April 13, 2006 4:00 AM PDT
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Audio: Did Jesus really walk on ice?April 5, 2006
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Would a frozen patch floating on the water have been something that people back then would have noticed?
Nof: Well, it was not that common, and it was probably attached to the shore--very close to the shore. You know, it doesn't open and does not form in the middle of the lake. It will form next to the shore. I don't know if people noticed or not. I don't know how often it was. During this window of 100 or 200 years it was much colder. My guess is that it probably happened a few times.
Were you able to determine how long the cold spell would have lasted?
Nof: We calculated that: two or three days. That can very easily be calculated. It's not a big deal.
And how cold would the region have had to become for these formations?
Nof: I think that we decided that it needs to be minus 4 centigrade, so that will be in the 20s for three days or something like that--not that cold and not that long.
What piqued your interest in trying to examine the circumstances surrounding the story of Jesus walking on water?
Nof: Well, I did this work on the Red Sea 13 years ago about the parting of the Red Sea. We provided an explanation for that, and somehow since that time it was always in the back of my mind, well, maybe there is something that would explain that story behind Jesus.
You provided an oceanographic perspective about the parting of the Red Sea. What was your main thesis back then?
Nof: It's the wind, the effect of the wind in a very shallow part of the Red Sea that could expose a ridge that is normally covered with water. This is in the Gulf of Suez. The ridges are maybe 15 feet under the water today. Very strong wind if it blows in the right direction for a long enough time will expose this ridge. And, in fact, if you look at the biblical story there they speak about the very strong wind blowing the night before.
What has been the reaction to your most recent paper?
Nof: Well, it's very hard to tell because, you know, we don't get an average reaction of everybody. We only get the extremes--or at least I get e-mails. Most of the e-mails are negative e-mails from extremists.
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