Background Bible Study

Ancient Caesarea Philippi
Ancient Manners and Customs, Daily Life, Cultures, Bible Lands

Map of the Upper Galilee Region in Ancient Israel
Map of Upper Galilee and the location of Ancient Paneas (Banias), Caesarea Philippi in Israel

In the winter before His death Jesus Christ brought His disciples to Caesarea Philippi where He revealed to His disciples for the first time that He was indeed the Jewish Messiah. The city of Caesarea Philippi, also known as ancient Paneas was situated way in the north about 30 miles past the Sea of Galilee on a terrace at the foot of Mount Hermon on its southern slope, about 1150 feet above sea level. The area had an unusually beautiful setting, it was very lush and full of life and it has always been one of the main sources of the Jordan River, Josephus saying that it was the chief source. The ancient Canaanites built a sanctuary to Baal at Paneas, the Greeks and Romans both built sanctuaries there because of the cave of Pan. Inside the cave was a seemingly bottomless pit with an unlimited quantity of water which made the pagans marvel.

Paneas was a peculiarly remarkable place in its natural appearance with a sweeping view of the upper Jordan River Valley. Josephus considered it the main source of nthe Jordan River, and the ancient Greeks claimed the water that fed the Jordan actually flowed from the nearby cave. Later Josephus reported that an earthquake altered the area so the water source changed to underground springs in front of the cave. The area produced a lush oasis of life and overlooked the very fertile northern portion of the Jordan River Valley. It was located near the city of Dan 4 miles to the east near a trade road coming from the western Phoenician ports of Tyre and Sidon, to Damascus which was about 40 miles to the northeast.

The Place of Jesus' Great Revelation
Caesarea Philippi was mentioned only twice in the Bible, both referring to the same event where Jesus chose to reveal to His disciples that He was the Messiah. He also announced His coming death in Jerusalem and the end of His earthly ministry and beginning of theirs. It is a mystery why Jesus shose this place to reveal who He was to His disciples, so far north of the Sea of Galilee, yet there are some interesting clues. Caesarea Philippi was the location the Cave of Pan, the place of the pagan Gate of Hades. It was in this area that the first king of Israel (Jeroboam) led the northern kingdom of Israel into idolatry. This was also the same place where the Greeks and Romans received revelations from the god Pan who was mentioned in classical writings as a "seer" or fortune teller and a giver of revelations. At Caesarea Philippi Jesus turned to His disciples and asked them who the multitudes thought He was. They responded that some thought He was John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus asked them who they thought He was and Peter answered, "you are the Christ the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:15-16). Jesus blessed Peter and revealed to them "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

Painting of the Sanctuary of Pan in the First Century AD.

Reconstruction Drawing of the Sanctuary of Pan at the site of Ancient Paneas, Caesarea Philippi
Reconstruction Painting of the Sanctuary of Pan at the site of Ancient Paneas, Caesarea Philippi in Israel

In this Painting of the First Century Sanctuary of Pan there is depicted from left to right:
1. The Temple of Augustus Called the Augusteum (On the Left)
2. The Grotto or Cave of the God Pan (Behind the Temple of Augustus)
3. The Court of Pan and the Nymphs (To the Right of the Temple of Augustus)
4. The Temple of Zeus (In the Middle)
5. The Court of Nemesis (To the Right of the Temple of Zeus)
6. The Tomb Temple of the Sacred Goats (Upper Right)
7. The Temple of Pan and the Dancing Goats (Bottom Right)

The Cave of Pan

The Cave of Pan (or Grotto of Pan) was amazing because of many reasons, the waters flowed out of the cave and fed the Jordan River, there was a bottomless pit inside that contained so much water that it could not be measured. The place was so striking that it impressed Alexander the Great, and the Greeks built a sanctuary there. Natural features not only impressed the Greeks but they believed them to be a dwelling place of the gods, and nothing produced more awe and terror than a place identified as a cave where the god Pan dwelt. He was responsible for the scary noises in the forest and many mysteries were associated with him that brought great fear. The Romans were heavily influenced by the Greeks and they followed many of their religious traditions. Today the cave can be seen by any tourist in Israel.

