Tuesday, June 17, 2014

בית עניא

Bethany (Aramaic: בית עניא, Beth anya, "house of misery/poverty"; Greek: Βηθανία) is recorded in the New Testament as the home of the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, as well as that of Simon the Leper. Jesus is reported to have lodged there after his entry into Jerusalem, and it could be from Bethany that he parted from his disciples at the Ascension.

The root meaning and origin of the name Bethany has been the subject of much scholarship and debate. William Hepworth Dixon devotes a multi-page footnote to it in his The Holy Land (1866), largely devoted to debunking the meaning "house of dates," which is attributed to Joseph Barber Lightfoot by way of a series of careless interpretative mistakes. Dixon quotes at length a refutation of Lightfoot's thesis in the form of a letter by Emanuel Deutsch of the British Museum, who notes that neither the name Bethany, nor any of the roots suggested by Lightfoot, appear anywhere in the Talmud. Deutsch suggests a non-Hebrew root, a word transcribed in Syriac script whose meaning he gives as "House of Misery" or "Poor-house."

This theory as to Bethany's etymology, which was eventually also adopted by Gustav Dalman in 1905, is not without challengers. For example, E. Nestle's Philologica Sacra (1896) suggests that Bethany is derived from the personal name Anaiah, while others have suggested it is a shortened version of Ananiah, a village of Bethel mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah (11:32). Since Greek can neither reproduce an 'h' sound nor the Hebrew harsh 'ch' sound (cheth) in the middle of a word, a derivation from the personal name Chananya ("Yah has been gracious") is also possible. Another suggestion, arising from the presence of nearby Bethphage ("house of unripe figs"), is that its name comes from beit hini, meaning "house of figs".

Deutsch's thesis, however, seems to also be attested to by Jerome. In his version of Eusebius' Onomasticon, the meaning of Bethany is defined as domus adflictionis or "house of affliction." Brian J. Capper writes that this is a Latin derivation from the Hebrew beth 'ani or more likely the Aramaic beth 'anya, both of which mean "house of the poor" or "house of affliction/poverty," also semantically speaking "poor-house." Capper concludes, from historical sources as well as this linguistic evidence, that Bethany may have been the site of an almshouse.

According to Capper and Deutsch before him, there are also linguistic difficulties that arise when the Anaiah/Ananiah, "house of figs" or "house of dates" theses are compared against the bethania form used in Greek versions of the New Testament. Additionally, the Aramaic beit 'anya is the form used for Bethany in Christian Palestinian and Syriac versions of the New Testament. Given this, and Jerome's familiarity with Semitic philology and the immediate region, Capper concludes that the "house of affliction" / "poor-house" meaning as documented by Jerome and in the Syriac New Testament usage is correct, and that this meaning relates to the use of the village as a centre for caring for the sick and aiding the destitute and pilgrims to Jerusalem.

It may be possible to combine the Ananiah (as a personal name) and "house of the poor" derivations, since the shortening of Ananiah ("Yah has intervened") to Anya is conceivable though unattested (cf. the common shortening of Yochanan [and perhaps also Chananyah?] to Choni), whence a typical Semitic wordplay might arise between Anya as a shortening of the personal name within the name of the village and as Aramaic for "poor". Such a wordplay may have served the choice of the village as the location for an almshouse.

Bethany and care of the poor and sick

Capper and others have concluded that ancient Bethany was the site of an almshouse for the poor and a place of care for the sick. There is a hint of association between Bethany and care for the unwell in the Gospels: Mark tells of Simon the Leper's house there (Mark 14:3-10); Jesus receives urgent word of Lazarus' illness from Bethany (John 11:1-12:11).

According to the Temple Scroll from Qumran, three places for the care of the sick, including one for lepers, are to be located to the east of Jerusalem. The passage also defines a (minimum) radius of three thousand cubits (circa 1,800 yards) around the city within which nothing unclean shall be seen (XLVI:13-18). Since Bethany was, according to John, fifteen stadia (about 1.72 miles) from the holy city,[10] care for the sick there corresponded with the requirements of the Temple Scroll (the stadion being ideally 600 feet (180 m) or 400 cubits[11]). Whereas Bethphage is probably to be identified with At-Tur, located on the peak of the Mount of Olives with a magnificent view of Jerusalem, Bethany lay below to the southeast, out of view of the Temple Mount, which may have made its location suitable as a place for care of the sick, "out of view" of the Temple.

