Re: Bethania/Bethabara in Jn 1:28
- Frides Lameris wrote:
> I have sometimes read Bethania beyond Jordan (= a secondThis is correct.
> Bethania) has never existed or has never been found.
Origen (Jo Comm. book 6) reads:
"but they say that Bethabara (TA BHQABARA, plural!) is pointed out on the
banks of the Jordan, and that John is said to have baptized there."
(the "but they say" seems to point to a local tradition, which Origen
I find it quite interesting what Riesner suggests:
Riesner argues for BHQANIA = BATANEA (the region Batanaea). This
identification is as early as J. Lightfoot (1658).
There are two places that are relevant. One, called BHQABARA, is the place
of Jesus' baptism, which is at the traditional place. The other is the place
where John is questioned by the Pharisees in Jo 1:19-28. This is the
Batanaea in the north. Here John worked, too. The problem arose (according
to Riesner) due to the misunderstanding that in the following verses Jesus'
baptism is reported. This is not the case, John only gives an account of
what happened at an unknown time earlier. The time table and circumstances
in Jo 1 fit much better if everything happens in the north (compare Riesner,
Bethanien, p. 73ff.). It also fits good to the time table of Jo 11 (p. 71
Riesner suggests that the place "beyt abarah" originally indicated the
crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites and also the crossing of the Jordan
by Eliah and Elisah, so two crossings have been remembered here. This could
explain Origen's plural TA BHQABARA, a place of several fords.
R. Riesner "Bethanien jenseits des Jordan" Brunnen Verlag, Giessen, 2002
Of course we cannot know for sure. It should be noted that two of the very
best MSS we have for John (T and 083) read BHQABARA (against P75, B).
PS: I copy this to the John list, maybe they have something to contribute.
Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany