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BETH-HORON—BETHLEN

fine Nant Ffrancon (valley of the Ogwen stream). The scriptural name is due, as often in Wales, to the village or hamlet taking its title from the Nonconformist church. Here are extensive slate quarries belonging to Lord Penrhyn. A narrow-gauge railway connects these with Port Penrhyn, at the mouth of the stream Cegid (hemlock, “cicuta”), which admits the entry of vessels of 300 tons to the quay at low water.

BETH-HORON (“the place of the hollow way”), the name of two neighbouring villages, upper and lower Beth-horon, on the ascent from the coast plain of Palestine to the high tableland of Benjamin, which was until the 16th century the high road from Jerusalem to the sea. The two towns thus played a conspicuous part in Israelitish military history (see Josh. x. 10; 1 Sam. xiii. 18; 1 Kings ix. 17; 1 Macc. iii. 13-24, vii. 39 ff., ix. 50). Josephus (Bell. Jud. ii. 19) tells of the rout of a Roman army under Cestius Gallus in A.D. 66. The Talmud states that many rabbis were born in the place. It is now represented by Beit ‘Ur-el-foka and Beit ‘Ur-et-tahta.

BETHLEHEM (Heb. “House of Bread,” or, according to a more questionable etymology, “of [the god] Lakhmu”), a small town in Palestine, situated on a limestone ridge (2550 ft. above sea-level), 5 m. S. of Jerusalem. The neighbourhood produces wheat, barley, olives and vines in abundance. It was occupied in very early times, though the references in Judges xvii., xix., and Ruth[1] are of doubtful date. It was the early home of David and of Joab (2 Sam. ii. 32). It was fortified by Rehoboam, and in the neighbouring inn of Chimham the murderers of Gedaliah took refuge (Jer. xli. 17). Micah (v. 2) and other writers speak of it as Bethlehem-Ephrathah; perhaps Ephrathah was the name of the district. Almost complete obscurity, however, was gathering round it when it became (according to Matt. ii. and Luke ii.) the birthplace of Jesus. The traditional scene of the Nativity, a grotto on the eastern part of the ridge, is alleged to have been desecrated during the reign of Hadrian by a temple of Adonis. In 330 it was enclosed by a basilica built by the orders of the emperor Constantine. This basilica (S. Maria a Praesepio), which is still standing, was restored and added to by Justinian, and was later surrounded by the three convents successively erected by the Greek, Latin and Armenian Churches (see de Vogüé, Les Églises de la Terre Sainte). Captured by the Crusaders in the 11th century, Bethlehem was made an episcopal see; but the bishopric soon sank to a titular dignity. Beside the grotto of the Nativity other traditional sites are shown within the church, such as the Altar of the Magi, the Tomb of Eusebius, the cave wherein Jerome made his translation of the Bible, &c.

There are several monasteries and convents, and British, French and German schools. The village is well built and comparatively clean. The population (8000) has contained few Moslems since the Moslem quarter was destroyed by Ibrahim Pasha, in revenge for the murder of one of his favourites, after the insurrection of 1834. The carving of crucifixes and other sacred mementoes gives employment to a large proportion of the population. In 1850 a dispute arose between France and Russia, in the name of the Latin and Greek Churches respectively, concerning the possession of the key of the chief door of the basilica, and concerning the right to place a silver star, with the arms of France, in the grotto of the Nativity. The Porte, after much futile temporizing, yielded to France. The disappointment thus inflicted on Russia was a determining cause of the outbreak of the Crimean War (see Kinglake, Invasion of the Crimea, chap. iii.). [There is a tiny village of the same name in Zebulun, 7 m. N.W. of Nazareth (Josh. xv. 19).]

See bibliography under Palestine. For the modern town see Palmer, “Das jetzige Bethlehem,” in the Zeitschrift of the Deutsche Palästina-Verein, xvii. p. 89.

 (R. A. S. M.) 