From this it is possible to deduce that the mention of Simon the Leper at Bethany in Mark's Gospel suggests that the Essenes, or pious patrons from Jerusalem who held to a closely similar view of ideal arrangements, settled lepers at Bethany. Such influence on the planning of Jerusalem and its environs (and even its Temple) may have been possible especially during the reign of Herod the Great (36-4 B.C.), whose favour towards the Essenes was noted by Josephus (Antiquities 15.10.5 [373-8]).

Reta Halteman Finger approves Capper's judgment that only in the context of an almshouse at Bethany, where the poor were received and assisted, could Jesus remark that "The poor you will always have with you" (Mark 14:7; Matthew 26:11) without sounding callous. Ling follows Capper's thesis concerning the connection between then place-name Bethany and the location there of an almshouse. Capper and Ling note that it is only in Bethany we find mention of the poor on the lips of the disciples, who object that the expensive perfumed oil poured over Jesus there might have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor (Mark 14:5; Matthew 26:8-9; John 12:4-6 [where the objection is made by Judas]); this objection may have been made in embarrassment and may also suggest a special connection between Bethany and care for the poor.

It has also been suggested, based on the names found carved on thousands of ossuaries at the site, that Bethany in the time of Jesus was settled by people from Galilee who had come to live by Jerusalem. This would explain why Jesus and the disciples, as Galileans, would find it convenient to stay here when visiting Jerusalem.  As Capper writes,

Galilean pilgrims avoided potential conflict with Samaritans by travelling south on the eastern side of the Jordan. Bethany was the last station on their route to Jerusalem after crossing the river and taking the road through Jericho up into the highlands. A respectful distance from the city and Temple, and on the pilgrim route, Bethany was a most suitable location for a charitable institution. It is not surprising that an Essene hospice had been established at Bethany to intercept and care for pilgrims at the end of the long and potentially arduous journey from Galilee. The house combined this work with care for the sick and destitute of the Jerusalem area. Thus Bethany received its name because it was the Essene poorhouse par excellence, the poorhouse which alleviated poverty closest to the holy city.

The village of Bethany is referenced in relation to five incidents in the New Testament, in which the word Bethany appears 11 times:

In Luke 10:38-42, a visit of Jesus to the home of Mary and Martha is described, but the village of Bethany is not named (nor whether Jesus is even in the vicinity of Jerusalem).

It seems to me that “House of Misery” or “The Poor-house” is the best translation of Bethany. However, someone proposes another theory-translating it as “house of the ship”!

Bethabara (/bɛθˈæbərə/ beth-AB-ər-ə; בית עברה; bēth‛ăbhārāh; Βηθαβαρά; Bēthabará; “house of the ford, place of crossing”), in modern-day Jordan: According to the King James Version (following Textus Receptus of the New Testament the place where John the Baptist baptized those who came to him (John 1:28). The Revised Version (British and American) (with Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek following Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi) reads "Bethany." It is distinguished from the Bethany of Lazarus and his sisters as being beyond the Jordan. The reading Bethabara became current owing to the advocacy of both Origen., and John Chrysostom, and that same Bethabara is attested in both the 6th century AD Madaba Map and in the Jewish Talmud. Various suggestions have been made to explain the readings. G. A. Smith (HGHL) suggests that Bethany (house of the ship) and Bethabara (house of the ford) are names for the same place. Bethabara has also been identified with Bethbarah, which, however, was probably not on the Jordan River but among the streams flowing into it (Judges 7:24). It is interesting to note that the Greek Septuagint Codex Vaticanus (LXXB) reads, Baithabara for Hebrew Masoretic Text Bēth-‛ărābhāh, one of the cities of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22). If this is correct, the site is in Judea.

Another solution is sought in the idea of a corruption of the original name into Bethany and Bethabara, the name having the consonants n, b and r after Beth. In Joshua 13:27 (Septuagint, Codex Vaticanus) we find, Baithanabra for Bethnimrah (Massoretic Text), and Sir George Grove in Dictionary of the Bible (arts. "Bethabara" and "Beth-nimrah") identifies Bethabara and Beth-nimrah. The site of the latter was a few miles above Jericho (see Beth-nimrah), immediately accessible to Jerusalem and all Judea (compare Matthew 3:5; Mark 1:5). This view has much in its favor.

