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Archaeology and Geography
related to the Gospel of John

This page lists all the regions, cities, and other places mentioned in the Fourth Gospel.
Pertinent webpages and/or photos of the sites as they appear today are provided, if available, although for some places named in John's Gospel, the exact location is disputed or unknown.


Galilee:

Galilee, as a region in general  (1:43;  4:3, 43, 45, 47, 54;  7:1, 9, 41, 52)

Bethsaida, the city of Philip, Andrew and Peter (1:44; 12:21)

Nazareth, where Jesus is from (1:45, 46); later, Jesus is also called a "Nazarene" (18:5, 7; 19:19)

Cana, always called "Cana of Galilee" (2:1, 11; 4:46; 21:2)

Capernaum (2:12; 4:46; 6:17, 24); and specifically the "Synagogue at Capernaum" (6:59)

  • Capernaum - an excellent page with text and photos, esp. of the Synagogue, by Rev. Donald D. Binder

Sea of Galilee (6:1); also called the "Sea of Tiberias" (6:1; 21:1) or simply the "sea" (6:16-25; 21:7)

  • Ancient Galilee Boat - a 2000-year-old boat, discovered in 1986, now preserved and exhibited at the Yigal Allon Museum in Ginosar, Israel

  • Sea of Galilee - travel photos by Galen Frysinger, Sheboygan, WI

Tiberias, the city on the SW shore of the sea (6:23)

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Unnamed Mountain in Galilee, where Jesus feeds 5000 people (6:3, 15)

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[Magdala] - the Fourth Gospel does not name this town, but it is probably where "Mary Magdalene" is from (19:25; 20:1, 18)

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Samaria:

Samaria, as a region in general (4:4,5,7)

  • SHOMRON (SAMARIA) - a very large collection of resources and links, compiled by Alexander Kaplunovsky

Sychar, a Samaritan city near the land that Jacob gave to Joseph (4:5; also "the city" in 4:8, 28, 30, 39); possibly the same as ancient Shechem

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Jacob's Well, near Sychar (4:6-15)

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Unnamed Mountain in Samaria (4:20-21), traditionally identified with Mount Gerizim

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The Jordan River Valley and the Judean Countryside:

Judean territory (3:22) or Judea as a region in general (4:3, 47, 54; 7:1, 3; 11:7)

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Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing (1:28; cf. 3:26; 10:40) - exact location uncertain

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Aenon near Salim, where John was baptizing (3:23) - exact location uncertain

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Ephraim, "a town in the region near the wilderness" (11:54) - exact location uncertain

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Arimathea, where "Joseph of Arimathea" is from (19:38) - exact location uncertain


Places Near Jerusalem:

Bethlehem, the village (South of Jerusalem) where David lived and from where the Messiah is supposed to come (7:42); but the Fourth Gospel does not directly say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem

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Mount of Olives, just East of Jerusalem (8:1) - mentioned often in the Synoptics, but in John only in the story of the Adulterous Woman

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Bethany, the village Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, about two miles Southeast of Jerusalem (11:1, 18, 30; 12:1);  tourists can see the traditional sites of the House of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (11:20, 31; 12:3) and the Tomb of Lazarus (11:17, 31, 38; 12:17), but the exact locations are unknown

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Garden across the Kidron Valley (18:1; cf. 18:26) - the Synoptics call the place where Jesus is arrested "Gethsemane," but the Fourth Gospel does not mention this name

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Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where Jesus was crucified (19:17); most likely on the site of the present Church of the Holy Sepulcher

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Garden where the Tomb of Jesus was located, near to where Jesus was crucified (19:41, 42;  20:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11)


The City and Temple of Jerusalem: 

Jerusalem, the city in general (1:19; 2:13, 23; 4:20, 21, 45; 5:1, 2; 10:22; 11:18, 55; 12:12); see also "the city" (19:20), and "Jerusalemites" (7:25)

The Temple of Jerusalem, meaning the Temple Mount or Temple Precincts in general (2:14,15; 5:14; 7:14, 28; 8:2, 20, 59; 10:23; 11:56; 18:20). Jesus refers more directly to the main buildings as his "Father's House" (2:16, 17; 14:2) or as the "Sanctuary" (2:19, 20, 21).  More specific locations within the Temple precincts include the "Temple Treasury" (8:20) and the "Portico of Solomon" (10:23).

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The Pool of Bethzatha (or Bethesda), a pool with five porticos just North of the "Sheep Gate" in Jerusalem (5:2; cf. 5:7)

The Pool of Siloam, on the Southern tip of Jerusalem (9:7; cf. 9:11)

[The Upper Room] - the Synoptics describe the place where Jesus' Last Supper was held as "a large room upstairs" (Mark 14:15), but the Fourth Gospel does not specify where Jesus had his last meal with his disciples (John 13--17).

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The High Priest's House, where Jesus is interrogated, and the Courtyard, where Peter denies knowing Jesus (18:15-27)

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The Praetorium, the Headquarters of Pilate, where Jesus is tried (18:28-19:16); and Gabbatha, the "Stone Pavement," the location of the judge's bench just outside the praetorium (19:13)

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The House where Jesus' disciples met after the crucifixion and resurrection (20:19-29)

  • [Note: the Fourth Gospel does not specify the location, nor does it claim that it was the same place where the Last Supper was held.]

Related Sites and Materials: 

Ephesus, the city in Asia Minor where the John's Gospel was traditionally thought to have been written

  • Focus on Ephesus - a good overview with pictures, from the Focus Online Magazine

Denarius, the Roman coin mentioned in John 6:7; 12:5


General Resources for Archaeology on the Web


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The Johannine Literature Web was created and is maintained by Felix Just, S.J.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions?  E-mail me: fjust--at--calprov.org (replacing --at-- with @)
This page was last updated on 05/28/09
Copyright  © 1999--2006