Now, based on geo-historical and archaeological considerations, Prof. Shimon Gibson, renowned biblical scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has a new argument: likely al-Mahgtas (Bethabara), certainly not Yardenit, but possibly neither.The geography is confusing, but I think it is as follows: al-Mahgtas is the traditional site of Jesus baptism on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River. On the other side is Qasr al-Yehud, mentioned briefly in the article. The latter, recently fully de-mined and re-opened, is also presented as the site of Jesus' baptism. There has been some friction over this issue.
This seems to be the first I have heard of Yardenit as another possible site. At least I haven't mentioned it.
I have no opinion about which site, if any, is the real one.
By the way, this comment is odd:
“Those belonging to the ‘Jesus group’ – since Christians only called themselves such from the fourth century – had two problems,” Gibson explains.According to Acts 11:26, the followers of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch, apparently during the lifetime of the Apostle Paul. In any case, the term must have been in use when Acts was written in the late first or early second century at latest. It also appears in 1 Peter 4:16. By the early second century, the Roman writes Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger were using it, as was the Christian writer Ignatius of Antioch.
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