Then, again, as G. Frederick Wright observes: "The traditional site is at the ford east of Jericho; but as according to John 1:29, John 1:35, John 1:43 it was only one day's journey from Cana of Galilee, while according to John 10:40; John 11:3, John 11:6, and John 11:17, it was two or three days from Bethany, it must have been well up the river toward Galilee. Conder discovered a well-known ford near Beisan called Abarah, near the mouth of the valley of Jezreel. This is 20 miles from Cana and 60 miles from Bethany, and all the conditions of the place fit in with the history."

Here are ten things you need to know about Turkey By Claire Berlinski

1. On March 27, the government of Turkey blocked YouTube, less than a week after blacking out Twitter. Ostensibly, this was to prevent the spread of videos that are said to feature the voices of Turkey’s foreign minister, intelligence chief, and a top army general proposing to send the Turkish military into Syria to protect the tomb of Suleiman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty.

2. If these tapes are real, Turkey has been considering staging an attack on itself as a pretext to intervene in Syria. Turkey is a member of NATO. Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty establishing the alliance states that members will treat an attack against one member as an attack against all and respond accordingly—up to and including the use of armed force. Were NATO to provide assistance to Turkey, the consequences could be apocalyptic. Among other things, Russia would certainly see this as a NATO aggression.

3. Turkey’s ruling AKP is facing a disaster in Syria. Turkey’s battle with the radical Kurdish-separatist PKK has claimed as many as 40,000 lives since the 1980s.

When Assad pulled his forces away from the border, the PYD (the Syrian analogue to the PKK) assumed control over the Kurdish majority regions, prompting Ankara to attempt to counter them by arming radical Islamist groups and opening its borders to foreign fighters.

The Turks presumed Assad would be toppled quickly, which proved false.

As a result, Turkey now faces both an infuriated Assad and a serious threat from groups like Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).

Following the seizure by ISIS of the Azaz border gate, Ankara reversed course, freezing Al Qaeda bank accounts and shelling ISIS strongholds along the border. But the damage can’t easily be undone.

In conjunction with a vast influx of Syrian refugees, this is now by far the most serious security problem Turkey faces. Since Turkey is in NATO, this is NATO’s problem, too.

4. Of late, Erdoğan’s struggle for power with Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric who leads a powerful transnational Islamist movement and is a major player in the American charter school movement, has become increasingly vicious. It has recently taken the form of a massive corruption probe into government officials, with wiretaps leaked daily that appear to incriminate the prime minister and everyone around him in a three-ring circus of malfeasance, skullduggery, and theft.

The leaks are widely, and for good reason, understood to be a form of retaliation by the Gülenists, who are well represented within the police and judiciary.

Erdoğan has countered by stifling journalists, firing or reassigning thousands of police officers, consolidating his control of the judiciary, and shutting down social media sites in a vain attempt to plug the leaks.

5. Gülen presides over a huge informal network of schools, think tanks, businesses, and media across five continents. His network in Turkey until recently worked in close alliance with Erdoğan as he neutralized the opposition, particularly in the military.

Gülen’s enthusiasm for illegal wiretapping and leaking didn’t bother Erdoğan when it worked in his favor. Nor did Erdoğan’s demagoguery and propensity to suppress speech bother the Gülenists.

6. The leaked recordings (which have not been independently verified) feature a voice, purportedly Erdoğan’s, dictating news headlines, choosing guests to appear on news shows, telling a media executive to reduce his coverage of the opposition, upbraiding another for using the word “corruption” in a news report, and calling his justice minister to discuss reversing a legal judgment in favor of a critical media firm.

7. One of the most explosive tapes, published on February 25, features conversation between voices alleged to be those of the prime minister and his son, Bilal. They are heard discussing how best to hide tens of millions of dollars in cash stored in the family home. The prime minister instructs his son to get rid of all the money, preferably after dark. His son says he has moved all but $41.6 million.

8. Erdoğan has accused foreign forces of inventing the corruption charges. As the corruption scandal broke, a newspaper known as a government organ splashed a photograph of the U.S. ambassador on its front page with the headline, “Get the hell out of this country!”

9. Local elections, on March 30, will be followed by Turkey’s first direct presidential election in 2014, and parliamentary elections in 2015. There is no reason to think these elections will bring stability, whatever the outcome.

The Gülenists will not be satisfied until Erdoğan is imprisoned or dead. A significant portion of the population will not believe the election results nor recognize any mandate Erdoğan claims.

