Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ænon
Ænon (Αἰνών; Vulgate, Ænnon; Douay, Ennon), mentioned in John 3:23, as the locality where the forerunner of Christ baptized. It is described as being "near Salim" and as having "much water". Where is it situated? Barclay's hypothesis, which gratuitously identifies Salim with Jerusalem and selects the Wady Fara as the scene of the Baptist's activity, is improbable. Nor should it be sought in the southern extremity of Palestine, where one would look in vain for "much water". Conder and others favour Ainun, a village to the north-east of ancient Salim. This identification is also open to objections. Ainun is about as near to Nabulus (ancient Sichem) as it is to Salim. Since the former was the more important, we should rather expect the Evangelist to describe Ænon as being "near Sichem". Moreover, according to this hypothesis, the place selected by the Baptist would have been in the very heart of Samaritan territory, which the Jews avoided, and, therefore, ill-suited for the missionary purpose of Christ's precursor. The most probable opinion places Ænon in the valley of the Jordan, some two miles to the west of the stream and about seven miles to the south of Beisan (ancient Scythopolis). This site was on the confines of the Samaritan territory and on the road frequented by the Galileans. Van de Velde found a Salim in this place, and close by there are seven wells—"much water". Eusebius, St. Jerome, and St. Silvia saw the ruins of Salim, and there a guide pointed out to them the place where John baptized.
Lightfoot, Biblical Essays (London, 1893); Andrews, Life of our Lord (New York. 1891); Conder, On the Identification of Ænon (London. 1874); Henderson in Hastings, Dict. of the Bible (New York. 1898); Van de Velde, Reise durch Syrien und Palast. (Leipzig. 1850); Legendre in Vigouroux, Dict. de la Bible (Paris, 1895) II, 1811; Onomastica Sacra (Göttingen, 1870); Gamurrini, Sancta Silviæ Aquitance Peregr. ad Loc. SS. (Rome, 1888); Knabenbauer, Evang. sec. Joan. (Paris, 1898).