Bethany, in the Bible, was the name of a village near Jerusalem—see Bethany (biblical village)—mentioned in the New Testament as the home of the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and, according to the Gospel of John, the site of a miracle in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. This village is commonly identified with the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya ("place of Lazarus"), located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Jerusalem on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. During the Crusades, al-Eizariya was still referred to as Bethany by Christians.
The Raising of Lazarus episode, shortly before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time, takes place in Bethany. Bethany near the River Jordan in John 1:28 might refer to a town further north in Perea, i.e. Bethabara; or it might refer to the more northerly territory of Batanaea.
In the winter, temperatures in Bethany can drop below zero, but summer sees temperatures as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). Many places are named for the biblical village of Bethany. Bethany is also used as a female given name. It is of Aramaic origin, and means "house of dates".
By Dean Hanley
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