The Site Of Sodom -- By: Samuel Wolcott

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 025:97 (Jan 1868)
Article: The Site Of Sodom
Author: Samuel Wolcott


The Site Of Sodom

Rev. Samuel Wolcott

There is no site, ancient or modern, which combines all the elements of interest that belong to the site of Sodom and the other “cities of the plain,” whose destruction is recorded in the Book of Genesis. It has attracted, of late years, much laborious and learned investigation, but it is still invested with not a little mystery. The few remarkable facts of the .scriptural narrative and a few remarkable local phenomena open a wide range of speculation; but in some important points they furnish no determinate data. The few points which we shall seek to elucidate and establish are definite; and we have introduced the discussion here, not to propose

any new solution, but mainly to examine a new theory which has been propounded in Dr. Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible.

The author of this theory is George Grove, Esq., of Sydenham, England, a gentleman who stands in the front rank of biblical scholars. Of the nearly seventy eminent writers and critics, whose multifarious learning has made the Dictionary such an invaluable Thesaurus of scriptural knowledge, there is probably no single contributor to whom it owes so much as to the one whom we have named. The wonderful versatility and competency which he has shown in the discussion of archaeological, exegetical, geographical, geological, historical, and topographical questions, pertaining to the sacred oracles, have given his name authority in biblical matters. Dean Stanley gratefully availed himself of his careful revision, in the successive works which he has published relative to the Bible and the Orient; and any theory in the department of sacred history and geography, emanating from such a source, will command attention, and is entitled to respectful consideration.

Mr. Grove’s Theory

It has been the universal impression heretofore, that the condemned cities lay either in what is now the basin of the Dead Sea, or contiguous to its southern section; that Sodom especially, lay near its southern end, either on the site of its present bed, or adjacent to its shore. In opposition to tins universal belief, Mr. Grove puts forth the theory that these cities were in the present plain of the Jordan, north of the existing sea. He has brought it forward in four different Articles which he has written for the Dictionary, namely, “The Salt Sea,” “The Vale of Siddim,” “Sodom,” and, “Zoar,”1 all in the last volume of the English edition.

The reader will notice this peculiarity in these Articles namely, that the theory is repeatedly stated without qualification, or any apparent misgiving, and yet in a subsequen...

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