2021 - 2022

SUSITA (HIPPOS)

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סוסיתא

The city of Sussita /Hippos (horse) was the central city of the Golan during the Hellenistic and Roman/Byzantine periods. Between the 3rd century BCE and the 8th century CE, Hippos was the site of a Greco-Roman city. Today it’s an archeological located on a diamond (or horse) shaped mountain which rises 350m above the Sea of Galilee.  The city was devastated by a massive earthquake in 749 AD which has left it in ruins since then.

According to the 4th century Talmud Yerushalmi (Shvi’it 6), Sussita was the land Tov (“good”) where the judge Yiphtach lived at the 12th century BC (Judges 11:3) -  “Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him”.

When Jesus mentions a "city set upon a hill" that "cannot be hidden" (one of the metaphors of salt and light in the Sermon of Mount, he may have been referring to Hippos.

Hippos is also regarded as one of the candidates for the location for Jesus’ fateful meeting with Legion (swine miracle). This event is traditionally located in Kursi, a site 5km to the north.

However, according to Prof. Mark Schuler (Concordia University, head of the American team in Hippos)

“While a definitive answer is not possible, the following indicators are in the favor of Hippos/Susita:

  1. Hippos is a polis.  That technical language is used by gospel writers for the town from which the man with the Legion came.

  2. A significant necropolis borders the main road into Hippos, aligning with the setting of the story.

  3. The bone profile of the site includes pigs (although these samples are from later periods).

  4. Hippos is more proximate to the sea than Gadara or Jerash.

  5. Hippos is bordered to the north by a deep valley that could be the abyss mentioned in Luke 8:31.

Again, none of these points prove Hippos is the location of the story, but it is certainly a prime candidate”.

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