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CAPERNAUM (Καφαρναούμ), a town of Galilee, situated on the northern shore of the Sea of Tiberias, frequently mentioned in the Gospel narrative, and so much resorted to by our Lord as to be called “His own city.” (St. Matth. ix.) It was situated on the borders of Zabulon and Naphthali, and is joined with Chorazin and Bethsaida in the denunciations of our Lord. (St. Matth. 11.23.) It is probably the Κεφαρνώμη of Josephus, to which he was carried when injured in a skirmish near the Jordan. (Vita, § 72.) The name, as written in the New Testament, occurs in Josephus only in connection with a fountain in the rich plain of Gennesareth, which he says was supposed. to be a branch of the Nile. (B. J. 3.9.8.) The fountain of this name has not unnaturally led some travellers to look for the town in the same plain as the synonymous fountain; and Dr. Robinson finds the site of Capernaum at Khan Minieh (vol. iii. pp. 288--294), and the fountain which Josephus describes as fertilising the plain, he finds at ‘Ain-et-Tîn, hard by the Khan, which rises close by the lake and does not water the plain at all. The arguments in favour of this site, and against Tell Hûm, appear equally inconclusive, and there can be little doubt that the extensive ruins so called, on the north of the lake, about two miles west of the embouchure of the Jordan, retain traces both of the name and site. As to the former, the Kefr (village) has been converted into Tell (heap) in accordance with fact, and the weak radical of the proper name dropped, has changed Nahum into Hûm, so that instead of “Village of Consolation,” it has appropriately become “the ruined heap of a herd of camels.” That Tell Hûm is the site described as Capernaum by Arculphus in the 7th century, there can be no question. It could not be more accurately described. “It was confined in a narrow space between the mountains on the north and the lake on the south, extending in a long line from west to east along the sea shore.” The remains of Roman baths and porticoes and buildings, still attest its former importance. (Described by Robinson, vol. iii. pp. 298, 299; see also Reland's Palestine, pp. 882--884.)


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