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Re: Nazareth Tombs
>What difference does it made what the name of the town was in the 1st
century, although I think it WAS Nazareth. <
Well, someone here has lost track of the point. The question is whether
the Christians called themselves Nazarenes because Jesus came from Nazareth.
Unless the site was called Nazareth during his lifetime, it's obvious that
that theory would not hold water!
I am still inclined to think that the use of the root n-ts-r or n-t-r (tet
and tsaddi are somewhat interchangeable in this semantic root) suggests a
group who saw themselves as "guardians" of something or other - and that the
NT form Nazorean (sorry, I forget which gospel) suggests by its vowels an
affinity to an Aramaic form parallel to the use of the n-t-r root in *natorei
qarta.* The Nazarenes may well have perceived themselves as Guardians of the
"Truth", the "Messiah", or whatever.... I know this is speculative, but it
seems at least as plausible, if not more plausible, than the group naming
itself after the town (and probable birthplace, pace the two Gospels that
suggest otherwise for symbolic reasons) of its leader.
Of course, if the name was given to them by outsiders (as was the name
"Christians" later on, according to Acts), those doing the name may well have
perceived them as the "group from Nazareth" and named them *notzerim* accord-
ingly. But again, that would depend on the town's name then being Nazareth
(for which apparently there is no probative evidence) and furthermore, I would
not expect people from *Nazrat* to be called *notzrim* -- I'd expect something
more like *natzranim*, for instance -- whereas *notzerim* looks exactly like
a present participle plural from the verb *n-tz-r.* As I said before, if the
town was not known as Nazareth until later on, confusion could have set in
at that point.
Since everything is speculation here, the question is only which speculation
is the more plausible.
Judith Romney Wegner, Connecticut College.