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Simon Peter and Bethsaida

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Chapter Summary

The New Testament's information about his origin is exceedingly sparse. The Gospels unanimously portray Peter as a man who inhabits a bilingual world. As for Bethsaida itself, however, despite the occasional glimpse of its role in Jesus' ministry, none of the five Synoptic mentions gives us the slightest hint that Peter came from there, or had any dealings with it. Peter's connection with the northern coastline of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida may be illustrated by a small detail of social history in the call narrative according to Mark and Matthew. The most spectacular of these finds to date concern the ninth and tenth century BC, at which time the site is perhaps to be identified with the capital of the kingdom of Geshur. There is therefore a very strong likelihood that Peter grew up fully bilingual in a Jewish minority setting.

Keywords: Bethsaida; New Testament; Sea of Galilee; Simon Peter

10.1163/9789047414742_004
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