Jamnia - Encyclopedia

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JAMNIA ('Ia,uvLa or 'laµveia), the Greek form of the Hebrew name Jabneel - i.e. "God causeth to build" (Josh. xv. 11) - or Jabneh (2 Chron. xxvi. 6), the modern Arabic Yebna, a town of Palestine, on the border between Dan and Judah, situated 13 m. S. of Jaffa, and 4 m. E. of the seashore. The modern village stands on an isolated sandy hillock, surrounded by gardens with olives to the north and sand-dunes to the west. It contains a small crusaders' church, now a mosque. Jamnia belonged to the Philistines, and Uzziah of Judah is said to have taken it (2 Chron. xxvi. 6). In Maccabean times Joseph and Azarias attacked it unsuccessfully (1 Macc. v. 55-62; 2 Macc. xii. 8 seq. is untrustworthy). Alexander Jannaeus subdued it, and under Pompey it became Roman. It changed hands several times, is mentioned by Strabo (xvi. 2) as being once very populous, and in the Jewish war was taken by Vespasian. The population was mainly Jewish (Philo, Leg. ad Gaium, § 30), and the town is principally famous as having been the seat of the Sanhedrin and the religious centre of Judaism from A.D. 70 to 135. It sent a bishop to Nicaea in 325. In 1144 a crusaders' fortress was built on the hill, which is often mentioned under the name Ibelin. There was also a Jabneel in Lower Galilee (Josh. xix. 33), called later Caphar Yama, the present village Yemma, 8 m. S. of Tiberias; and another fortress in Upper Galilee was named Jamnia (Josephus, Vita, 37). Attempts have been made to unify these two Galilean sites, but without success.

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