April 5, 2006

Jesus may have walked on ice?

By Jim Loney

MIAMI (Reuters) - The New Testament says that Jesus walked
on water, but a Florida university professor believes there
could be a less miraculous explanation -- he walked on a
floating piece of ice.

Professor Doron Nof also theorized in the early 1990s that
Moses's parting of the Red Sea had solid science behind it.

Nof, a professor of oceanography at Florida State
University, said on Tuesday that his study found an unusual
combination of water and atmospheric conditions in what is now
northern Israel could have led to ice formation on the Sea of

Nof used records of the Mediterranean Sea's surface
temperatures and statistical models to examine the dynamics of
the Sea of Galilee, which Israelis know now as Lake Kinneret.

The study found that a period of cooler temperatures in the
area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago could have included the
decades in which Jesus lived.

A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice
thick enough to support a human to form on the surface of the
freshwater lake near the western shore, Nof said. It might have
been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of
floating ice surrounded by water.

Nof said he offered his study -- published in the April
edition of the Journal of Paleolimnology -- as a "possible
explanation" for Jesus' walk on water.

"If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I
don't," Nof said. "Maybe somebody walked on the ice, I don't
know. I believe that something natural was there that explains

"We leave to others the question of whether or not our
research explains the biblical account."

When he offered his theory 14 years ago that wind and sea
conditions could explain the parting of the Red Sea, Nof said
he received some hate mail, even though he noted that the idea
could support the biblical description of the event.

And as his theory of Jesus' walk on ice began to circulate,
he had more hate mail in his e-mail inbox.

"They asked me if I'm going to try next to explain the
resurrection," he said.