BETHABARA

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Biblical GN 1. The place where JOHN baptized CHRIST (1 Nephi 10:9)

Etymology

The GN BETHABARA in the Book of Mormon and in John 1:28 is the transliteration of the conjectured Hebrew *bēt-‘ăbarâ,[1] which would literally mean “house of the ford,” hence “place of crossing.”

The Book of Mormon uses the same phraseology as the King James Bible: “These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.” (John 1:28). “And my father said he should baptize in Bethabara, beyond Jordan; and he also said he should baptize with water; even that he should baptize the Messiah with water” (1 Nephi 10:9). Indeed, the Book of Mormon text says nothing that the Bible text does not say. However, most Greek manuscripts read Bethany. At least two manuscripts, however, Π and Ψ, have Βηθαβαρα (Bethabara).

The original and the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon read “Bethebara,” but the 1830 edition has the reading “Bethabara,” like the King James rendering.[2] “Bethebara,” which appears as the earliest of Book of Mormon spellings, is also found at John 1:28 in manuscripts Λ and 69 “Bethebara,”[3] mostly likely a phonetic variant of “Bethabara,” the difference being the Greek eta versus the Greek alpha.

See also Bethabara / Bethebara Variant

Variants

bathebara, Bethebara, Bethabary

Deseret Alphabet: 𐐒𐐇𐐛𐐈𐐒𐐁𐐡𐐈 (bɛθæbeɪræ)

Notes


  1. For a possible analog in Hebrew, ‘ăbarâ, see 2 Samuel 19:18 (verse 19 in Hebrew).
  2. Royal Skousen, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies/BYU Press, 2004), 1:202-03. Skousen prefers the reading of the 1830 edition to the original and printer's manuscript.
  3. We thank Lincoln Blummel for the citations to these manuscripts.
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