mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Tue Jul 11 15:13:49 EDT 2000
John Ronning argued (04 July 2000) that el-Bireh is a better candidate for
Bethel than Beitin:
"Khirbet el-Maqatir works well as Ai with Bethel at el Bireh,
(about two miles west) and Beth Awen at Beitin (about a mile
northwest). El Bireh as Bethel agrees with Eusebius'
location for Bethel as 12 (Roman) miles north of Jerusalem,
and Beitin as Beth Awen agrees with the Pilgrim of Bordeux'
location of Beth Awen as 1 mile north of Bethel...In light of the above, I
leave the reader to draw his own
conclusions about the quality of scholarship displayed..."
My research indicates that mainstream Humanist scholarship prefers to
identify el Bireh with Beeroth, a town of Benjamin (Joshua 9:17; 18:25; Sam
4:2 ff.; Ezra 2:25; Neh 7:29).
Ronning claims el-Bireh lies 12 Roman miles from Jerusalem. Contra Ronning's
assertion, others understand that el-Bireh lies only 9 Roman miles from
"Edward Robinson (1867:452-53) was the first modern scholar to propose that
Beeroth be identified with el-Bireh...He argued that this site not only has
toponymic support but fits Eusebius' description : "el-Bireh can be seen on
the right at about 7 miles distance from Jerusalem as one travels to Emmaus
via el-Jib." Albright suggested that tell en Nasbah, south of el-Bireh, is a
better candidate because it is closer to Jerome's mileage from Jerusalem.
After Elihu Grant found walls and pottery from the Bronze Age at el-Bireh
(at Ras et-Tahuneh, the the center of town), however, scholars returned to
Robinson's identification DESPITE THE FACT THAT EL-BIREH IS 9 ROMAN MILES,
NOT 7, FROM JERUSALEM."
(cf. ABD 1.646 David A. Dorsey, "Beeroth," 1992)
If Bethel lay 12 Roman miles from Jerusalem, then, obviously, Ronning's
assertions that el-Bireh is Bethel and that Ai is Khirbet el-Maqatir, just
don't hold up to scholarly enquiry. Perhaps Mr. Ronning could quote some
scholarly sources to back up his assertion that el-Bireh is indeed 12 Roman
miles from Jerusalem and not 9 Roman miles ?
All the best,
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg
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