Excavators Suggest el-Araj was Bethsaida/Julias

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Excerpt For years the site of NT Bethsaida has been a matter of debate, with at least three different sites contending for the honor... Continue reading

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For years the site of NT Bethsaida has been a matter of debate, with at least three different sites contending for the honor. Et-Tell has been the frontrunner despite the numerous problems with this identification, including its distance from the Sea of Galilee, its elevation from the ancient level of the lake, and the lack of remains from the first century. Excavators at a competing site, el-Araj, have just announced that they believe they have identified the ancient city of Julias. Josephus writes that Herod Philip expanded the village of Bethsaida to create the Roman polis of Julias. The site is on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve. Archaeologists found a layer of Roman-era remains beneath the Byzantine level, which contained pottery sherds and coins dating from the first to third centuries AD. In addition, the remains of a Roman-style bathhouse were uncovered. Evidence was also discovered that this site, previously thought to be under water during the NT era, was actually near the shore and that the ancient sea level was 6 ft lower than most had believed. If further excavations confirm these findings, it may be that the site of Bethsaida/Julias – home to Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44, 12:21) – may have finally been found.

Off-site Links about These Findings:
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.805402
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-evidence-of-Lost-City-of-Julias-unearthed-near-Sea-of-Galilee-501701
- http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4999227,00.html
Links about the Identification of Bethsaida:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2012/09/14/Text-and-Tell-The-Excavations-at-Bethsaida.aspx
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/08/15/Three-Woes!.aspx
- http://www.bibleplaces.com/bethsaida/

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