The Cave in Modern Times

Image of Caesarea Philippi showing the cave and the underground waters feeding the Jordan River.
Waters flowing from underground with the cave in the background. (Enlarge)

Josephus on the Cave at Paneas, Caesarea Philippi

"So when he had conducted Caesar to the sea, and was returned home, he built him a most beautiful temple, of the whitest stone in Zenodorus's country, near the place called Panium (Panias, Caesarea Philippi). This is a very fine cave in a mountain, under which there is a great cavity in the earth, and the cavern is abrupt, and prodigiously deep, and full of a still water; over it hangs a vast mountain; and under the caverns arise the springs of the river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a very remarkable one, still further by the erection of this temple, which he dedicated to Caesar." - Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 15,10,3

"And when Caesar had further bestowed upon him another additional country, he built there also a temple of white marble, hard by the fountains of Jordan: the place is called Panium (Panias, Caesarea Philippi), where is a top of a mountain that is raised to an immense height, and at its side, beneath, or at its bottom, a dark cave opens itself; within which there is a horrible precipice, that decends abruptly to a vast depth: it contains a mighty quantity of water, which is immovable; and when anybody lets down anything to measure the depth of the earth beneath the water, no length of cord is sufficient to reach it. Now the fountains of Jordan rise at the roots of this cavity outwardly; and, as some think, this is the utmost origin of Jordan." - Josephus, Wars of the Jews 1,21,3

Coin of the Sanctuary of Pan in the First Century AD.

Pan in his Shrine at Ancient Paneas, Caesarea Philippi
Judaea Caesarea Panias Bronze Coin from the First Century AD. Many of the coins of Paneas were connected with Pan.

Modern Description of the Site in Israel

Israeli Text at Baneas, Caesarea Philippi
Click the above image to read Israeli description.


From Dan to Beersheba

The Bible says that the prophet Samuel was known in Israel from "Dan to Beersheba", which was a way of saying from north to south, or all the land of Israel.

1 Samuel 3:19-20 "And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD."

Judges 20:1 "Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh."

The city of Dan was located far in the north and very close to Caesarea Philippi, Dan is only a few miles from Banias and about 40 miles away from the Syrian City of Damascus.

Dan

In the history of Israel Dan was the place where Jeroboam I, the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel offered sacrifices to a golden calf and led Israel into idolatry (1 Kings 12:26-28).

Herod the Great and Paneas

In 20 BC Augustus gave Herod the Great control over the area of Paneas. This was no doubt associated astrology and the god Pan who was identified with the Roman "Capricorn" whom Augustus was given over to because of the fortune telling of his destiny seen in his horoscope by Theogenes in the writings of Suetonius (Life of Augustus 'Vita Augusti' 94.12).

Josephus said: "Caesar bestowed his [Zenodorus’] country, which was no small one, upon Herod; it lay between Trachon and Galilee, and ontained Ulatha, Paneas, and the country round about. He also made him one of the procurators of Syria, and commanded that they should do everything with his approbation…" Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 15.10.3.

Herod built a city at Paneas around the country Shrine to Pan called the Paneion which was a center of religious worship.

The Augusteum

In 19 BC Herod built the Augusteum, a magnificent white marble temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar in front of the Cave of Pan. (See above image).

Josephus said, "So when he [Herod] conducted Caesar to the sea, and was returned home, he built him a most beautiful temple, of the whitest stone, in Zenodorus’s country, near the place called Panlure [Banias]….Herod adorned this place, which was already a very remarkable one, still further by the erection of this temple, which he dedicated to Caesar" Josephus, Antiquities 15.10.3.

Herod and Philip the Tetrarch and Caesarea Philippi

When Herod I the Great died in 4 BC the area was passed on to his son Philip the Tetrarch. He was made ruler over the regions of Gaulinitis, Trachonitis, Batanea, and Aurinitis. Paneas was located in the region of Batanea. Philip the Tetrarch rebuilt the city of ancient Paneas and made it much more large and beautiful, and he changed its name to Caesarea Philippi, to honor the Emperor Tiberius Caesar and his own name Philip. Philip made it his capital and ruled the area until 33 AD. He depicted the Shrine of Pan on his coins some of which have survived.

Josephus said, "Philip had also built Paneas, a city at the fountains of the Jordan, he named it Caesarea." Josephus, Antiquities 18.1.

Titus and His Armies Camp and Slaughter Jews at Caesarea Philippi

Later Titus camped with their armies at Caesarea Philippi during the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 AD.

