Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 155:620 (Oct 98) p. 474
By the Faculty and Library Staff of
Dallas Theological Seminary
Robert D. Ibach, Editor
“Golgotha: A Reconsideration of the Evidence for the Sites of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Burial,” Joan E. Taylor, New Testament Studies 44 (1998): 180-203.
Building on her earlier works (Christians and the Holy Places [New York: Oxford University Press, 1993], and Beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with Shimon Gibson [London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1994]), Taylor considers what is meant by Golgotha, and where Jesus’ crucifixion and burial might have been in relation to it. Two hypotheses allow her a fresh look at where the crucifixion might have occurred: (1) The basilica of Constantine was built on the site of the former Temple of Venus for convenience, and the Temple of Venus had not been intentionally built over the site of the crucifixion. (2) The tomb of Jesus was not necessarily near the site of the crucifixion.
She argues, particularly from the Gospel of John, that Golgotha was a large vicinity and the sites of the crucifixion and burial could be represented by circles within circles. Thus Jesus was crucified in the Place of the Skull, and in that place there was a garden, and in the garden there was a tomb in which Jesus was buried. An Iron Age quarry, just west of the second wall and north of the first wall, was a recognizable geographic feature, oval in shape, that was large enough to contain a place of Roman execution as well as a cultivated garden in which a freshly cut tomb was located.
The site of the crucifixion, according to Scripture, was outside a gate (Heb. 13:12) and close to a road (“those passing by,” Matt. 27:39). The gate is probably to be identified as Josephus’s Gennath Gate, and Taylor places the northward segment of the second wall just east of this gate. This is at variance with some reconstructions but seems fairly reasonable. Taylor therefore puts the place of crucifixion about two hundred meters south of the traditional location, outside a gate, and close to a road, yet within the region called Golgotha.
This location for the crucifixion gains some support from Melito of Sardis in his Peri Pascha, and from Eusebius’s Onomasticon.
The site of the burial of Jesus, however, was probably not in a busy public location such as the gate and the road. Within the quarry region called Golgotha was probably a cultivated area; in fact Gennath Gate means “garden” gate. Taylor places the burial site at the traditional location marked by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is v...
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