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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Antipatris

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(Ἀντιπατρίς , from Ant.pater; in the Talmud אנטיפטרס, see Lightfoot, Hor. Ileb. p. 109 sq.), a city built by Herod the Great, in honor of his father (Josephus, Ant. 16, 5, 2; War, 1, 21, 9), on the site of a former place called Caphar-saba (Xαβαρζαβᾶ or Καφαρσαβᾶ, Josephus, Ant. 13, 15, 1; 16:5, 2). The spot (according to Ptolemy, lat. 32°, long. 66° 20') was well watered and fertile; a stream flowed round the city, and in its neighborhood were groves of large trees (Josephus, Ant. 16, 5, 2; War, 1, 21, 9). Caphar- saba was 120 stadia from Joppa; and between the two places Alexander Balas drew a trench, with a wall and wooden towers, as a defense against the approach of Antiochus (Josephus, Ant. 13, 15, 1; War, 1, 4, 7). Antipatris also lay between Caesarea and Lydda (Itin. Hieros. p. 600). It was not exactly on the sea (Schleusner, Lex. s.v.), but full two miles inland (Josephus, War, 4, 8, 1) on the road leading to Galilee (Mishna, Gattin, 7, 7; comp. Reland, Palest. p. 409, 417, 444). These eircumstances indicate that Antipatris was in the midst of a plain, and not at A rsuf, where the Crusaders supposed they had found it (Will. Tyr. 9:19; 14:16; Vitracus, c. 23; Brocard, c. 10; comp. Reland, Palast. p. 569, 570). On the road from Ramlah to Nazareth, north of Ras el-Ain, Prokesch (Reise ins Heilige Land, Wien, 1831) came to a place called Kaffir Saba; and the position which Berghaus assigns to this town in his map is almost in exact agreement with the position assigned to Antipatris in the Itin. Hieros. Perceiving this, Raumer (Palistina, p. 144, 462) happily conjectured that this Kefr Saba was no other than the reproduced name of Caphar-saba, which, as in many other instances, has again supplanted the foreign, arbitrary, and later name of Antipatris (comp. the Hall. Lit. Zeit. 1845, No. 230). This conjecture has been confirmed by Dr. Robinson, who gives Kefr Saba as the name of the village in question (Researches, 3, 46-48; see also later ed. of Researches, 3, 138, 139; and Biblioth. Sac. 1853, p. 528 sq.). Paul was brought from Jerusalem to Antipatris by night, on his route to Caesarea (Acts 23:31; comp. Thomson's Land and Book, 1, 258).

Dr. Robinson was of opinion, when he published his first edition, that the road which the soldiers took on this occasion led from Jerusalem to Caesarea by the pass of Beth-Horon, and by Lydda or Diospolis. This is the route which was followed by Cestius Gallus, as mentioned by Josephus (War, 2, 19, 1), and it appears to be identical with that given in the Jerusalem Itinerary, accordinr to which Antipatris is 42 miles from Jerusalem, and 26 from Caesarea. Even on this supposition it would have been quite possible for troops leaving Jerusalem on the evening of one day to reach Caesarea on the next, and to start thence, after a rest, to return to (it is not said that they arrived at) their quarters at Jerusalem before nightfall. But the difficulty is entirely removed by Dr. Smith's discovery of a much shorter road, leading by Gophna direct to Antipatris. On this route he met the Roman pavement again and again, and indeed says "he does not remember observing anywhere before so extensive remains of a Roman road" (Biblioth. Sac. 1843, p. 478-498). Van de Velde, however (Memoir, p. 285 sq.), contends that the position of Mejdel Yaba corresponds better to that of Antipatris. In the time of Jerome (Epitaph. Paulce, 108) it was a halfruined town. Antipatris, during the Roman era, appears to have been a place of considerable military importance (Josephus, War, 4, 8, 1). Vespasian, while engaged in prosecuting the Jewish war, halted at Antipatris two days before he resumed his career of desolation by burning, destroying, and laying waste the cities and villages in his way (see Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 2, 269). This city is supposed (by Calmet, s.v.) to have been the same with Capharsaloma (or Capharsaroma, perhaps also Caparsemelia; see Reland, Palest. p. 690, 691), where a battle was fought in the reign of Demeotrius between Nicanor, a man who was an implacable enemy of the Jews, and Judas Maccabaeus, when five thousand of Nicanor's army were slain, and the rest saved themselves by flight (1 Maccabees 7:26-32).

The identity of this place with the modern Kefr Saba seems to be conclusively proved by the general coincidence in location and distance from other known towns, and especially by its agreement with Caphar- saba, which Josephus repeatedly states was the old name of Antipatris. Nevertheless, both Lieut. Conder and Major Wilson contend (Quar. Statement of the "Pal. Explor. Fund," July, 1874, p. 184 sq., 192 sq.) for its situation at Ras el-Ain, six miles to the south, for the following reasons:

(1.) The abundant water and fertility of the spot, in accordance with the representations of all ancient writers; whereas at Kefr Saba there are only two indifferent wells.

(2.) The naturally favorable site of Ras el-Ain for a city, especially the, strong military position; while the other is every way the reverse.

(3.) The existence to-day of traces of -the old Roman road in the former spot, and the absence of any such indications at KefrSaba. (4.) The close proximity of Ras el-Ain to the mountains, as indicated by the ancient authorities. To this view, also, Dr. Tristram gives his adherence (Bible Places, p. 55), thus summing up the evidence: "The name of Caphar-saba seems to have become attached to the present Kefr Saba after the original site was abandoned. That site is plainly marked out at Ras el-Ain, where a large artificial mound is covered with old foundations, and on the summit is the ruined shell of the fine old (Crusaders') castle' of Mirabel, while beneath it burst forth the springs of the Aujeh, the largest and most copious of all in Palestine. At the foot of the mountains this was exactly the point where it was convenient for the horsemen to accompany Paul to Caesarea without the foot-soldiers. Two Roman roads may be traced from it-north to Caesarea, and southwards to Lydda-on the former of which a Roman milestone still stands. To this day part of the pavement remains on which Paul rode to Caesarea, and by which Pilate and Felix used to go up to Jerusalem." It should be noted, however, that most, if not all, of these arguments apply nearly as well to the site of Kefr Saba. In -his Tent Work (i, 230) Lieut. Conder reiterates his view, giving a fuller description of Ras elAin, and adding that the Talmud seems to distinguish between Antipatris and Caphar-saba - a point, however, which he does not make clear. See the citations in Relalnd, Palestina (see Index).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Antipatris'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/antipatris.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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