Josephus said: "Now at the same time that Titus Caesar lay at the siege of Jerusalem, did Vespasian go on board a merchantship and sailed from Alexandria to Rhodes; whence he sailed away, in ships with three rows of oars; and as he touched at several cities that lay in his road, he was joyfully received by them all, and so passed over from Ionia into Greece; whence he set sail from Corcyra to the promontory of Iapyx, whence he took his journey by land. But as for Titus, he marched from that Caesarea which lay by the sea-side, and came to that which is named Caesarea Philippi, and stayed there a considerable time, and exhibited all sorts of shows there. And here a great number of the captives were destroyed, some being thrown to wild beasts, and others in multitudes forced to kill one another, as if they were their enemies." Josephus Wars 7.2.1

Again Josephus reports: "While Titus was at Caesarea (Philippi), he solemnized the birthday of his brother Domitian after a splendid manner, and inflicted a great deal of the punishment intended for the Jews in honor of him; for the number of those that were now slain in fighting with the beasts, and were burnt, and fought with one another, exceeded two thousand five hundred. Yet did all this seem to the Romans, when they were thus destroyed ten thousand several ways, to be a punishment beneath their deserts. Josephus Wars 7.3.1

Banias Today

Today the site of ancient Caesarea Philippi is the modern city of Banias. Banias is located on a highway that connects the city of Acre on the Mediterranean Sea with Damascus in Syria. Since there is no "P" sound in Arabic the site was called 'Banias". There is a nearby waterfall which has depicted the lush scenary in the area.

Banias is an archaeological site by the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. Wikipedia

Paneas

Paneas was the ancient Greek name of Caesarea Philippi, its modern name is Banias.

Pan in Greek Mythology

Paneas was named after the god Pan in Greek mythology, the son of Hermes who played the pipes. His appearance was like a man with a goats legs, a tail, and sometimes horns. He was also known to make scary noises in the forests.

Mount Hermon

Mount Hermon is 9100 feet above sea level and is the highest mountain in Israel, and it is also the highest mountain in Syria. Most of the year Mount Hermon can be seen with snow on its peak. Below the snow line there were forests with bears leopards and wolves, with pine trees and oak trees. The word "Hermon" in Hebrew means a sanctuary, and today the Arabs refer to it as "Jebel esh-Sheikh" which means the chief mountain. Near the slopes of mount Hermon there are two major sources that form the Jordan River in the north flowing southward all the way to the Dead Sea.

Today in Israel at the site of Banias there are underground springs that gush forth producing a marvelous spectacle of lush life. There is also a beautiful waterfall nearby. Mount Hermon is not mentioned very often in the Bible but specifically in Deuteronomy 3:8,9; Psalm 89:12; Psalm 133:3; Song of Songs 4:8.

The transfiguration happened either on Mount Hermon or on nearby Mount Tabor which was seven miles to the south of Caesarea Philippi. There are many reasons to believe that it took place at Mount Hermon. For example, the connection to Hermes the father of Pan, the history of the Canaanites with Mount Hermon, stories in Jewish apocryphal literature such as the Book of I Enoch 12-16 and the Testament of Levi 2-7 which are very similar to Matthew's account, very interesting to read nonetheless. According to the Book of Enoch, the peak of Mount Hermon was the spot where the fallen angels first touched the earth when they were cast out of heaven.

"There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." Matthew 17:2

Jesus and Caesarea Philippi

It was here at Caesarea Philippi that Jesus chose to reveal who He was, and His plans to build His Church.

Matthew 16:13-16 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

The Seleucids Defeated the Ptolomies at Paneas

It was here that the Seleucid king Antiochus III "the Great" defeated Ptolomy V Epiphanes of Egypt in 200 BC and Israel passed into the hands of the Seleucids.

Mark Twain when he visited Banias in 1867

"There are the massive walls of a great square building that was once the citadel; there are many ponderous old arches that are so smothered with debris that they barely project above the ground; there are heavy-walled sewers through which the crystal brook of which Jordan is born still runs; in the hill-side are the substructions of a costly marble temple that Herod the Great built here—patches of its handsome mosaic floors still remain; there is a quaint old stone bridge that was here before Herod's time, may be; scattered every where, in the paths and in the woods, are Corinthian capitals, broken porphyry pillars, and little fragments of sculpture; and up yonder in the precipice where the fountain gushes out, are well-worn Greek inscriptions over niches in the rock where in ancient times the Greeks, and after them the Romans, worshipped the sylvan god Pan. But trees and bushes grow above many of these ruins now." Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad: or, The New Pilgrims’ Progress, Volume 2 (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1911), 220-21.

