Jerusalem Report: Israeli Scholars Date Garden Tomb To The Israelite Monarchy -- By: Anonymous
BSP 11:1 (Winter 1982) p. 30
Israeli Scholars Date Garden Tomb To The Israelite Monarchy
There are two sites in Jerusalem which claim to be the authentic burial place of Christ. One, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, boasts a tradition going back to the fourth century (see “The Place of Christ’s Crucifixion and Burial” by W. Harold Mare in the Spring 1974 issue of Bible and Spade). The Garden Tomb, on the other hand, was not a contender until the 19th century when the suggestion was made that it was the real burial place of Christ. This claim was based largely on its proximity to a skull-shaped hill, now known as “Gordon’s Calvary,” identified as the Golgotha, or place of a skull, of Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22 and John 19:17. Although the Garden Tomb is aesthetically satisfying and probably gives a better idea of what Christ’s burial place was really like, it unfortunately lacks any evidence to indicate that it was a first-century tomb. Recent work by two Israeli scholars, Gabriel Barkay of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, and Amos Kloner of the Department of Antiquities and Museums, indicates that the Garden Tomb was undoubtedly part of a cemetery dating to the end of the Iron Age, or the end of the Israelite Monarchy.
The two scholars surveyed a number of burial caves in and around “Gordon’s Calvary,” which is located just north of the Turkish city wall of Old Jerusalem not far from the Damascus Gate. Large parts of the north slope of the hill are on the grounds of the Dominican Monastery of St. Étienne (the École Biblique et Archéologique Française) and the Garden Tomb Association. In the hill are several rock-cut burial caves, some destroyed by quarrying and others cleared in the 1870’s and 1880’s. These caves possess features common to burial caves of the end of the Iron Age well
BSP 11:1 (Winter 1982) p. 31
known from other sites in Judah. The south side of “Gordon’s Calvary,” where the skull shape is to be seen, is a steep cliff, probably the result of post-Iron Age quarrying. Following is a report of Barkay’s and Kloner’s examination of two burial caves on the property of the Dominican Monastery and their observations on the Garden Tomb.
“The first cave is incorporated in a building which has served as the burial-place of the monastery since the 19th century. A courtyard is cut in the rock in front of the cave, from which one enters a large antechamber, measuring 5.30x4.30m. and about 3.60m. in height, and oriented eastwards. At the meeting-point of the walls and ceiling of the antechamber a double right-angled cornice is ...
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