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BETHANY


532


BETHLEHEM


zarium" and held in great veneration. Towards the close of the fourth century St. Silvia declares that on the Saturday before Palm Sunday the clergy of Jerusalem and the people go out to the Lazarium at Bethany, so that not only the place itself but the fields round about are full of people. In memory of this ancient custom the Franciscan Fathers of the Holy Land and the pilgrims go out and worship at the tomb of Lazarus on Friday of Passion Week. There is no Catholic chapel at Bethany. The Schismatic Greeks have a monastery and chapel there. The land about Bethany is largely a desert of stone, and from the elevated ground north of the village, the eye sweeps over an undulating desert even to the valley of the Jordan. The present village is made up of about forty wretched Moslem houses; there is not a Christian in the village. The only notable ruin at Bethany is that of a tower, a few paces south-east of the tomb of Lazarus. The massive stones yet remaining in portions of the walls indicate that it is older than the Crusades; it may date from the fourth or fifth century. In 1138 Melisenda, wife of Iving Fulke I, of Jerusalem, founded a cloister of nuns at Bethany; but the ruins of this cloister have not been identified. The sites of the house of Martha and Mary, and of that of Simon the leper are sho\vn at Bethany; but it is evident that these localizations are purely imaginary. Quarterly statements of the Palestine Ej:ploration Fund; Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society; Heidet in Vig., Diet, de la Bib.; GuEHlN, Samarie; Baedeker-Benziger, Palastina und Syrien; Murray, Handbook, Syria and Palestine; de Hamme, Ancient and Modern Palestine, tr. Rotthier (New York), IV; Fahrngruber, Nach Jerusalem, II, 15 sqq.; Survey of Western Palestina, Mem., II, 89; Mommert, jLnon und Bethania (Leipzig, 1903}, 30-56; Hagen, Lexicon Biblicum; Breen, Diary of my Life in the Holy Land.

A, E, Breen.

Bethany Beyond the Jordan (flrieavla. wfpav roO 'lopSdTOu). — In the text of St. John's Gospel, i, 28, the author locates the event of Our Lord's baptism by St. Jolm the Baptist at Bethany across the Jordan and there is herein a celebrated variant. The greatest number of the ancient codices, and those of greatest authority, have ^rieai'la, " Bethany". This reading is approved by Laclimann. Tischendorf, Westcott-Hort, and others. The uncial codices, C^, K, T, U, A, n, many minuscule codices, the Sinaitic Syriac, and Cureton's Syriac text have priBa^apd, "Bethabara". This reading was approved by Origen, Jerome, Eusebius, and Chrysostom. Origen, in his commentary on this place of St. John's Gos- pel, declares as follows: "We are not ignorant that in nearly all codices Bethany is the reading. But we were persuaded that not Bethany, but Beth- abara should be read, when we came to the places that we might observe the footprints of the Lord, of His disciples, and of the prophets. For, as the Evangelist relates, Bethany the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, is distant from Jerusalem fifteen furlongs, while the Jordan is distant one hundred and eighty furlongs. Neither is there a place along the Jordan which has anything in common with the name Bethany. But some say that among the mounds by the Jordan Bethabara is pointed out, where history relates that John baptized".

Archaeological research has failed to identify either Bethany or Bethabara beyond the Jordan; the conjectures range from the ruins on the bank of the Jordan opposite Mahadet Hadschle, less than two miles north of the mouth of the Jordan, even to Mahadet 'Abara, a ford of the Jordan near Beth- shean. All things considered, the most probable opinion is that there was a Bethany fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, and another across the Jordan. The name of this latter may have been a translitera- tion of n'3N JT"!, "the place of the ship". Bethany across the Jordan has shared the fate of many other Biblical sites which have disappeared from the earth.


The reading "Bethabara" came into the codices on the authority of Origen. A. E. Breen.

Betharan, a city of the Amorrhites in the valley- plain east of the Jordan, aljout twelve miles from Jericho (Num., xxxii, 36; Jos., xiii, 27). It was re- built by the tribe of Gad and later fortified by Herod Antipas, who named it Livias in honour of the wife of Augustus. As she was later called Julia, Josephus speaks of the city as Julias. Having been burnt at the fall of Jerusalem, it was restored by the Christians and became a bishopric. The site is identified by some with Tell el Rameh, six miles east of the Jordan, by others with Beit Harran.

Heidet in ViG., Diet, de la Bible; Riess, Bibel-Atlas (2nd ed., 1887); Merrill, East of the Jordan, 383.

John Corbett.

Bethdagon, name of two cities in Palestine. (1) A city (Jos., XV, 41) of the tribe of Juda "in the plains", that is, the territory below Joppa between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Its site is uncertain. (2) A city (Jos., xix, 27) of Aser near Zabulon, supposed to be Tell Da'ouk, south-east of Akka.

For references and conjectures see Hagen, Lex. Biblicum, s. V.

John Corbett.

Bethel (pX"n3, "house of God"), an ancient Canaanitish town, twelve miles north of Jerusalem, not far from Silo on the way to Sichem. The primitive- name was liUza. Abram tw-ice offered sacrifice east of Bethel (Gen., xii, 8; xiii, 3). In these passages the name of Bethel is used by anticipation, as it was given to the town by Jacob after his vision (Gen., xxviii, 19). When the Israelites entered the promised land. Bethel was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin, but it was taken and occupied by the Ephraimites (Judges, i, 22-26). It was a place of importance in the sub- sequent history. Here the Israelites in the days of the Judges were wont to consult the Lord (Judges, XX, 18, 26; xxi, 2; the phrase "in Silo" added in these texts by the Vulgate is a mistake) and the Ark of the Covenant was probably here for a time. Samuel was wont to judge in Bethel every year. After the division of tlie kingdoms Jeroboam dese- crated the place by erecting a golden calf and in- troducing the Egyptian worship of Apis. This con- tinued until Israel was led captive to Assyria (IV K., X, 29) and was frequently denounced by the propliets Osee and Amos. Shortly before his as- sumption, Elias visited Bethel, where there was a school of prophets (IV K., ii, 2, 3); the boys from the town mocked Eliseus on his return and were destroyed by bears (ibid., 23). One of the priests who had been carried away captive was allowed to return somewhat later and dwelt in Bethel to teach the people (IV K., xvii, 28). Great confusion of idolatrous worship sprang up, until Josias finally destroyed the altar and the high place there (TV K., xxiii, 15). After the Captivity, the Benjaminites returned to Bethel. In the time of the Macchabees,. it was fortified by Bacchidcs. There is no mention of Bethel in the New Testament, but Josephus re- cords that it was taken by Vespasian (Bell. Jud., IV,. ix, 9). Easebius mentions the place as a village. It is commonly identified nowadays with Beitin. The- ruins of several Christian churches on the spot would indicate that in the Middle Ages it had again grown to some importance. The name "Bethel" is also read in Jos., xii, 16 and I K., xxx, 27; it is probably another name for Bethul (Jos., xix, 4), a city of the tribe of Simeon, the site of which is uncertain.

Hagen, Lexicon Biblicum, s. v.; Smith, Hist. Geogr. of the Holy Land, 119, 250 sqq.; 290 sqq., 352; Zanecchia, La Palestine d'aujourd'hui (1890), II, 488 sqq.; Schenz in Kir- chenlex., s. v.

John Corbett. Bethlehem, a titular see of Palestine. The early- name of the city was Ephrata; afterwards Bethlehem,.