Where Was Golgotha Located?
In regards to the actual place of Golgotha, many areas around the Holy City have been suggested as to the place of Calvary. But only two are serious contenders for the place of both the crucifixion and the burial. The primary claim to the place is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, whose history goes back to the fourth century. The Church is within the walls of the old city at this day of time, but its supporters believe that the New Testament city wall would put it outside the actual city. Since modern buildings greatly cover all real estate in the area, no excavation is yet possible to decide just where the exact location of the northern New Testament wall actually was.
The location of this actual place can be traced to the Christian Roman emperor named Constantine. Eusebius, who was a contemporary historian, commissioned Bishop Marcarius to go and find Golgotha and the tomb. This was around 300 years after the day of the crucifixion. The Church of Constantine was then built on the site of Hadrian’s Aphrodite temple and was named after St. Helena, who was the emperor’s mother. Legend says that when excavation began for the tomb, a piece of the actual cross was discovered, and there were miracles of healing that occurred, which certified the area. The tradition that this is the actual place is very ancient, but it is mainly tradition. Before this, there was the pagan emperor named Hadrian who deliberately obscured several Christian holy sites with his own temples.
The other major contender for the place of Calvary is known today as the Garden Tomb and or Gordon’s Calvary. This was suggested by a man named Otto Thenius in 1842, and General Charles Gordon declared in 1885 that this was the place of the actual crucifixion and the burial of Jesus Christ, which was found around 250 yards North East of the Damascus Gate. There are some arguments to support the actual place, also, some serious criticisms. Gordon’s Calvary is a hill, or knoll and is definitely outside the city walls of both modern and New Testament. But the most serious problem with the Holy Sepulchre’s site does not affect this choice. Those who dispute this identification state that the hill was part of a ridge that is still seen on the north wall of Jerusalem close to Herod’s Gate. Therefore, it was not a separate hill in New Testament times.
The topographical feature of the hill that makes it appear like a skull would not have been present in New Testament times. As a matter of fact, this hill, which is called by the Jews, “the Grotto of Jeremiah,” is believed to be a mine area developed only in the past several centuries. A better explanation of “the place of a skull” would be that either the hill was bare rock, or it served as a cemetery.
Protestants choose the latter spot because the organization that owns the land has landscaped it to make it look like their idea of Joseph of Arimathea’s garden. Now, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a structure on top of a site. It is very much decorated and the scene of a lot of activity, and it requires one to have a good imagination to be able to see a garden tomb there.
Now, the results of my personal research leads me to break away from what tradition teaches, and lean upon on what I feel the Word-Of-God says about where Golgotha was actually located. I conclude, that Golgotha was not in the place of where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands, but was out of the city in what is known as Gordon’s Calvary, of course this being based upon what I read in the Bible (Heb.13:12; John 19:20; Matt. 27:39; Mark 15:21, 40; Luke 23:49).
Furthermore, the Gospels and tradition disagree as to where Golgotha is actually located. The Bible places the location outside the city and we read in Matt. 27:33 and Mark 15:29 that the crucifixion was on the public road.
Hello, my name is Meredith Miller. I am married to a beautiful woman named Elizabeth. We have four wonderful children and three fantastic grandchildren. I have a Doctorate in Theology and a Ph.D in Religion. I have been in the ministry for 30 years and a pastor for over nine years. I really enjoy life and the opportunities that I have had in trying to help others during difficult periods in their lives.
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