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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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SALIM.—Mentioned only John 3:23 ‘aenon near to Salim,’ to fix the place where John was baptizing, ‘because there was much water there.’ Scrivener’s edition of the Authorized Version gives as marginal references, ‘Genesis 33:18? or Joshua 15:23? or 1 Samuel 9:4?’; other editions only the last passage (where the text has Shalim, or rather Shaalim, in Heb. שׁעלים), the Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 only the first (margin). It is to be noticed that the former view is also that of Jerome, in his Liber interpret. Heb. Nom., when he writes: ‘Salim pugilli sive volae aut ortus aquarum, quod brevius graece dicitur βρύοντα’; pugilli and volœ = שׁעלים. And before Jerome, Origen also explained in a similar way (on John 10:39, p. 543 of the Berlin ed.): Αἰνὼν ὀφθαλμὸς βασάνου καὶ Σαλὴμ αὐτὸς ὁ ἀναβαίνων. In the Com. on John 3:23 the new edition has in the text Σαλίμ but thinks in the apparatus that Σαλήμ would perhaps be better. With the view of a plural agrees the fact that most Manuscripts spell the ending -ειμ, and not -ημ, as in the Complutensian Polyglott; the latter spelling (Σαλήμ) would favour identification with שָׁלֵם. In the article aenon (vol. i. p. 35), most of the topographical identifications proposed for these places are discussed. We may add that αινων η εγγυς του σαλιμ› is entered already on the mosaic map of Madeba on the left bank of the Jordan, and that the oldest and most explicit discussion of these sites is found in the pilgrimage of the so-called Silvia of Aquitania (or Etheria of Spain), about 385. A special monograph was published in 1903 by C. Mommert (aenon und Bethania die Taufstätten des Täufers, nebst einer Abhandlung über Salem die Königsstadt des Melchisedech, Leipzig), on which see G. H. Gilbert, AJTh [Note: JTh American Journal of Theology.] vii. 777; cf., further, Κλ. Μ. Κοικυλίδες: ὁ ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ τόπος τῆς βαπτίσεως τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ τὸ μοναστήριον τοῦ ἁγίου Προδρόμου (Jerusalem, 1905); also Löhr, ‘Wie stellt sich die neuere Palästinaforschung zu den geographischen Angaben des Johannesevangeliums,’ Deutsch-Evangelische Blätter, Dec. 1906.

When Silvia had finished Jerusalem, she wished to go ‘ad regionem Ausitidem’ to see ‘memoriam sancti Job.’ It took her eight days (mansiones) from Jerusalem to Carneas: ‘in quo itinere iens vidi super ripam Jordanis fluminis vallem pulchram satis et amœnam, abundantem vineis et arboribus, quoniam aquae multae ibi erant et optimae satis. Nam in ea valle vicus erat grandis qui appellatur nunc Sedima. In eo ergo vico, qui est in media planitie positus, in medio loco est monticulus non satis grandis, sed factus sicut solent esse tumbae, sed grandis: ibi ergo in summo ecclesia est.’ She inquires after the place, and receives the answer: ‘haec est civitas regis Melchisedech, quae dicta est ante Salem, unde nunc corrupto sermone, Sedima appellatur ipse vicus.’ For further details, amongst which is the statement that when people dig for foundations of new buildings, they find ‘aliquoties et de argento et aeramento modica frustella,’ the reader is referred to Silvia. She then remembered that in the Bible it was written: ‘Baptizasse sanctum Johannem in Enon juxta Salim.’ Therefore she inquired also after aenon, and was shown the place ‘in ducentis passibus … hortum pomarium valde amœnum, ubi ostendit nobis in medio fontem aquae optimae satis et purae, qui a semel integrum fluvium dimittebat. Habebat autem ante se ipse fons lacum, ubi parebat fuisse operatum sanctum Johannem baptistam. Tune dixit nobis ipse sanctus presbyter: In hodie hic hortus aliter non appellatur graeco sermone nisi eepos tu agiu Iohanni, id est quod vos dicitis latine “hortus sancti Johannis” ’ (for further particulars, see again the text). Going on for some time ‘per vallem Jordanis super ripam fluminis ipsius,’ the traveller sees after a little the town of the holy prophet Elia, ‘id est Thesbe,’ where his cave is, and also ‘memoria sancti Gethae,’ of whom we read in the Books of the Judges (this is, of course, Jephthah, and not Gad, as has been suggested by Mommert).

This localization of the two places agrees exactly with the statement of Eusebius that aenon was 8 miles south from Scythopolis (see vol. i. p. 35, and supply from the Berlin ed. p. 152, the reference to Procopins, who helps to fill up the lacuna in the Greek text with Σαλουμίας, just as Jerome reads). But instead of seeking the place west of the Jordan at Sheikh Salim, Mommert now seeks aenon east of it at ‘Ain Djirm (‘well of the leprosy’), at the foot of the hill ‘Scharabil,’ as he spells it, or ‘Scharhabît’ as it is spelt on the map of Fischer-Guthe, opposite to Tell Ridhgah, with which it has been identified hitherto.

We thus get the following identifications: (1) Tell Ridhgah, (2) Sharabil, (3) Salim east of Nâblus, (4) Wady Sulcim near Anata, (5) ‘Ain Karim, (6) Shilhim in the Negeb. A definite result has not been reached as yet; the identity of aenon and Bethany (John 1:28 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ) is not improbable.

Eb. Nestle.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Salim'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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