Capernaum and biblical history
Capernaum was an ancient fishing village established on the north shores of the Sea of Galilee that once had a population of 1,500. The ruins of the village remain, most notably two ancient Jewish synagogues built one on top of the other, as revealed by archaeologists. Believed to be established in the second century B.C. by the Hasmonean Jews, Capernaum is cited in the New Testament gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Capernaum was inhabited from its establishment in the second century B.C. until the 11th century A.D. and was the hometown of Matthew the tax collector and disciple of Jesus who wrote the gospel account. Jesus taught in the synagogue at Capernaum and healed a man that was possessed by an unclean spirit (Luke 4:31-36 and Mark 1:21-28). After this, Luke describes Jesus leaving the synagogue and upon entering Simon's house healing Simon's mother-in-law from a high fever. Luke (7:1-10) also describes Jesus healing a Roman centurion at Capernaum along with Matthew (8:5). Jesus also healed a paralytic at Capernaum, as described in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26. Capernaum was also one of three towns that Jesus cursed for their lack of faith and refusal to repent, in addition to Bethsaida and Chorazin (Matthew 11:20-24). American archaeologist Edward Robinson is credited with the discovery of the ancient ruins of Capernaum in 1838. The remains of the synagogue are believed to date to the 4th century A.D. and that this synagogue was built on top of an older synagogue dating to the first century A.D. This synagogue was possibly the one mentioned in the New Testament. The remains of one block of homes found between the synagogue and the seashore are believed to date from the first to the fourth century A.D. and that one of these was the home of Peter the fisherman and disciple of Jesus.