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Arimathea (Ancient Greek: Ἁριμαθαία), according to the Gospel of Luke (23:51), 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.


Classical antiquity historian 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).

The Encyclopedia of Islam has argued that Crusaders identified Ramla, a medieval town founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyads on 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] Scholars of the Onomasticon have identified the Greek "Arimathea" as deriving from the ancient Hebrew place name transliterated into Greek,[3] as the older Hebrew place name "Ramathaim Sophim" attested in the Hebrew Bible was rendered into Greek in the ancient Septuagint as Αρμαθαιμ Σιφα (Armathaim Sipha).[4]


  1. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Onomasticon (1971), pp. 1–75. Translated by Carl Umhau Wolf.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, article "al-Ramla".
  3. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Onomasticon (1971), pp. 1–75, note 144. Translated by Carl Umhau Wolf.
  4. ^ Septuagint (LXX) translation of I Kings 1