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Nazareth
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Nazareth

This is about the Middle East city of Nazareth. For other uses, see Nazareth (disambiguation).

Nazareth (Arabic الناصرة an-Nāṣirah; נצרת, Standard Hebrew Náẓərat, Tiberian Hebrew Nāṣəraṯ) is an ancient town in Northern Israel. It is the capital of the northern region of the country, and the largest Arab city in Israel.

The town is not mentioned in the Old Testament, nor in Josephus nor in the Talmud, but there are many indications that it was settled during prehistoric times. During the Biblical period Japhia was the important town of the area and attracted all the notice of historians.

According to the New Testament Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and where Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood. However, historians have called this into question suggesting instead that it is based on a mistranslation of original sources about Jesus. Such historians argue that "Iesou Nazarene" was not "from Nazareth", but rather that his title was "Nazarene."

Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of the Lebanon Mountains, on the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. The modern city lies lower down upon the hill than the ancient one. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passes by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus. It has a population of 60,000. The majority of Nazarenes are Palestinian Arabs, about 35-40% of which are Christians and the rest are Muslims. The Israeli government built a new city since the 1950s called Natzrat Illit (נצרת עילית "Upper Nazareth", Standard Hebrew Náẓərat ʿIllit) and populated it with a Jewish majority.

The name Nazareth means separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Israel is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.

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Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897. Please update as needed

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