Map of Ancient Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi in Smith's Bible Dictionary
Caesarea Philippi is mentioned only in the first two Gospels, Mt 16:13; Mr 8:27 and in accounts of the same transactions. It was at the easternmost and most important of the two recognized sources of the Jordan, the other being at Tel-el-Kadi. The spring rises from and the city was built on a limestone terrace in a valley at the base of Mount Hermon 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. It was enlarged by Herod Philip, and named after Caesar, with his own name added to distinguish it from Caesarea. Its present name is Banias, a village of some 50 houses, with many interesting ruins. Caesarea Philippi has no Old Testament history, though it has been not unreasonably identified with Baal-gad. It was visited by Christ shortly before his transfiguration, Mt 16:13-28 and was the northern limit of his journeys. Mr 8:27  Read Full Article

Caesarea Philippi in the ISBE Bible Encyclopedia
Caesarea Philippi (fi-lip'-i) (Kaisareia he Philippou). At the Southwest base of Mt. Hermon, on a rocky terrace, 1,150 ft. above sea-level, between Wady Khashabeh and Wady Za`areh, lie the ruins of the ancient city. It was a center for the worship of Pan: whence the name Paneas, applied not only to the city, but to the whole district (Ant., XV, x, 3). It is possible that this may have been the site of ancient Baal-hermon; while Principal G. A. Smith would place Dan here (HGHL, 480). The district was given by Augustus to Herod the Great 20 BC, by whom a temple of white marble was built in honor of the emperor. Paneas formed part of the tetrarchy of Philip. He rebuilt and beautified the town, calling it Caesarea as a compliment to Augustus, and adding his own name to distinguish it from Caesarea on the coast of Sharon (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1; BJ, II, ix, 1). From Bethsaida Jesus and His disciples came hither, and on the way Peter made his famous confession, after which Jesus began to tell them of His coming passion (Mt 16:13 ff; Mk 8:27 ff). Some think that on a height near Caesarea Philippi Jesus was transfigured. See TRANSFIGURATION, MOUNT OF. Agrippa II renamed the town Neronias (Ant., XX, ix, 4). The ancient name however outlived both Caesare a and Neronias, and survives in the Arabic form Banias. The modern village, built among the ruins, contains 350 inhabitants. The walls and towers of which the remains are seen date from Crusading times. The castle, ec-Cubeibeh, crowns the hill behind the town, and must have been a place of strength from the earliest times. Its possession must always have been essential to the holding of the valley to the west. Immediately to the north of the town, at the foot of a steep crag, the fountain of the Jordan rises. Formerly the waters issued from a cave, Magharet ras en-Neba`, "cave of the fountain head," now filled up with debris. Two niches cut in the face of the rock recall the idolatries practiced here in olden times. A shrine of el-Khudr stands on the west of the spring. With the rich soil and plentiful supplies of water, in a comparatively temperate climate, average industry might turn the whole district into a garden. As it is, the surroundings are wonderfully beautiful.   Read Full Article

Caesarea Philippi in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Caesarea Philippi was a city on the northeast of the marshy plain of el-Huleh, 120 miles north of Jerusalem, and 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, at the "upper source" of the Jordan, and near the base of Mount Hermon. It is mentioned in Matt. 16:13 and Mark 8:27 as the northern limit of our Lord's public ministry. According to some its original name was Baal-Gad (Josh. 11:17), or Baal-Hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23), when it was a Canaanite sanctuary of Baal. It was afterwards called Panium or Paneas, from a deep cavern full of water near the town. This name was given to the cavern by the Greeks of the Macedonian kingdom of Antioch because of its likeness to the grottos of Greece, which were always associated with the worship of their god Pan. Its modern name is Banias. Here Herod built a temple, which he dedicated to Augustus Caesar. This town was afterwards enlarged and embellished by Herod Philip, the tetrarch of Trachonitis, of whose territory it formed a part, and was called by him Caesarea Philippi, partly after his own name, and partly after that of the emperor Tiberius Caesar. It is thus distinguished from the Caesarea of Israel.   Read Full Article

