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Arimathea or Arimathaea (Ancient Greek: Ἀριμαθαία : Arimathaía), according to the Gospel of Luke, was "a city of Judea" (Luke 23:51). 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.


Late Roman and Byzantine periods[edit]

The historian Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Onomasticon (144:28-29), identified it with Ramathaim-Zophim and wrote that it is near Diospolis (now Lod).[1] Ramathaim-Zophim was a town in Ephraim, the birthplace of Samuel, where David came to him (First Book of Samuel, 1 Sam. 1:1, 19). He briefly describes it as follows:

Armthem Seipha (Sofim). City of Elcana and Samuel. It is situated (in the region of Thamna) near Diospolis. The home of Joseph who was from Arimathea in the Gospels.

Scholars of the Onomasticon have identified the Greek "Arimathea" as deriving from the ancient Hebrew place name transliterated into Greek,[2] as the older Hebrew place name "Ramathaim Sophim" attested in the Hebrew Bible (in addition to 1 Maccabees 11:34) was rendered into Greek in the ancient Septuagint as Αρμαθαιμ Σιφα (Armathaim Sipha).[3]

Crusader period[edit]

The Encyclopedia of Islam has argued that Crusaders identified Ramla, a medieval town founded circa AD 705–715 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.[4]


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