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Locating the city of Sodom

28 January 2014

There is nothing new under the Sun and so it is with the latest identification of Sodom with Tall el-Hammam in the Kikkar plain, where the Jordan river joins the Dead Sea. Canon Henry Baker Tristram, in his book, 'The Land of Moab: Travels and Discoveries on the east side of the Dead Sea and the Jordan' (1874). The good canon travelled through the old Bible lands for the specific purpose of identifying biblical locations based on geographical indicators embedded in the Biblical narrative. He claimed the Cities of the Plain, including Sodom, Gomarrah, and Zoar etc, were north of the Dead Sea – and east of the Jordan. This conclusion was reached from an analysis of the geography of Genesis 13:1-12 (and other passages). He located it on the Jordan Disk, as he called it, the Kikkar, opposite Jericho – easily visible from Bethel and Ai. He also made a connection between Biblical Zo'ar and modern Arab Zi'ara.

However, not everyone thinks Sodom is located at Hammam. See CF Billington, 'Tall el-Hammam is NOT Sodom' artifax 27/2 (2012)

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