Sunday, May 13, 2018

Geographical References - The Gospel of John

This map covers the geographic places with proper names that are referenced in the Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John has an eye for detail in its references to geography. It makes references to individual locations within a city or town: a conversation doesn't merely happen in Samaria, or even in Sychar in Samaria (the first reference in our series to a specific place within Samaria), but even more particularly the conversation occurs at Jacob's well. Another conversation took place not merely near the temple, but in Solomon's Colonnade. A miracle of healing doesn't happen at some undisclosed place in Jerusalem, but at a certain pool named Bethesda that is by a particular gate, the Sheep Gate. This gospel sometimes offers bilingual or cross-cultural references to the places named: the author mentions that the Stone Pavement is known in Aramaic as Gabbatha, that the Sea of Galilee is also known as the Sea of Tiberias. There are some smaller places not known from earlier gospels, such as Cana in Galilee, or the Kidron Valley between the site of the last supper and the garden.

For scope, the Gospel of John mentions 28 distinct places, with Galilee and Jerusalem leading the list by how often they receive mention. Third place in John's gospel goes to Samaria (including Samaritans), which receives nearly as much mention as Jerusalem.

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