Caesarea Philippi in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Caesarea Philippi. Anciently Paneas or Panium (from the sylvan god Pan, whose worship seemed appropriate to the verdant situation, with groves of olives and Hermon's lovely slopes near); the modern Bahias. At the eastern of the two sources of the Jordan, the other being at Tel-el-Kadi (Dan or Laish, the most northerly city of Israel). The streams which flow from beneath a limestone rock unite in one stream near Caesarea Philippi. There was a deep cavity full of still water there. Identified with the Baal Gad of Old Testament Herod erected here a temple of white marble to Augustus. (See BAAL GAD.) Herod's son Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis, enlarged and called it from himself, as well as Caesar, Caesarea Philippi. Agrippa II called it Neronias; but the old name prevailed. It was the seat of a Greek and a Latin bishopric in succession. The great castle (Shubeibeh) built partly in the earliest ages still remains the most striking fortress in Israel. The transfiguration probably took place on mount Hermon. which rears its majestic head 7,000 feet above Caesarea Philippi. The allusion to "snow" agrees with this, and the mention of Caesarea Philippi in the context (Matthew 16:13; Mark 8:27; Mark 9:3). The remoteness and privacy of Caesarea Philippi fitted it for being the place where Jesus retired to prepare His disciples for His approaching death of shame and His subsequent resurrection; there it was that Peter received the Lord's praise, and afterward censure. The transfiguration gave them a foretaste of the future glory, in order to prepare them for the intermediate shame and suffering.   Read Full Article

Nineveh in Naves Topical Bible

-A city in the north of Palestine; visited by Jesus
        Mt 16:13; Mr 8:27; Lu 9:18

Read Naves Article
 

Bible Study Topics Related to Caesarea Philippi

Map of Ancient Israel - Caesaria Philippi Paneas

Caesaria Philippi Paneas

H3 on the Map.

Baniyas. "Caesarea of Philip" Capital city founded by Philip the Tetrarch, son of Herod the Great. This city was located in the N part of Palestine, on the S slope of Mount Hermon near one of the main sources for the Jordan River. Ceasarea Philippi was about 120 miles from Jerusalem, 50 miles from Damascus, and 30 miles from Tyre. It was first formerly a Canaanite sanctuary for the worship of Baal, possibly Baal-hermon (Judg 3:3; 1 Chron 5:23). It was called by the Greeks Paneas because of its cavern, which had a peculiar similarity to the places dedicated to the worship of the god Pan. In 20 B.C. Herod the Great received the whole district from Augustus and dedicated a temple in honor of the emperor. Herod Philip built up the city and called it Caesarea Philippi to distinguish it from his father's Caesarea on the seacoast. Its modern name is Baniyas. It was visited by Christ and His disciples. (Matt 16:13; Mark 8:27). It was here that Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah:

Mark 8:27-30 "Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?" So they answered, "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." Then He charged them that they should tell no one about Him."

Caesarea Philippi: Bible Cities - Bible History Links (Ancient Biblical Studies)


Map of the Roman Empire - Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Q-9 on the Map

Ancient Caesarea Philippi (Paneas): Caesarea Philippi was a capital city founded by Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod the Great. It was located near the foot of Mount Paneus, and the springs of the Jordan River. Today Paneas is no longer inhabited. Caesarea is mentioned in the Bible in Matthew 16:13; and Mark 8:27.

Matt. 16:13 - When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Mark 8:27 -And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Caesarea Philippi Caesarea (Καισάρεια). Caesarēa Philippi, a town on the northern confines of Palestine, in the district of Trachonitis, at the foot of Mount Paneus, and near the springs of the Jordan. It was also called Leshem, Laish, Dan, and Paneas. The name Paneas is supposed to have been given it by the Phœnicians. The appellation of Dan was given to it by the tribe of that name, because the portion assigued to them was “too little for them,” and they therefore “went up to fight against Leshem (or Laish, Judg. xviii. 29), and took it,” calling it “Dan, after the name of Dan, their father” (Josh. xix. 47). Eusebius and Jerome distinguish Dan from Paneas as if they were different places, though near each other; but most writers consider them as one place, and even Jerome himself, on Ezek. xlviii., says that Dan or Leshem was afterwards called Paneas. Philip, the tetrarch, rebuilt it, or at least embellished and enlarged it, and named it Caesarea, in honour of the emperor Tiberius; and afterwards Agrippa, in compliment to Nero, called it Neronias.  - Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers.


