Acoustical Properties of the “Cove of the Sower” An acoustical study of the cove was done by B. Cobby Crisler and is published as “The Acoustics and Crowd Capacity of Natural Theaters in Palestine” in Biblical Archaeologist , December 1976, pp. 128-41. Crisler concluded that 5,000-7,000 people could fit in the area below the road. The entire area of the hillside could accommodate more than twice that number. Studies suggest that there is much better sound when it comes from the center of the cove (about 10 m [33 ft] from shoreline) than from the base of the slope itself. “ By sloping the audience and standing away from the base of the slope, one optimizes speech communication” (Crisler 1976: 136). From nearly any location in the cove, the audience could see the speaker. Ben Franklin recorded that George Whitefield could be heard by 40,000-42,000 people when standing at the intersection of four streets.
Parable of the Sower Mark 4 records a time when Jesus was teaching a large crowd and pushed out in a boat in order to teach them. Some suggest this cove is an ideal location for such. Varrow, a Roman historian from the 1st century B.C., wrote of two places that produced crops exceptionally well, one of which was Gadara. It produced a hundred fold – Jesus’ illustration was not exaggeration. Jesus used visual aids as he taught. He may have been pointing to a farmer sowing his seed. Even if not, it would have been a familiar picture to everyone.
From this vantage point, a person on the shoreline is a mere speck. Though it seems unlikely, the voice of the speaker carries itself very well and the listeners would have had no problem hearing someone they could just barely see.