A titular see in Pa1æstina Prima, suffragan of Cæsarea. It is mentioned for the first time in 166-165 B.C., when Judas Machabeus defeated there the army of Gorgias ( 1 Maccabees 3:40 , 4:25 ). A little later the Syrian general Bacchides fortified and garrisoned it (Josephus, Ant. Jud., XIII, i, 3). In A.D. 4, during the rebellion of Athrongius against the Romans, the inhabitants left their city, which was, nevertheless, destroyed by Varus (Joseph us, "Ant. Jud." XVII, x, 7 9; Idem, "Bel. Jud.", II, iv, 3). It soon rose again, for Josephus (Bel. Jud., III, iii, 5) and Pliny (Hist. nat., V, xiv) rank it amongst the "toparchies" of the country. Vespasian took it at the beginning of his campaign against the Jews, stationed a legion in the neighbourhood, and named it Nicopolis ( Sozomen, Hist. eccl., V, xxi). According to Eusebius and St. Jerome, this name was given to it only in 223, by Julius Africanus, its governor and most illustrious son, and this is the name commonly used by Christian writers. Here a spring in which Christ is said to have washed His feet, and which was reputed to cure all diseases, was closed up by order of Julian the Apostate ( Sozomen, Hist. eccl., V, xxi). Four Greek bishops are known, from the fourth to the sixth century ( Lequien, Or. christ., III, 593). At the beginning of the Arab conquest the plague broke out in the city, and the inhabitants fled; they must have soon returned, however, for Emmaus remained a very important town. It was the last station of the Crusaders on their way to Jerusalem in June, 1099. Eubel (Hierarch. cath., II, 223) has a list of eleven Latin titular bishops, but only for the fifteenth century. To-day 'Am'was (the native name) is a Mussulman village about eighteen miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Jaffa. There are still visible ruins of a beautiful basilica built in the fourth or the fifth century, and repaired by the Crusaders. Near 'Am'was, at El-Atroun, the Trappists founded a priory in 1890.
In the opinion of many 'Am'was is the Emmaus of the Gospel ( Luke 24:13-35 ), where Christ manifested Himself to two of His Disciples. Such is, indeed, the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem, attested as early as the fourth century by Eusebius of Cæsarea , Titus of Bostra, and St. Jerome, a tradition confirmed by all pilgrims, at least to the time of the Crusades ; it may even date back to the third century to Julius Africanus and Origen. It is also supported by many Biblical commentaries , some of which are as old as the fourth or the fifth century; in these the Emmaus of the Gospel is said to have stood at 160 stadia from Jerusalem, the modern 'Am'was being at 176 stadia. In spite of its antiquity, this tradition does not seem to be well founded. Most manuscripts and versions place Emmaus at only sixty stadia from Jerusalem, and they are more numerous and generally more ancient than those of the former group. It seems, therefore, very probable that the number 160 is a correction of Origen and his school to make the Gospel text agree with the Palestinian tradition of their time. Moreover, the distance of 160 stadia would imply about six hours' walk, which is inadmissible, for the Disciples had only gone out to the country and could return to Jersualem before the gates were shut ( Mark 16:12 ; Luke 24:33 ). Finally, the Emmaus of the Gospel is said to be a village, while 'Am'was was the flourishing capital of a "toparchy". Josephus (Ant. Jud., VII, vi, 6) mentions at sixty stadia from Jerusalem a village called Ammaus, where Vespasian and Titus stationed 800 veterans. This is evidently the Emmaus of the Gospel. But it must have been destroyed at the time of the revolt of Bar-Cocheba (A.D. 132 35) under Hadrian, and its site was unknown as early as the third century. Origen and his friends merely placed the Gospel Emmaus at Nicopolis, the only Emmaus known at their time. The identifications of Koubeibeh, Abou Gosh, Koulonieh, Beit Mizzeh, etc. with Emmaus, as proposed by some modern scholars, are inadmissible.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
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 in fifteen hardcopy 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.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
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