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- This is about the Middle East city of Nazareth. For other uses, see Nazareth (disambiguation).
The town is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and there is no historical record of its existence around the time of Jesus. 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 Jesus was not from Nazareth, but rather 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 Arabs, about 35-40% are Palestinian Christians and the rest are Palestinian Muslims. The Israeli government built a new city since the fiftys called "Nazaereth Elite" translated as Upper Nazareth 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.