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Arimathea (Ancient Greek: Ἁριμαθαία), according to the Gospel of Luke (xxiii. 51), was "a city of Judea". It was reportedly the home town of Joseph of Arimathea, who appears in all four Gospel accounts of the Passion for having donated his new tomb outside Jerusalem to receive the body of Jesus.


In most of the Koine Greek New Testament texts, the Greek word for Arimathea has a rough breathing mark ( ῾ ) and this indicates aspiration (the presence of an /h/ sound) on the first alpha of Arimathea. Consequently, the place of Joseph's origin should be pronounced "Harimathea". That would correspond to Hebrew ha-ramathaim, with the initial heh (ה) forming the definite Hebrew article ha-. The Aramaic Syriac translation of John 19:38 literally reads, "Ramtha" which when anglicized comes to "Ramath."

Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Onomasticon (144:28-29), identifies it with Ramathaim-Zophim and writes that it is near Diospolis (modern Lod).[1] Ramathaim-Zophim was a town in Ephraim, the birthplace of Samuel, where David came to him (1 Samuel 1:1, 19).

Others[who?] identify it with Ramah in Benjamin (Matt. 2:18).

The Crusaders falsely identified Ramla, a medieval town founded circa 705–715 CE by the Umayyads on empty land in what had once been the allotment of Dan, with both Ramathaim and Arimathea, and changed the name of the town to Arimathea.[2]


  1. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Onomasticon (1971), pp. 1-75. Translated by Carl Umhau Wolf. [1]
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, article "al-Ramla".