The 363 earthquake caused a large amount of damage throughout the Near East, but in the regions that became Palaestina Salutaris, this earthquake also played an important role in ending public pagan practices. Archaeology has shown that the 363 earthquake destroyed the known important pagan structures in Petra and surrounding areas, such as the Qasr al-Bint, the “Great” Temple, the Small Temple, the Temple of the Winged Lions, and temples at Khirbet et-Tannur and Khirbet edh-Dharih. Investigation at the temples at Khirbet et-Tannur and Khirbet edh-Dharih and at the Temple of the Winged Lions suggest that these sites were functioning as temples until the 363 earthquake. The archaeological evidence contrasts starkly with the triumphal narratives of Christianization, which describe the actions of holy men, the mass conversion of pagans, and the closing of their temples. Archaeological evidence of Christianity appears only in the century after the 363 earthquake, suggesting that Christians did not play a major role in the end of public paganism in the southern Transjordan; rather, the most important factor was the 363 earthquake and the destruction of the pagan temples.


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pp. 132-170
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