Caesarea Philippi  PANEAS
PANEAS, PANIAS, or PANEIAS (Πανεάς, Πανιάς, Πανειάς, Hierocl. p. 716), more usually called either CAESAREIA PANEAS (Καισάρεια Πανεάς or Πανιάς, J. AJ 18.2.3, B. Jud. 2.9.1; Ptol. 5.15.21; Plin. Nat. 5.15. s. 15; Sozom. 5.21; on coins, K. ὑπὸ Πανείῳ and πρὸς Πανείῳ; in Steph. B. sub voce incorrectly πρὸς πῇ Πανεάδι) or CAESAREIA PHILIPPI (K. ἡ Φιλίππου, Matth. 16.13; Mark, 8.27; J. AJ 20.8.4, B. J. 3.8.7, 2.1; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 7.17), a city in the north of Palestine, called by Ptolemy and Hierocles (ll. cc.) a city of Phoenicia, situated upon one of the sources of the Jordan, at the foot of Mt. Panium, one of the branches of Lebanon. Mt Panium contained a cave sacred to Pan, whence it derived its name. (Philostorg. 7.7.) At this spot Herod erected a temple in honour of Augustus. (J. AJ 15.10.3, B. J. 1.21.3.) Paneas was supposed by many to have been the town of Laish, afterwards called Dan; but Eusebius and Jerome state that they were separate cities, distant 4 miles from each other. (Reland, Palaestina, p. 918, seq.) Paneas was rebuilt by Philip the Tetrarch, who called it Caesareia in honour of the Roman emperor, and gave it the surname of Philippi to distinguish it from the other Caesareia in Palestine. (J. AJ 18.2.3, B. J. 2.9.1.) It was subsequently called Neronias by Herod Agrippa in honour of the emperor Nero. (J. AJ 20.8.4; Coins.) According to ecclesiastical tradition it was the residence of the women diseased with an issue of blood. (Matth. 9.20; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 7.18; Sozom. 5.21; Theoph. Chronogr. 41 ; Phot. cod. 271.) Under the Christians Paneas became a bishopric. It is still called Bâniâs, and contains now only 150 houses. On the NE. side of the village the river, supposed to be the principal source of the Jordan, issues from a spacious cavern under a wall of rock. Around this source are many hewn stones. In the face of the perpendicular rock, directly over the cavern and in other parts, several niches have been cut, apparently to receive statues. Each of these niches had once an inscription; and one of them, copied by Burckhardt, appears to have been a dedication by a priest of Pan. There can be no doubt that this cavern is the cave of Pan mentioned above; and the hewn stones around the spring may have belonged perhaps to the temple of Augustus. This spring was considered by Josephus to be the outlet of a small lake called Phiala, situated 120 stadia from Paneas towards Trachonitis or the NE. Respecting this lake see Vol. II. p. 519b.  - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, William Smith, LLD, Ed.  
     
Caesarea Philippi was an ancient Roman city located at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon (Har Hermon or Arabic Jebel esh-Sheikh). The city is mentioned in the gospels of Matthew,and Mark. The city was located within the region known as the "Panion" (the region of the Greek god Pan). Named after the deity associated with the grotto and shrines close to the spring called "Paneas". Today, the city, now no longer inhabited, is an archaeological site located within the Golan Heights. While Baniyas does not appear in the Old Testament, Philostorgius, Theodoret, Benjamin of Tudela and Samuel ben Samson all incorrectly identified it with Laish (Tel Dan). While Eusebius of Caesarea accurately places Dan/laish in the vicinity of Paneas at the fourth mile on the route to Tyre. - Wikipedia


The Bible Mentions Caesarea Philippi Twice

Mark 8:27 - And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Matthew 16:13 - When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?


 

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Bible Study and Faith

"The Bible is the most priceless possession of the human race." - Henry H. Halley

"This handbook is dedicated to the proposition that every Christian should be a constant and devoted reader of the Bible, and that the primary business of the church and ministry is to lead, foster, and encourage their people in the habit."

"The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts."

"Great has been the blessing from consecutive, diligent, daily study. I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the word of God." - George Muller

"I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the 10th chapter of Romans, 'Now faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' I had closed my Bible, and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since." - D. L. Moody

-H. H. Halley "Halley's Bible Handbook" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960) p. 4, 6


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Archaeological Study of the Bible

"A substantial proof for the accuracy of the Old Testament text has come from archaeology. Numerous discoveries have confirmed the historical accuracy of the biblical documents, even down to the obsolete names of foreign kings... Rather than a manifestation of complete ignorance of the facts of its day, the biblical record thus reflects a great knowledge by the writer of his day, as well as precision in textual transmission."

-Norman L. Geisler, William Nix "A General Introduction to the Bible" 5th Edition (Chicago: Moody Press 1983) p. 253


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Bibliography on Ancient Images

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
 

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