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Dear catholic.com visitors: This Catholic Answers website, with all its free resources, is the world’s largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. We receive no funding from the institutional Church and rely entirely on your generosity to sustain this website with trustworthy, accessible content. If every visitor this month donated $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. If you’ve never made a gift, now is the time. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar this week only. Thanks and God bless.

Aenon

Locality where John the Baptist baptized

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Aenon (Ainon; Vulgate, Aennon; Douay, Ennon), mentioned in John, iii, 23, as the locality where the forerunner of Christ baptized. It is described as being “near Salim” and as having “much water”. Where is it situated? Barclay’s hypothesis, which gratuitously identifies Salim with Jerusalem and selects the Wady Fara as the scene of the Baptist’s activity, is improbable. Nor should it be sought in the southern extremity of Palestine, where one would look in vain for “much water”. Conder and others favor Ainun, a village to the northeast of ancient Salim. This identification is also open to objections. Ainun is about as near to Nabulus (ancient Sichem) as it is to Salim. Since the former was the more important, we should rather expect the Evangelist to describe Aenon as being “near Sichem“. Moreover, according to this hypothesis, the place selected by the Baptist would have been in the very heart of Samaritan territory, which the Jews avoided, and, therefore, ill-suited for the missionary purpose of Christ’s precursor. The most probable opinion places Aenon in the valley of the Jordan, some two miles to the west of the stream and about seven miles to the south of Beisan (ancient Scythopolis). This site was on the confines of the Samaritan territory and on the road frequented by the Galileans. Van de Velde found a Salim in this place, and close by there are seven wells—”much water”. Eusebius, St. Jerome, and St. Silvia saw the ruins of Salim, and there a guide pointed out to them the place where John baptized.

E. HEINLEIN


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