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claim to have identified the location where Jesus performed various miracles

An investigator claims to have found the city of Bethsaida, the place where, according to biblical texts, Jesus fed thousands of people with two fish and five loaves, healed a blind man, and walked on water.

Jesus and the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. By Giovanni Lanfranco. Circa 1620-1623

The city is mentioned several times in the New Testament, as the home of disciples of Jesus: Philip, Andrew and Peter, and as the site where the Nazarene performed various miracles. History also tells us that Herod Philip rebuilt it and gave it the name Julias, in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. Pliny and Jerome, for their part, indicate that it was east of the Jordan.

References to Bethsaida disappear around the 3rd century AD. Its downfall was not at the hands of enemy forces, but earthquakes. In AD 363, a powerful earthquake struck Galilee, repeating the event two years later. Avalanches blocked the Jordan River, which, when it regained its course, flooded and blighted the plain where the aforementioned city was located, whose location has remained imprecise since then for archaeologists, historians and modern religious who have searched for it.

Now, after more than 30 years of research in the area, Professor Rami Arav thinks he has finally identified it.

Archaeological site of E-Tell

Arav, an expert on religions from the University of Nebraska, maintains that the location of the ancient locality is in the archaeological site of Et-Tell, located on the bank of the Jordan River.

During excavations carried out by archaeologists at Et-Tell, monumental fortifications, food warehouses, and the city gate, all built in the Iron Age, have been unearthed. These vestiges, according to the researchers, belong to the capital of the Geshur kingdom, which later became Bethsaida.

Ruins of the archaeological site of Et-Tell. In the center you can see a stela that has the god of the moon engraved

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According to Arav, in the Book of Joshua the cities surrounding the Sea of ​​Galilee are listed in a clockwise direction starting with the largest, called Zer, and Et-Ter is the largest site in the area.

Also, the researcher affirms that Zer is the original name of the ancient city, which in the Bible must have been translated as Tzed; the word means both ‘hunting’ and ‘fishing’ in Hebrew, and the name Bethsaida is believed to be derived from it.

Despite Arav’s claims, this is not the only existing hypothesis about the location of Bethsaida. For example, professors Steven Notley of Nyack College in New York and Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College (Israel) argue that the remains of Bethsaida are found at the archaeological site of El-Araj, located on the same bank as Et-Tell.

However, the professor points out that in El-Araj no material evidence of monumental constructions from the Iron Age has been found, so he maintains that this site was nothing more than a Roman camp.

Source: Haaretz


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