BETHLEHEM, a borough of Northampton and Lehigh counties, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on the N. bank of the Lehigh river, opposite South Bethlehem and 55 m. N. by W. of Philadelphia. Pop. (1890) 6762; (1900) 7293 (350 foreign-born); (1910) 12,837. It is served by the Central of New Jersey, the Lehigh & New England, the Lehigh Valley and the Philadelphia & Reading railways, and is connected by two long bridges with South Bethlehem. The borough lies on a ridge of ground commanding delightful landscape scenery extending north up the course of the river to the Blue Mountains 20 m. away. In Church Street and its vicinity still stand several specimens of the 17th-century style of architecture of eastern Germany. The same sect that erected these buildings, the Moravians, or United Brethren, maintain here the Moravian College and Theological Seminary, and a well-known school for girls (the Moravian Seminary), founded as a church boarding school in 1749 and reorganized in 1785, for girls of all denominations. During the War of Independence, from December 1776 to April 1777, and from September 1777 to April 1778, the old Colonial Hall in this seminary (built 1748) was used as a general hospital of the continental army. From its roof the famous Moravian trombones were long played on festal or funeral occasions, and later summoned the people to musical festivals. The Moravians have given Bethlehem a national reputation as a musical centre. Only a few years after the city was founded, Benjamin Franklin was strongly impressed with the fine music in its church, and towards the close of the 19th century a choir under the direction of the organist, J. Frederick Wolle, became widely known by rendering for the first time in America Bach’s St John Passion (in 1888), followed after short intervals by the St Matthew Passion, the Christmas Oratorio, the Mass in B Minor, and finally by an annual Bach festival continuing for three days, which was discontinued after Wolle’s removal to the university of California in 1905. Bethlehem has often been called the American Bayreuth. Among the borough’s industrial establishments, the manufactories of iron and steel are the most important, but it also manufactures brass, zinc, and silk and knit goods. The municipality owns and operates its waterworks. Bethlehem was founded by the Moravians, led by Count Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, shortly before Christmas in 1741, and the season of the year suggested its name; for the first century of its existence it was almost exclusively a settlement of that sect, and it is still their American headquarters. Bethlehem was incorporated as a borough in 1845. In 1904 the borough of West Bethlehem (pop. in 1900, 3465) was consolidated with Bethlehem.

See J. M. Levering, A History of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Bethlehem, 1903).

BETHLEHEMITES, a name borne at different times by three orders in the Roman Catholic Church. (1) A community of friars at Cambridge, in 1257, whose habit was distinguished from that of the ordinary Dominicans by a five-rayed red star (in reference to Matt. ii. 9 f). (2) An order of knighthood similar to the Knights of St John, established by Pius II. in 1459 to resist the inroads of the Turks. (3) The Bethlehemite Order of Guatemala, a nursing community founded in 1650 by Pedro Betancourt (d. 1667), extended by the brothers Rodrigo and Antonio of the Cross, and raised to an order by Innocent XI. in 1687. They wore a dress like that of the Capuchins, and Clement XI. in 1707 gave them the privileges of the mendicant orders. They spread throughout Central America and Mexico and as far south as Lima, and with the order of sisters, founded in 1668 by Anna Maria del Galdo, were conspicuous for their devotion during times of plague and other contagious diseases. This order became extinct about 1850. The name Bethlehemites has also sometimes been given to the Hussites of Bohemia because their leader preached in the Bethlehem church at Prague.

BETHLEN, GABRIEL (Gábor) (1580-1629), prince of Transylvania, the most famous representative of the Iktári branch of a very ancient Hungarian family, was born at Illyé, and educated at Szarhegy, at the castle of his uncle András Lázár. Thence he was sent to the court of Prince Zsigmond Báthory, whom he accompanied on his famous Wallachian campaign in 1600. Subsequently he assisted Stephen Bocskay to mount the throne of Transylvania (1605), and remained his chief counsellor. Bethlen also supported Bocskay’s successor Gabriel Báthory (1608-1613), but the prince became jealous of Bethlen’s superior abilities, and he was obliged to take refuge with the Turks.

  1. The country of Moab is clearly visible from around Bethlehem.