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April 4, 2006

Cold comfort

Another myth gets iced:

Rare conditions could have conspired to create hard-to-see ice on the Sea of Galilee that a person could have walked on back when Jesus is said to have walked on water, a scientist reported Tuesday.
The study, which examines a combination of favorable water and environmental conditions, proposes that Jesus could have walked on an isolated patch of floating ice on what is now known as Lake Kinneret in northern Israel.
Looking at temperature records of the Mediterranean Sea surface and using analytical ice and statistical models, scientists considered a small section of the cold freshwater surface of the lake. The area studied, about 10,000 square feet (930 square meters), was near salty springs that empty into it.
The results suggest temperatures dropped to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius) during one of the two cold periods 2,500 to 1,500 years ago for up to two days, the same decades during which Jesus lived.
With such conditions, a floating patch of ice could develop above the plumes, resulting from the salty springs along the lake’s western shore in Tabgha. Tabgha is the town where many archeological findings related to Jesus have been found.
“We simply explain that unique freezing processes probably happened in that region only a handful of times during the last 12,000 years,” said Doron Nof, a Florida State University professor of oceanography. “We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account.”

Here’s a PDF of Nof’s paper (note: opens in new window), which will be published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Paleolimnology.

Posted by Stephen at 5:37 PM in Religion + cults | Science + technology | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Great blog! Lots of good info.

I love this news story because it leads the imagination to the Gospel writers, and maybe, maybe, someone with a curious brain might start to think through about their religious beliefs.

Posted by: freethoughtmom at April 4, 2006 11:43 PM