The Place Of Christ’s Crucifixion And Burial -- By: W. Harold Mare
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1974) p. 33
The Place Of Christ’s Crucifixion And Burial
[W. Harold Mare, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He is also presently serving as president of the Near East Archaeological Society. Dr. Mare has had a distinguished career as pastor, teacher, and author of scholarly articles in various publications. He translated the Book of Acts in the New York Bible Society’s New International Bible and served as a member of the New Testament Intermediate Editorial Committee working on a number of New Testament books for the same translation.]
Many Christians would like to know the location of Christ’s crucifixion and burial. But inasmuch as Jerusalem fell under the crushing military might of the Romans in A. D. 70 and its landscape was altered in succeeding years, it has been difficult to make that determination.
According to Hebrews 13:12, Jesus suffered “without the gate,” that is, outside the walled city of Jerusalem. The answer to the question, then, of where Jesus was crucified and buried is to be found in discovering where the walls of that time were located and which of the sites that fit these events were outside the walls. The two places considered likely by scholars are (1) the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and (2) Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb—both on the north side of first-century Jerusalem. A study of archaeological findings and the writings of Josephus (first century A.D.) helps determine which of the locations is more likely.
A review of the historical-literary and archaeological evidence of the two ancient walls of Jerusalem existing around the time of Christ is in order, particularly in the light of recent excavations by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon. Since the wall Josephus called the “Second Wall” is more crucial to the discussion, we will delay considering it until after dealing with the “First Wall.” (A “Third Wall” was also mentioned by Josephus but it was built after Jesus’ death.)
The First Wall
The First Wall, called by Josephus the “most ancient” wall, seems according to his description to have been in existence up to and including his own day. Josephus seemed to think that the First Wall went back, in part at least, to the time of David and Solomon
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1974) p. 34
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1974) p. 35
and their successors. Miss Kenyon, however, believes that its norther...
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