Re: Baptism of Jesus -- rival claims

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 12:18:08 EST

<x-flowed>At 00:52 28/02/00, Carlton Winbery wrote:
>I have no idea where such a verse is found, but some have some have
>identified SALIM in Jn 3:23 with a site east of the Jordan in the vicinity
>of wadi Harar

I have had an off-list reply which suggests:
<<This would also, it seems, be an unfortunate translation of a place name
"Bethany" [perhaps BYT (NYH] as "home of a poor woman," which is mentioned
in John 1.28 ("Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising"). <<

I feel sure -- given the notorious ease with which etymologies of
place-names can mislead -- that we have a reasonable explanation for the
suggestion by the Jordanian spokesman.

After all, as Raymond Brown noted on p. 45 of vol.1 of his " The Gospel
According to John.[ 2 vols. London: Geoffrey Chrapman, 1966.] there was at
one time considerable enthusiasm among some scholars for finding all kinds
of symbolic meanings in those Johannine place-names that could not be
identified as specific places. In the case of Jn. 1:28 and Bethany,
"Krieger suggests it derives from _bet aniyyah_ ' house of
response/witness. testimony ' a derivation which would make the name
appropriate for the place where John the Baptist gave testimony to Jesus."
and Brown drily notes that such imaginative symbolic interpretations have
been undermined by the demonstration that several Johannine place names (
as in the case of Bethesda ) have been shown to be factual.


Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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