Galilee, Sea of, called also Lake of Gennesaret and Sea of Tiberias (in O. T. Sea of Chinnereth or Cinneroth), a lake in north Palestine, 13 miles long'.by 6 broad. Its surface lies 682 feet below sea-level, at the bottom of a volcanic basin ; its maximum depth, heretofore given at 820 feet, was in 1890 fixed at 148 feet by M. Barrois. Although the Jordan runs into it red and turbid from the north, and many warm and brackish springs also find their way thither, its waters are cool, clear, and sweet. The shores on the east and north sides are bare and rocky ; on the west they are covered with luxuriant vegetation.
In the time of our Lord, Galilee (Heb. Galil, ' circle') embraced the whole northern portion of Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. It was divided into Upper and Lower Galilee, the former hilly and well wooded, the latter level and very fertile. At that time it was mainly inhabited by Syrians, Phoenicians, Arabs, and Greeks, with a few Jews. The principal towns were Tiberias and Sepphoris; those that figure in the gospels are Cana, Capernaum, Nazareth, and Nain. After the destruction of Jerusalem the despised Galilee became the refuge of the proud doctors of Jewish law, and the city of Tiberias the seat of Rabbinical learning. Galilee now forms part of the pashalic of Damascus, in the Turkish province of Syria, and is remarkable for its beauty and fertility. See Dr S. Merrill, Galilee in the Time of Christ (new ed. 1885).