I have just seen something that made me fall about laughing. I won’t mention the name or source of the poster, as they are a clever and good guy just misled by muppets. Here we go though, they wrote roughly
Those who feel that Nazareth was a thriving town in Jesus’ time need to answer one serious question. How is it that St Helena, the mother of Constantine, discovered only Mary’s well and no other items (no town, no old buildings) when she made her pilgrimage? Had there been a town of Nazareth to find, why didn’t Helena find it?
I replied –” is this a parody of James Randi being hoodwinked by crap, or do you mean it? If the latter, oh dear. Helena lived in the late third/early fourth century, almost three centuries after Jesus, when Nazareth is clearly archaeologically attested, as well as mentioned in inscriptions etc, etc. There is no doubt whatsoever Nazareth was there then – whoever told you this shit is leading you up the garden path. Google 3rd century Nazareth or Fourth Centiury Nazareth and see for yourself.
And this is the whole thing – the myth of Nazareth not existing hinges on a place that clearly existed before and after the time of Jesus mysteriously stopping existing at the time of Jesus, then reappearing again, with the same name, and the Gospel writers who were trying to convert Jews in Palestine inventing a fictitious place for some bizarre reason of their own, that just happened to come back in to existence.
What seems to have actually happened: an old anticlerical/atheist myth was questioned when the archaeological evidence showed it was nonsense. Rather than relinquish it, a few folks have set about arguing the archaeologists are wrong. Sad but true?”
What makes it worse is that James Randi has endorsed the myth, and claimed effectively that the archaeologists and historians who disagree with him are actually part of some kind of secret Evangelical conspiracy — despite the fact that this is the position of Israeli Jewish archaeologists as well as secular and atheist archaeologists. I won’t write more on this just yet, though I keep raising it on the JREF – we need a retraction, before the JREF becomes known as a peddler of woo. If you doubt Randi is uninformed on the issues, you might want to listen to the first few lines of the video, where he mentions Jesus being born in Nazareth according to Christians (er, Bethlehem last time I looked!) and the birth narrative in John’s Gospel – the discovery of a birth narrative in John’s Gospel is certainly a shocking revelation worthy of a Dan Brown novel, as Christians and Biblical scholars have not noticed the existence of one in over two millenia.
See thread here http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=137026 for bizarre Randi promotes woo unpleasantness.
I sincerely like and respect Randi, but he needs to retract this nonsense. I’ve emailed as have others, so I’ll keep you posted…