Possible Discovery of Dalmanutha

Ken Dark recently lectured at the University of Edinburgh on the archaeology of Nazareth and the Plain of Gennesaret (Ginosar). Summaries of these lectures are available online.

While I find highly dubious his suggestion that there was “no road between Nazareth and Sepphoris”—what sort of physical evidence would you expect to find for a road from an agricultural village of a few hundred people?—I am very interested in his claim to have discovered a “very large, but previously-unrecognised, Late Hellenistic, Roman-period, and later, settlement” between Magdala and Kibbutz Ginosar. He suggests that the site may be the Dalmanutha of Mark 8:10.

“About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.” (Mark 8:9–11)

Because the parallel account in Matthew 15:38–16:1 has “vicinity of Magadan,” some scholars believe that Dalmanutha was another name for Magadan/Magdala. Mendel Nun has proposed that Dalmanutha be identified with a small anchorage north of Magdala (Anchor Bible Dictionary 2:4). Dalmanutha may not be a proper name but simply the Aramaic word for harbor.

You can read the lecture summaries and see the bibliographic details at the blog of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins.

HT: Charles Savelle

Plain of Gennesaret from Arbel, tb032507715
Plain of Gennesaret (Ginosar) from Arbel. Is this the region of Dalmanutha?
Photo from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

4 thoughts on “Possible Discovery of Dalmanutha

  1. Todd, I tend to agree. I think it highly likely that “tektons” like Joseph and Jesus would have found steady work at Sepphoris and little work in Nazareth. I never imagined that some flagstone paved road would have connected the cities, but something like a well-worn trail – something that would simply be erased by wind and rain over time.

    BTW, are you moving back to Master’s in So Cal?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *