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Kinneret (archaeological site)

City: Kinneret, Chinnereth;
Archaeological site: Tel Kinrot (Modern Hebrew),
Tell el-'Oreimeh (Arabic)
Tel Kinrot (the mound behind the field) from northwest
Kinneret (archaeological site) is located in Israel
Kinneret (archaeological site)
Shown within Israel
Coordinates32°51′38″N 35°30′26″E / 32.86056°N 35.50722°E / 32.86056; 35.50722

Kinneret (Hebrew: כִּנֶּרֶת) is the name of an important Bronze and Iron Age city situated on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, mentioned in the 14th century BC Aqhat Epic of Ugarit, and in the Old Testament and New Testament. Older Bible translations spell the name alternatively Kinnereth or Chinnereth, and sometimes in the plural as Chinneroth.[1][2] In time the name became Gennesaret and Ginosar (Hebrew: גִּנֵּיסַר). The remains of Kinneret have been excavated at a site called Tell el-'Oreimeh (Tell el-‘Orēme) in Arabic and Tel Kinrot in Modern Hebrew.




According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 1:1), the name Kinneret is derived from the name of the kinnar trees which grow in its vicinity, explained by lexicographer M. Jastrow to mean the Christ's thorn jujube (Ziziphus spina-christi),[3] and by Moses Margolies to mean cane reeds.[4]

Another Talmud passage says that it is so-called because its fruits[dubious ] are as sweet as those of the kinnara[dubious ] (Ziziphus spina-christi).[5][dubious ]

"Gennesaret" and "Ginosar"

Adrian Room sees the origin of 'Ginosar' in a combination of Hebrew words, ge ('valley') and either netser ('branch') or natsor ('to guard', 'to watch').[6]

The late-19th-century Easton's Bible Dictionary offers a very different etymology, by stating that the initial Hebrew name 'Kinneret', in the plural 'Kinnerot', was Grecized to Gennesaret, with Ginosar as yet another transformation of the Hebrew name.[7]

Historical use of the name

The lake

Due to its prominence, the city gave its name to the lake (the "Sea of Galilee") for long periods of history, as the Sea of Kinneret, Kinnerot, Gennesaret, or Ginosar.[7]

As other places around the lake rose to prominence, such as Tiberias and Qasr al-Minya, the name of the lake also changed to Lake Tiberias[8] or Lake Minya ("Bahr el-Minya" in Arabic).[9]

The plain

The name has also been used for the "Plain of Gennesaret", which stretches south of the ancient city. The plain's modern names are Plain of Ginosar in Hebrew and el-Ghuweir in Arabic.

Modern settlements

The Israeli kibbutz Ginosar derives its name from the ancient town, though it is not located on its precise site. The settlements of Moshavat Kinneret and Kvutzat Kinneret are even further south, on the southwestern shore of the lake.

Biblical and other ancient sources

Annals of Thutmose III

in hieroglyphs
Era: New Kingdom
(1550–1069 BC)

Kinneret is mentioned as Kennartou in the 15th-century BCE Annals of Thutmose III at Temple of Karnak.[10]

Hebrew Bible

Kinneret was a town allotted to the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:35). The name appears in the singular form as "Kinneret" (Numbers 34:11, Deuteronomy 3:17) or in the plural as "Kinneroth" (Joshua 11:2, 12:3).

New Testament Gospels

In the New Testament the name appears changed to Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).

This city or area is also a place where Jesus visited and performed healing (Matthew 14:34; Mark 6:53). The Douay-Rheims Bible uses the form "Genesar", see Gospel of Matthew

[34] And having passed the water, they came into the country of Genesar. (Matthew 14:34).

Josephus and Babylonian Talmud

Flavius Josephus, as well as the Babylonian Talmud mention the lake by the name "Sea of Ginosar" after the small fertile plain of Ginosar that lies at the foot of Tell el-'Oreimeh, ancient Kinneret. Josephus refers to the area as having very rich soil.[12]

Identification and location

The Plain of Gennesaret marked on an 1850 German map of the Sea of Galilee as "El-Ghuweir / Genezareth" (western shore, stretching from "Khan Minyeh" to "el-Mejdel / Magdala")

The site of the fortified Bronze and Iron Age city of Kinneret is identified with the mound known in Arabic as Tell el-'Oreimeh and in modern Hebrew as Tel Kinrot, halfway between Capernaum and Magdala.[13][14] Situated on an important trade route, its elevated position meant that it also overlooked and guarded the Plain of Ginosar from its northern end.

The site has the ICS Coordinates: 200805-1252830;[15][16][17] ca. 32.87000 N, 35.539312 E.[17]

Archaeological exploration

The tell is being excavated as part of a large archaeological project which is ongoing since 2002.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Bible Hub, Chinneroth". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  2. ^ Arnold, Bill T.; Beyer, Bryan E. (2002). Readings from the Ancient Near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study. Baker Academic. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-8010-2292-0.
  3. ^ Marcus Jastrow, Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, Peabody, Mass. 2006, p. 651 (s.v. כנרא)
  4. ^ Jerusalem Talmud, Megillah 1:1 [2b]
  5. ^ Babylonian Talmud (Megillah 6a)
  6. ^ Room, Adrian (2006). Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features, and Historic Sites (2nd, revised ed.). McFarland. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-7864-2248-7. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  7. ^ a b Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary, "Gennesaret"
  8. ^ Aharoni, Yohanan; Avi, Yonah; Anson, Rainey; Safrai, Ze'ev (1999). Atlas Biblico. Portuguese translation of The Macmillan Bible Atlas. Rio de Janeiro: Casa Publicadora das Assembléias de Deus (CPAD). p. 173. ISBN 85-263-0116-0.
  9. ^ "Minnim (Khirbet Minya)" at, 15 May 2012. retrieved 18 December 2021.
  10. ^ a b Gauthier, Henri (1928). Dictionnaire des Noms Géographiques Contenus dans les Textes Hiéroglyphiques Vol. 5. p. 205.
  11. ^ Wallis Budge, E. A. (1920). An Egyptian hieroglyphic dictionary: with an index of English words, king list and geological list with indexes, list of hieroglyphic characters, Coptic and Semitic alphabets, etc. Vol II. John Murray. p. 1048.
  12. ^ The Physical Geography, Geology, and Meteorology of the Holyand by Henry Baker Tristram 2007 ISBN 1593334826 page 11
  13. ^ Avraham Negev, Shimon Gibson, ed. (2001). Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land. New York, London: Continuum. p. 285. ISBN 0-8264-1316-1.
  14. ^ Lamar Williamson 1983 Mark ISBN 0804231214 pages 129-130
  15. ^ Aharoni, Yochanan. The Land of the Bible, A Historical Geography. The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1979, p. 433.
  16. ^ "עמוד ענן - המדריך השיתופי לידיעת הארץ". (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  17. ^ a b Clément RONZON. "TWCC, The World Coordinate Converter". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  18. ^ "Tel Kinrot – Kinneret Regional Project". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
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Kinneret (archaeological site)
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