🔼The name Caesarea Philippi: Summary
- Philip's Place Of Caesar
- From the names Caesar and Philip.
🔼The name Caesarea Philippi in the Bible
Caesarea Philippi — not to be confused with Caesarea Maritima, which is usually known as just Caesarea, or the more famous Philippi in Macedonia — was a town at the foot of Mount Hermon, in an area known as Panium (or Paneum, Paneion or Paneas; after the god Pan), north of the Sea of Galilee. Caesar Augustus had given it to Herod the Great, and his son Philip expanded it and dubbed it Caesarea Philippi in honor of himself. The name used in the New Testament is Καισαρεια της Φιλιππου; Caesarea of Philip.
Caesarea Philippi is mentioned only in one scene in the Bible, in a context that is so curiously irrelevant to location that specifically naming Caesarea Philippi seems a rather bright red herring. Both Matthew and Mark report that Jesus and his disciples went to the district of Caesarea Philippi and when they got there, Jesus asked them to say who people said that he was (Matthew 16:13-20 and Mark 8:27 to 9:1).
It's not clear why both evangelists found it important to emphasize that Peter's confession of Christ happened in Caesarea Philippi, but perhaps it is somehow connected to the Battle of Panium of 198 BC, in which the Seleucids defeated the Ptolemies. Now in control of the region, the Seleucids began to torment the Jews, who revolted in 167 BC and were subsequently able to regain autonomy and reinstate a Jewish king (an "anointed one" or Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek).
When the Romans defeated the Hasmonean king in 63 BC, the original Christian movement began, which intended to restore the Jewish kingdom under a Jewish king (Roman puppet-king Herod was an Arab-Edomite, albeit brought up as Jew). It's that movement with which Jesus and his followers were later erroneously identified. That we today still know the Jesus movement under the predicate "Christianity" is testament to Christ's continued misidentification.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Caesarea Philippi
The name Caesarea Philippi obviously consists of two names, namely Caesar and Philip. Please see our articles on those names for meaning and etymologies.