Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary

By John J. Rousseau; Rami Arav | Go to book overview

Aenon and Salim

Aetheria (385–388 C.E.) reports that the cave was situated in a garden.


Importance

According to the Fourth Gospel, John baptized at Aenon near Salim while Jesus was in the Judean countryside.


Scripture Reference

John 3:23.


General Information

The exact location of Aenon is unknown. According to the Fourth Gospel, John continued baptizing there after Jesus’ baptism while Jesus was ministering in Judea and making converts in great numbers (John 3:26; 4:1). Eusebius mentions the place (Onomasticon 40:1–4), which he locates on the western side of the Jordan, as does Jerome (Epistle 73). The Madaba map indicates another location on the eastern side, opposite Bethabara (see BETHABARA). According to a Christian tradition dating from the sixth century and coming from the pilgrim guide Antonius and Cyrillus Scythopolitanus, there was a cave on the eastern location (named Saphsaphas or “Willow” on the Madaba map) where Jesus dwelt at the time of his baptism.


Archaeological Data

Several sites have been proposed for the locations of Aenon and Salim:

Tell Abu Sus, for Salim, 6 miles south of
Beth-Shean, the Scythopolis of Jesus’ time.
Tell er-Ridgah for Salim, south of Beth-
Shean; the name would be preserved in the
name of the Arab village Sheikh Salim.
Ainum, for Aenon, 8 miles northeast of
Nablus, near the source of Wadi Far’ah.
On the east side of the Jordan, at the ford of
Jericho, near the place where the cave is lo-
cated in the Wadi Kharrar; a church was
built there by Elias, bishop of Jerusalem
(494–518).

It is impossible, at this time, to determine the correct location of either Salim or Aenon.


Implications for Jesus Research

Jesus probably took shelter in caves (see GALILEAN and JUDEAN CAVES), although none can be specified except perhaps for the caves at the Mount of Olives. The tradition designating the cave of Wadi Kherrar as the place of Jesus’ shelter at the time of his baptism is not reliable because its first century origin cannot be ascertained. Such traditions are to be questioned (see BETHSAIDA and GOLGATHA, TRADITIONAL SITE) and it seems doubtful that Jesus and John would have stayed in Herod Antipas’ territory for a long period of time.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Albright, W. F. “Recent Discovery in Palestine and the Gospel of St. John.” The Background of the New Testament and its Eschatology, edited by W. D. Davies and D. Daube. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954:153–55.

Boismard, M. E. “Aenon près de Salim (Jean III, 23).” Revue Biblique 80 (1973): 218–29.

Conder, R. C. “On the Identification of Aenon.” Palestinian Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement (1874): 191–92.

Mackay, C. “Salem.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 80 (1948): 121–30.

-7-

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Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Map of Palestine Key v
  • Title Page ix
  • Contents xi
  • Foreword a Down-to-Earth Jesus xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • List of Abbreviations xx
  • List of Figures xxi
  • List of Tables xxiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Aenon and Salim 7
  • Agriculture, Cereals 8
  • Antonia, Pavement (Gabbatha, Lithostrotos) 12
  • Bethabara/Beth Araba/Bethany 14
  • Bethany 15
  • Bethlehem 16
  • Bethphage 18
  • Bethsaida 19
  • Boats 25
  • Caesarea Maritima 30
  • Caesarea Philippi (Banias) 33
  • Camps, Siege Banks 35
  • Cana 38
  • Capernaum (Capharnaum) [Hebrew, Kfar Nahum] 39
  • Cave of Letters 47
  • Chorazin 52
  • Coins and Money 55
  • Coins as Historical Documents 61
  • Construction, Cities 68
  • Crucifixion 74
  • Dead Sea Scrolls 78
  • Decapolis 85
  • Ephraim 87
  • Exorcism 88
  • Gadara, Kursi 97
  • Galilean Caves 99
  • Gamla, Gamala 100
  • Garden Tomb 104
  • Gennesareth (Hebrew, Ginosar) 109
  • Gethsemane 110
  • Golgotha, Traditional Site 112
  • Gospel of Thomas 118
  • Hebron 123
  • Herodium 124
  • Hippos/Susita 127
  • House 128
  • Jacob’s Well 131
  • Jericho 132
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s House 136
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s Tomb 139
  • Jerusalem, City of David, Ophel 142
  • Jerusalem, Gehenna, Akeldama 145
  • Jerusalem, Herodian 146
  • Jerusalem, Herod’s Palace 151
  • Jerusalem, Kidron 152
  • Jerusalem, Pool of Bethesda 155
  • Jerusalem, Streets and Stairs 161
  • Jerusalem, Tombs 164
  • Jerusalem, Upper City 169
  • Jerusalem, Upper Room 173
  • Jerusalem, Walls and Gates 175
  • Jerusalem, Water System 180
  • Jordan River, Fords 183
  • Judean Caves 185
  • Machaerus (Hebrew, Makhwar) 187
  • Magdala (Hebrew, Migdal; Aramaic, Migdal Nunya; Greek, Taricheae) 189
  • Magic, Miracles 190
  • Masada 195
  • Medicine, Physicians 199
  • Moses’ Seat 203
  • Mount Gerizim 206
  • Mount Hermon 208
  • Mount of Olives 210
  • Mount Tabor 212
  • Nain (Hebrew Naim) 213
  • Nazareth 214
  • Ointments, Perfumes 216
  • Olive Oil Industry 220
  • Pantera’s Tombstone 223
  • Pontius Pilate’s Stone 225
  • Pottery and Glass 227
  • Qumran 233
  • Ritual Baths (Miqvaoth) 236
  • Samaria, Samaritans 240
  • Sea of Galilee (Yam Kinneret) 245
  • Sepphoris (Hebrew, Zippori) 248
  • Shepherding 251
  • Slaves and Servants 253
  • Sodom and Gomorrah 257
  • Son of Man 259
  • Stone, Stoning 263
  • Sychar-Shechem 267
  • Synagogues 268
  • Tannery, Leather 273
  • Tax and Tax Collectors 275
  • Temple, History, Description 279
  • Temple, Royal Stoa 288
  • Temple, Sacrificial System 291
  • Temple, Service and Ritual 296
  • Temple, Solomon’s Portico 303
  • Temple, Stairs and Gates 304
  • Temple, Treasury 309
  • Temple, Trumpeting Place 311
  • Temple, Warning Signs 312
  • Textiles, Dyeing 313
  • Tiberias (Hebrew, Tveria) 316
  • Traditional Healing 318
  • Tunic without Seam, Dice 324
  • Tyre and Sidon 326
  • Viticulture 328
  • Weapons 332
  • Weights and Measures 336
  • Wood, Furniture 339
  • Tables 343
  • Historical Synopsis 357
  • Glossary 361
  • General Bibliography 365
  • Index of Scriptures Cited 369
  • Index of Early Jewish Writings Cited 379
  • Index of Ancient Writers Cited 382
  • Index of Names, Places, and Subjects 385
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