Monday, July 12, 2010
A Biblical Scholar's First Impressions of Israel VIII: The "Jesus Boat"
I was keen to get to see the so-called "Jesus Boat" in (the) Galilee. I have often shown pictures of it to the students in my Historical Jesus class, one of whom subsequently emailed me to let me know that she had visited it herself on the recent Duke in Israel programme. Having read a bit about the boat, I don't think I learnt anything new when I saw it in real life, but it was still excellent to get the chance to see it for real.
The "Jesus Boat" is an ancient Galilean boat, discovered in the Sea of Galilee back in 1986 and, remarkably, salvaged, protected, and put on display at the Yigal Allon Museum, near the shore where it was found. The location is pretty close to Tiberias, where we were staying. A ten minute drive at the most. It's advertised on the signs as an "Ancient Galilean Boat" although its own publicity likes to use the term "Jesus Boat", in respectable inverted commas, in order, quite reasonably, to attract the tourists.
The museum itself appears to be set in a larger kibbutz style community, but the boat is clearly the major reason that people visit the place. There were almost no tourists at all while we were there, so when we walked into the room with the boat in it, we had it all to ourselves. I felt quite privileged, actually. It's well worth a visit, and if you have a car, it's a short stop on your way up to Migdal or Capernaum from Tiberias.
The video above is not ours but is from the excellent Bibledex project, taken during their recent trip to Israel.