The creation of man and faith around the Sea of Galilee.
I have been rowing the Sea of Galilee for more than 50 years. This is not rowing in quite waters of a lake, but a quest for a million and a half years of evolution and development of the human race. Around this sea were the first permanent settlements in the world, the first wells were dug and alongside them developed the first mysticism, beliefs and ancient gods. A major turning point on the Sea of Galilee occurred when the first Christian thinkers and messengers laid the foundations for the religion that characterizes the processes and history of the Western world. The crusades of the first Crusader kingdom ended the desperate journey towards the sea, a journey which to a large extent set the boundary between the Islamic world of the East and the Western Christian world to this day. Today Jews, Muslim and Christians live around the lake in cooperation that will serve as an example of the brotherhood of nations and cultures in the future.
I invite you to come with me on a journey through time to the history and religion steeped quiet waters of the Sea of Galilee.
The evolution of mankind began 3.5 million years ago from a family of monkeys called Hominids. These man-apes lived in Africa, in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. They walked on two legs, used their hands to create tools and moved in small groups along the Syro-African Rift Valley. The first markers of Humanids who crossed the borders of Africa, were found at a site near the Sea of Galilee. In a site dated to a million and a half years ago, tens of thousands of tools were found, used by Homo erectus, the father of all human species identified in Asia and Europe. The Sea of Galilee was a migration crossroads for the Homo erectus, from Africa to Asia in the east and Europe to the west.
The remains of this species are not limited to a single site around Sea of Galilee. In a cave close to the Sea of Galilee, in the Lower Amud River was found a skeleton of a Homo erectus from about 200,000 years ago. It is possible that for a million years a community of Homo erectus lived in a string of permanent settlement near the lake.
Less than a hundred thousand years ago, groups of the Neanderthal man appeared around the lake. Remains of the Neanderthal groups were found in a cave in the Amud River, about 2 km from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. A special phenomenon for the Neanderthals is a burial site on the shores of the lake. In a cave three meters deep, were found tombs with a skeleton of an adult and that of a baby, with a ram’s horn placed on it. Nearby in the Nazareth Mountains and below Mount Precipice, were found skeletons of another species of ancient man, the Homo sapiens, also called the ‘wise man’, from whom we are descended.
At the mouth of a cave at the bottom of Mt. Precipice were found the skeletons of Homo sapiens, with the addition of a ram’s horn as an offering. The finding of an identical burial type of Homo sapiens and the Neanderthal man, who lived around the lake in close proximity, attests to the connection and exchange of information between communities of various species of people along the Sea of Galilee, 80,000 years ago. Burial in the region is considered the most ancient in the world and the first mystical ceremony conceived by the human race that marks the transition from the material world to the spiritual one.
For a long time, communities of different species lived on the lakeshore, such as Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. These communities were able to communicate, learn how to bury those close to them and create the first mystical ritual practiced by man, together.
According to the New Testament, Jesus left the inhabitants of Nazareth via Mount Precipice and went from his place of residence to Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. At the bottom of the same mountain, were found the tombs of the Homo sapiens. More than once throughout the development of mankind, around the Sea of Galilee, destiny brought together communities of people from different species and different religions. Different species such as the Homo sapiens and the Neanderthal man, different religions communities such as Jews, Christians, Muslims and idol worshipers. In the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee nearly 100,000, mysticism was created and the foundations laid for a spiritual world that matured into the development of faith as Jesus descended from Nazareth to the lake.