pagan shrines in cliffs near
grotto of Pan at Banias
Latin: "Philip's city
City built by Herod's
on a large plateau at the foot of Mount Hermon where the
headwaters of the Jordan river emerge from a grotto. From
ancient times the place was the site of worship of pagan nature
gods, first Ba'al & then Pan. A grotto shrine dedicated to
Pan & the nymph Echo led the site to be called Paneas in
early Roman times [Banias in Arabic]. Herod built a temple dedicated to the Roman
there. But the city was a totally new foundation by Philip. The
fresh water pools, fertile environment, thousand foot elevation
& scenic vistas made it one of the most pleasant resorts in
Palestine. As a center for pagan worship, miles north of Galilee
& without Jewish settlements in the region, it is a puzzling
site for the gospels of Mark & Matthew to
locate the story of Peter's confession that Jesus was the
Anointed [Christos, Messiah].
2.168; 3.443, 510; 7.23.
_____, Life 52-59,
Mark 8:27-30 // Matt 16:13-20.
ruins of Caesarea Philippi at Banias
[public domain photo from Wikipedia
Perspective on the World of Jesus
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Mahlon H. Smith
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an American Theological
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