( Bethania peran tou Iordanou ).
In the text of St. John's Gospel, i, 28, the author locates the event of Our Lord's baptism by St. John 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 Bethania , "Bethany". This reading is approved by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Westcott-Hort, and others. The uncial codices, C 2 , K, T, U, A, II, many minuscule codices, the Sinaitic Syriac, and Cureton's Syriac text have Bethabara . This reading was approved by Origen, Jerome, Eusebius, and Chrysostom. Origen, in his commentary on this place of St. John's Gospel, declares as follows: "We are not ignorant that in nearly all codices Bethany is the reading. But we were persuaded that not Bethany, but Bethabara 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 Bethshean. 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 transliteration of a Hebrew phrase meaning "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 Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online