Re: Baptism of Jesus -- rival claims

From: Kevin P. Edgecomb (kedgecom@library.berkeley.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 20:31:58 EST


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>>>
Dear Maurice,
I would say 'rival claims' is a bit strong in this case. It depends, I
suppose, on which side of the river one would think baptizer and baptizee
stepped into the water!

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"). The
placing of this Bethany near the Jordanian site has a long tradition, with
a couple of monasteries and churches in the area, and some support from the
Madaba map, as well.

There's one fairly good photo of this area of the map, here:
http://198.62.75.1/www1/ofm/fai/FAImpval.html
You can see a note near the point where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea
(with the fish charmingly turning back upstream!), placing Aenon on the
east side of the Jordan there, with perhaps a cave depicted, and then on
the west side Bethabara, labeled in red TO TOU AGIOU IWANNOU TOU
BAPTISMATOS, and clearly a church building depicted.

However, I forget where I read of the collocation of this Bethabara with
Bethany. Sorry about that!

--Kevin P. Edgecomb
UC Berkeley, California
<<<<<<

On his final point ( Bethabara ) I was able to point out that the Anchor
Bible Dictionary includes this:

"Because Origen could not find a location named Bethany on the E bank of
the Jordan, he opted for the reading of BeÁthabara in John 1:28, though
almost all of the mss of his time read Bethany (Comm. on John 6. 204)."

Maurice

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