It has been known for many years in [Biblical] archeological community that the town of Nazareth pre 0 CE was pretty much non-existent. The historian Josephus gives very detail account of the major towns and citys in the area in the early 1st century but has no mention of Nazareth. Other historian studying the period verge on the notion that the town did not exist until later in the 1st or early 2nd century.
Frank Zindler, editor of American Atheist Magazine, has asserted that Nazareth did not exist in the first century. His arguments include the following:
* No "ancient historians or geographers mention [Nazareth] before the beginning of the fourth century [AD]."
* Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, nor in the Apocrypha and it does not appear in any early rabbinic literature.
* Nazareth was not included in the list of settlements of the tribes of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-16) which mentions twelve towns and six villages
* Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus (37AD-100AD).
* Nazareth is also missing from the 63 towns of Galilee mentioned in the Talmud.
Zindler's view is historically possible if Nazareth came into existence at the same time that the New Testament gospels were being written and redacted. Most scholars place the writing of the gospels that do mention Nazareth between the two Jewish-Roman wars (70 AD-132 AD).
This new book by Rene Salm (The Myth of Nazareth) investigate the Nazareth issue is in more detail. I have copied the editors review from Amazon and it's given below:
I am amazed by your work and can't wait to see the pathetic attempts to reply! -- Robert M. Price, PhD, ThD, Author, The Pre-Nicene New Testament, Deconstructing Jesus, Jesus Is Dead, etc. Christianity cannot survive unless this book can be refuted. By proving scientifically that Nazareth was uninhabited at the time Jesus of Nazareth and his family were supposed to be living there, Salm strikes the Achilles' heel of a very popular god. We KNOW the Wizard of Oz is not real, since we know there never was a Land of Oz. Because of this exhaustive archaeological investigation, we now know that Jesus of Nazareth also is a literary fiction. Apologists and all other professional Christians are going to be out of work unless they can disprove this book -- or find a way to suppress it. -- Frank R. Zindler, Author, The Jesus the Jews Never Knew --Back cover
The Myth Of Nazareth presents convincing archaeological evidence that the town of Nazareth was not settled until after the First Jewish War, around 70 CE. Exhaustive reconsideration of ALL artifacts from present-day Nazareth shows that the site was not inhabited at the time Jesus of Nazareth and his family are supposed to have been living there. In this book researcher René Salm proves that a core element of the Jesus story was an invention of the evangelists who wrote their gospels towards the end of the first century CE -- as it turns out, at the same time the village of Nazareth was coming into being. Requiring eight years of painstaking research, The Myth Of Nazareth surveys the archaeological record of the Nazareth basin from the Stone Age until modern times. It guides the reader through a stunning odyssey of discovery -- one which exposes not only the true history of the site but also a scandalous history of evidentiary suppression reaching back into Early Christian Times. The here-established fact that Nazareth is a literary invention puts Jesus of Nazareth in the same class as the Wizard of Oz and implies that Jesus too is a literary invention. Coming shortly after the claim of Israeli archaeologist Aviram Oshri that Bethlehem in Judea also was uninhabited at the time Jesus is supposed to have been born there, Salm's research seems to be delivering a one-two knockout punch to the character known as The Historical Jesus.
Also check out an interview Rene Salm gave The Infidel Guy at http://www.infidelguy.com/ or get the podcast at http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/ig-the-myth-of-nazareth/7147984/
There is certainly more to be said on this subject. I shall get a copy of the book and post my review in due course.