Notes On Biblical Geography -- By: Edward Robinson
Bsac 1:1 (Feb 1844) p. 217
Notes On Biblical Geography
Prof, of Bib. Lit. in the Union Theol. Sem. New York.
The evidence on which I was led to approve and maintain the identity of this metropolitan city with the ancient Betogabra, now Beit Jibrin, is fully detailed in the second volume of the Biblical Researches in Palestine. The ancient importance of this city led Eusebius and Jerome to make it the central point in Southern Palestine, by which to mark the
Bsac 1:1 (Feb 1844) p. 218
position of some twenty places in the same region, the direction and distance of which from Eleutheropolis they specify. Six of these places viz. Zorah, Bethshemesh, Jarmuk, Socoh, Jedna, and Nezih, lying in various directions from Eleutheropolis, the Rev. Mr. Smith and myself were able to identify; and following out the directions and distances as assigned by Eusebius and Jerome, they brought us in every instance to Beit Jibrin as the great central point. The conviction thus wrought on our minds as to the site of Eleutheropolis, was strengthened by several minor historical circumstances;1 and so strong was the proof, that the correctness of our position was at once admitted by all scholars.
But at the time, no direct historical testimony could be found, on which this identity could be distinctly noted. There was still wanting some indubitable evidence of this kind, out of a period when a knowledge of the identity in question could be presupposed as a matter of common notoriety. Such a testimony has since been found by Prof. Roediger of Halle, in the Acta Sanctorum Martyrum, published by Assemani in Syriae, Greek and Latin. The martyr Peter Abselama, it is there said in the Syriae account, was born at Anea, which lies in the district of Beth-Gubrin, ; which the Greek and Latin accounts both read, in the district of Eleutheropolis.2 This testimony seems decisive; and I know not what can be alleged against it.
More recently, K. von Raumer, in his Beitrage zur biblischen Geographic, has brought forward another corroborative proof of the same identity. It is derived from the comparison of two lists of ancient bishoprics in Palestine; one ascribed to Nilus Doxopatrius, a Greek writer who flourished in Sicily about A. D. 1143;3 the other said to be collected by Petrus Re-gemorterus, and appended to the History of William of Tyre. They are both found in Reland’s Palaestina, p. 219 sq. p. 225 sq.