Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 25 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Toribio Romo González
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

What is the meaning of the original name of the Sea of Galilee?

SEA OF GALILEE

Public Domain

Zelda Caldwell - published on 09/20/18

The freshwater lake at the center of Jesus’ ministry went by a different name in the Old Testament -- one possibly based on its appearance.

The Sea of Galilee has been known by a number of names (Sea of Tiberius, Buḥayrat, Ṭabarīyā, Lake of Gennesaret to name a few) depending on what people ruled the area at the time.

When Jesus carried out his ministry on the shores of the freshwater lake, it is likely he would have called by its Hebrew name, “Kinneret” or “The Sea of Chinnereth.”

The name “Chinnereth” appears in the Old Testament in Numbers 34:11, Joshua 13:27 and Joshua 19:35, but the exact origin of that name is not known.

One popular theory is that Kinneret may have come from the Hebrew word kinnor (“harp” or lyre”) based on the shape of the lake. While this theory has not been proven, scholars agree that, based on archaeological excavations, there was in fact a city of Kinneret. Whether that city was named after the lake or the lake named after the city is not known.

SEA OF GALILEE; HARP
Seetheholyland.net|Flickr|CC by 2.0

In any case, the Sea of Galilee– or Kinneret — does look remarkably like a harp from above.

Tags:
ArchaeologyJesus Christ
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
3
500 YEARS OF CHRISTIANITY
J-P Mauro
A song to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines
4
MADONNA
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
5
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
6
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Padre Pio says this is a sin that’s difficult to forgive &#...
7
Palm Sunday
Philip Kosloski
10 Lenten traditions you might see at Mass
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.