Religion Past and Present

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(535 words)

[German Version]

(“House of bread”) is located 10 km south of Jerusalem on the watershed of the Judaean mountains. Bethlehem extends on a spur joined to the east by a fertile plain. The name alludes to agricultural use (agriculture and herding). The derivation of the name Bethlehem from the goddess Laḥamu has been refuted. While it is true that excavations have attested a settlement as early as pre-historic times and in the Iron Age, Bethlehem is first attested historically in the middle Iron Age by Old Testament reports (marriage of David), though some are legendary (Rachel and the Book of Ru…

Cite this page
Bloedhorn, Hanswulf, “Bethlehem”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 18 May 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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