Walking on Water: Jesus on the Rocks?
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Now, on to a new debate in the realm of religion. Did Jesus really walk on water in the Sea of Galilee to reach his disciples in a storm?
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
That's what the Bible says, but Florida State University oceanographer, Doron Nof, says maybe not. He may have been walking on ice.
Dr. DORON NOF (Florida State University): The science suggests that there was ice on that particular part of the lake.
NORRIS: Nof studied records of temperatures in areas around the Sea of Galilee, which he says is actually a fresh-water lake.
Dr. NOF: And you can see that 1200 years ago and 2600 years ago, which is a more relevant time to what we're talking about, there was a, the climate in the region was a lot cooler. On average, it was ten degrees cooler than it is today.
NORRIS: Cool enough to freeze, not the whole lake, but parts of it. He explains that salty springs feeding the lake allowed for patches of fresh water at the surface to ice over.
Dr. NOF: Those springs are in that town called Tabgha and that town is where most of the archeological evidence indicated that's where Jesus lived. What do you do with that information? I don't know what to say. As a scientist, my job is just to point out that there was ice still. Maybe someone walk on it.
NORRIS: Now, it should be pointed out that many think that it's Dr. Nof himself who may be standing on ice, very thin ice.
BLOCK: If you want to check out his research, it's in the April issue of The Journal of Paleolimnology, devoted to the reconstruction of lake histories.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.