10. There is good reason to be concerned about the fairness of the elections, and if not the fairness, the public’s perception of their unfairness. Given the new technology to be employed in the voting booths, the stakes, and the release of wiretaps suggesting Erdoğan’s willingness to break the law to suit his personal ends, it is unsurprising that many in Turkey are warning of the possibility of electoral fraud.

Should the elections be tainted by any hint of malfeasance, we should expect protests on the scale of those following Iran’s 2009 elections, and we should expect that they will be suppressed in much the same manner.

Claire Berlinski is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal magazine. She is an investigative journalist, travel writer, biographer, and novelist. She is a former resident of Istanbul.







Egyptian Islamists Murder Young Christian, After Dragging Her From Car April 1, 2014 - 4:24 AM – By Patrick Goodenough


CNSNews.com) – Eyewitnesses have given a harrowing account of the murder in Cairo of a young Coptic Christian woman, hauled out of her car and beaten and stabbed to death by a Muslim mob, apparently targeted because of a cross hanging from her rear-view mirror. The incident occurred in the Cairo suburb of Ain Shams after mosque prayer services on Friday, when police clashed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters angered by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to run for president. An eyewitness appearing on “90 minutes,” a program on the al-Mehwar satellite network, said 25-year-old Mary Sameh George was attacked in her car near a church, where she planned to deliver medicine to an ill and elderly woman. Protestors climbed onto her car, collapsing the roof, then hauled her from the vehicle, beating and mauling her – to the extent, he said, that portions of her scalp were torn off. She was stabbed multiple times, her throat was slit and when she was dead, the mob torched her car. One Coptic outlet said that according to the health ministry, the young woman had been stabbed at least a dozen times. The death of Mary Sameh George received little coverage in Egyptian newspapers. The state-owned Al Ahram daily, in a report on five people reported killed in various parts of Cairo on Friday among them a journalist who was shot dead, included one sentence saying, “A Coptic woman, Mary George, was reportedly stabbed to death by pro-Morsi supporters in the same area.”In a report on the death of the journalist, Daily News Egypt mentioned in passing that “Another woman, Coptic Christian Mary Sameh George, was stabbed to death in Ain Shams.”A wire service report quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying protesters had “stabbed a Christian woman to death,” and blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for Friday’s deaths. The Australian Coptic Movement Association condemned what it called the “callous, vicious and unprovoked” killing.“Mary George was targeted for her faith in what is becoming an increasingly intolerable and inhospitable region for Christians; given that Ain Shams is a known stronghold for the Muslim Brotherhood,” it said, appealing to the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.“The Egyptian government must send a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated and that the culprits will be held to account under the full force of the law,” the organization said. It also urged Western governments “to pay due attention to the extreme and violent agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Egypt’s Copts, comprising less than 10 percent of the population, have faced discrimination and varying levels of persecution since long before the Mubarak was overthrown in 2011. But the subsequent rise to power of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood was of particular alarm to the vulnerable minority, and many celebrated when the military ousted Morsi last July. The Coptic community was seen to be supportive of the military takeover, and some Morsi supporters vented their anger on Christians, with many churches coming under Islamist attack in an apparently coordinated campaign. The military-backed interim government has since cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, declaring it a terrorist group, putting its leaders on trial, and sentencing hundreds of Morsi supporters to death. When Sisi, the general was oversaw Morsi’s removal, confirmed last week what many had long suspected – that he plans to run for the presidency in elections scheduled for May, the pro-Morsi alliance known as “National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy” called for street protests after Friday prayers.“Let the million-man demonstration on Friday be great and remarkable,” the group said in an announcement on its Facebook page. “Let all those who are angry gather for a new phase which this nation needs.”In the light of the protests against Sisi’s announcement the U.S. Embassy in Cairo advised American citizens to “closely monitor events and scrutinize their movements closely through the week ending April 6.”They were warned to pay special attention to places where crowds gather, universities, and areas where protests are occurring, “as firearms have been used by and against protestors.” “Recent incidents continue to demonstrate that police and military personnel and facilities remain a target, thereby suggesting risk to U.S. citizens may be elevated at checkpoints and in areas where police and military congregate.” –

See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/egyptian-islamists-murder-young-christian-after-dragging-her-car#sthash.Sa9uW4wd.dpuf - See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/egyptian-islamists-murder-young-christian-after-dragging-her-car#sthash.Sa9uW4wd.dpuf

No comments: