archaeologist has simply found another excuse to falsely introduce the word “Hellenistic” into his book.

For a village of Nazareth to have existed at the time of Christ, it had to come into existence before that time. That is why Hellenistic evidence from Nazareth is so important. It is also why Bagatti has, as seen in the above example, contrived to falsely introduce the word "Hellenistic" into his book. In fact, every one of his uses of that word is inappropriate, for there is no Hellenistic evidence from Nazareth! This is clearly shown in Part Three of my study.

In a subsequent Scandal Sheet, I will show how more Nazareth artefacts have been falsely called “Hellenistic,” thus furnishing more bogus evidence for a village at and before the time of Jesus. All those artefacts do not date before the time of Christ, but they are Middle Roman (second-third centuries after Christ).

Folks, we've all been spoofed!
—René Salm

Alleged Hellenistic finds

Updated June 30, 2014

Scandal sheets
Coverups relating to Nazareth archaeology.

Scandal 1
Hidden tombs under the house of Mary
(the Church of the Annunciation)

Scandal 3
Alleged Hellenistic finds

Scandal 4
“Herodian” and the misdating of Nazareth evidence

Scandal 5
The Nazareth Village Farm Report

Scandal 6
A ‘House from the time of Jesus’?

Scandal 7
“Israel’s Evangelical Approach” and Nazareth

Scandal 8
The Nazareth coin boondoggle

Scandal 9
The 1962 forgery of the “Caesarea inscription”

Scandal 10
Nazareth archaeology leads to peer review breakdown

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The earliest Nazareth evidence