Recent Discoveries In Bible Lands -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 12:2 (Spring 1999)
Article: Recent Discoveries In Bible Lands
Author: Anonymous

Recent Discoveries In Bible Lands

“He is not here”—but was He ever?

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The most recent and comprehensive study of the Constantinian, Crusader and modern Churches of the Holy Sepulcher has just been completed. Findings offer no great revelations, but clarify what scholars have been piecing together over the past century.

In the spirit of the season, the six occupants of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—Latin Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian churches—have agreed to open a new door. It only took five years of negotiations between the various church groups and a public announcement by officials of Israel’s Ministry of Religious Affairs last spring that the structure was a potentially serious fire hazard (see ABR Newsletter 29.6). On the heels of recent renovations of the church’s ceiling and the removal of the famous ladder at the church’s one open entrance, make one wonder if revival is breaking out in the church!

While the new door is good news in itself, church officials recently received even better news from Medievalist professor Martin Biddle. The church houses the final five stations of the Via Dolorosa

(article continued on page 63)

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Gordon’s Calvary is so named because of its identification as Calvary by British General “Chinese” Gordon. It sits about 100 yd northeast of the Damascus Gate opposite the Old City’s north wall. “Calvary” (Lk 23:33) is the Latin term for skull, corresponding to the Hebrew “Golgotha” (Mt 27:33), the name of the crucifixion site. It may have been called “the place of the skull” because of the death that took place there or because the site had a skull-like appearance. The root for the Hebrew word “Golgotha” means “rolling.” A skull is rounded and thus can roll. The same root word “rolling” also means pardon or forgiveness, as in the hymn “all my sins were rolled away.” In truth, at the place of the skull (rolling—Golgotha) all my sins were rolled away (pardoned).

The Garden Tomb near Gordon’s Calvary (Jn 19:42). Carved out of the solid rock (Mt 27:60) and located today in a beautiful garden (Jn 19:41), it could be considered a rich man’s tomb (Mt 27:57).

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