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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Aceldama

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An ancient ossuary on the southern extremity of Jerusalem, near the ravine of Hinnom. The field once contained rich clay deposits which were worked by potters. A red clay is still dug in its neighborhood. The "potter's house" mentioned in Jeremiah 18:1-6 is thought to have stood there; not far from it was the gate Ḥarsit and "the valley of the son of Hinnom" (see Jeremiah 19:2). Later it was used as a cemetery for non-Jews. Christian tradition connects it with the death of Judas Iscariot, who is supposed to have bought it, or agreed to buy it, with the money he received for betraying Jesus (Matthew 27:6-8; Acts, 1:19). The Aceldama (Hakl-ed-damm) of to-day presents a large, square sepulcher, of which the southern half is excavated in the rock, the remainder being built of massive masonry. In the center stands a huge pillar, constructed partly of rough blocks and partly of polished stones. The floor is covered with moldering bones, this repository having been in use as late as the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Much of its clay was taken away by Empress Helena and other prominentChristians, for sarcophagi. There may be some connection in name between Aceldama and (1 Samuel 17:1), which is translated in Yer. Sanh. 2:20b, Ruth R. (on 2:3) 2:9, Midr. Sam. by .

Bibliography:
  • Sepp, Jerusalem und das Heilige Land, 1:297;
  • Ency. Bibl. s.;
  • C. Schick, in Pal. Explor. Fund Quart. Statement, 1892, pp. 283-289;
  • H. Melander, in Zeit. Deutsch. Paläst. Ver. 17:25-35.
M. B.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Aceldama'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/a/aceldama.html. 1901.

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