Garden Tomb or Holy Sepulcher?


#1

I’m planning to go to Jerusalem one day to see all the holy sites firsyt hand and take the memories and pictures home to my family… but I’m a little confused with all these debates over possible burial sites…

The Garden Tomb seems quite interesting, fits the description and is well preserved, but the Holy Sepulcher has the location, history and archaeological studies in it’s corner…

I’m fairly certain which one I think it was(the Sepulcher, I’ve read “The Tomb of Christ” by Martin Biddle and it’s quite convincing), but what do you guys think?

Perhaps I should just visit both when I go there one day…


#2

Sounds like the easiest option :yup:


#3

“…nearly all scholars maintain that the knowledge of the place was handed down by oral tradition, and that the correctness of this knowledge was proved by the investigations caused to be made in 326 by the Emperor Constantine, who then marked the site for future ages by erecting over the Tomb of Christ a basilica, in the place of which, according to an unbroken written tradition, now stands the church of the Holy Sepulchre.”

newadvent.org/cathen/07425a.htm

I suspect that the reason The Garden Tomb is so popular is that Protestants feel overwhelmed by the fact that the CC and EO have long since erected churches over other sacred places.

Here is an excellent site sacred-destinations.com/israel/jerusalem-church-of-holy-sepulchre.htm


#4

Yeah I have read “The Tomb of Christ” so I know about it, it was quite compelling reading which detailed exactly where the Holy Sepulcre is located(on well known old the site of Golgotha/Calvalry, which was outside the city in those times), why early christians immediatly took to it(even when they didn’t have archelogical evidence, they had their traditions), the other traditions behind it such as it’s look in the middle ages(and why it seems very “Crusades-style” like now), how it looked like when it was re-discovered by Constantine’s mother(and what she supposedly found inside the tomb, which we may still have today as “The shroud of Turin”), and how it looked like in 33AD. It’s a giant mound of evidence.

But you have to admit with the amount of restoration and work done to preserve the tomb, it has been altered many, many times(despite it’s structure remaining the same). I think you are right, this is probably why alot of modern Christians(Catholics included) have taken to “The Garden Tomb” instead.


#5

My pastor is a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. It is this spot, the church that was built over the place of the skull, where Christ was crucified and buried. This is historical fact. Even Protestants will recognize this fact, however it really isn’t a big issue with them.

The issue between the “Garden Tomb” and the “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” is due to the Reformation. The Garden Tomb is basically exactly how a tomb looked for rich people like Joseph of Arimethea. It also fits the description of the tomb of Jesus as given in Scripture. Also Protestants wanted their own “shrine”.

The Garden Tomb is excellent for seeing how the tomb of Jesus looked back in that day, that’s for sure…

But always remember the actual spots of Calvary and the Tomb are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. That is what people did back in the first three hundered years of Christianity. They did not preserve historical sites, they built churches over them.

Ken


#6

My pastor is a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. It is this spot, the church that was built over the place of the skull, where Christ was crucified and buried. This is historical fact. Even Protestants will recognize this fact, however it really isn’t a big issue with them.

The issue between the “Garden Tomb” and the “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” is due to the Reformation. The Garden Tomb is basically exactly how a tomb looked for rich people like Joseph of Arimethea. It also fits the description of the tomb of Jesus as given in Scripture. Also Protestants wanted their own “shrine”.

The Garden Tomb is excellent for seeing how the tomb of Jesus looked back in that day, that’s for sure…

But always remember the actual spots of Calvary and the Tomb are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. That is what people did back in the first three hundered years of Christianity. They did not preserve historical sites, they built churches over them.

Ken


#7

I say neither.

Here’s my belief: Jesus was crucified on the “Mount of Offense/Corruption”, that is, the “high place” just south of the Mount of Olives" - the “Mount of Offense” is the same place Solomon set up alters to false gods.

Why the “Mount of Offense”? Because it is just the place you would expect the non-believing Jews to execute a “false god” - Jesus.

The Jews considered Jesus to be a “corrupting, FALSE god”, and they still do. Also, it is only from the hills in the east, that is either the Mount of Olives or the Mount of Offense that one could see the Curtain in the Temple.

Jesus is God, but His People, the Jews, believe He is NOT. God was sacrificed at the place the FALSE gods were worshiped. This is just more of the beautiful paradoxes of Our Faith.


#8

I don’t think so, the bible says he was executed at Calvary(the place of the skull), which is where the sepulcher happens to be.

but to each his own.


#9

The only problem with your theory, other than the mountain of evidence in favor of the Holy Sepulchre, is that Jesus was not executed by the Jews. He was executed by the Romans.


#10

Like I said, this is my belief.

You don’t have to believe it, just like I don’t have to believe in the “official place”, as designated by the Church.

That doesn’t make me non-Catholic, just like if someone wants to believe in Medjugorja, THAT doesn’t make them non-Catholic.

You have your tradition, the Protestants have theirs, and I (we?) have mine (ours?).


#11

Yep, going to both is not a bad decision - maybe have a look at the Garden Tomb first and then finish at the Holy Sepulchre. It seems that it’s most likely that the Sepulchre is the actual place.

My memory of the Garden Tomb is that it was a little bit too well-preserved - it seemed a bit pretty, even artificial - whereas my lasting impression of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is that I was standing on holy ground. It was really quite moving.
(In spite of the hordes of tourists posing for photos beside the altar in the top level of the church, at the place where it’s said the Cross stood: “And this one, Mum, look, this is me and where Jesus was nailed up!”) If you can, get there before the tourists do - I think we got there one morning about 4.30, after walking through the empty marketplace, as the gates opened (on a side-note, someone told me that the gate-keeper, who lives on-site with his family, is a Muslim), so it was all quiet and still and peaceful… until a monk upstairs started ragged chanting at full volume.
See if you can get someone to show you around a bit too - we got to go down around the back where there’s an underground cavern filled with water, and also up the top to what were the monks’ living quarters I think. A guide who’s in the know is invaluable of course - as anywhere.


#12

You’ll hear many times as you travel through Israel, “This is where tradition says…” or “Many people believe this is where…” and you can get a bit jaded - you have to remember that, of course, the point is not to find the *actual *site of a particular event but to be lead, through the pilgrimage, closer to Christ, and one doesn’t need to know the actual site. Having said that, some places are more likely than others, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of those.

Thanks for the chance to reminisce! I could go on, it’s coming back to me… swimming in the Jordan (there was sign saying “Praying Area,” and “no swimming” icons, but I wasn’t going to go all that way and not swim in the River Jordan! In defence, we said that we thought the sign said “Playing Area” :thumbsup: ) the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, visiting Nazareth and Bethlehem, going for a jog around the walls of the Old City in the dusk, sitting next to centuries old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, tracing Christ’s footsteps through Jerusalem… it was a pretty special time for me. I’d love to go back.


#13

the Jews did not execute Jesus, the Romans did.


#14

The Garden Tomb is discovered by Gen. Charles Gordon in 1882-1883 during his stay in Jerusalem. He thought it fits the descriptions in the Gospels (Outside the city, has a garden with a new tomb, Place of the Skull).

Also, the infamous Biblical ‘Archeologist’ Ron Wyatt claimed to have found the Ark of the Covenant and the other utensils in the Temple within the hill in Gordon’s Calvary inside a narrow cave, though most, if not all of his ‘discoveries’ are disputed as false by many.

The question is, did that site look like as it was 2000 years ago or did time change it into something that resembles the Golgotha of the Gospels. At least, the location gives a nice idea how a Wealthy person’s Tomb might have looked like then.

Before that, it was unanimous that Christians believed that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the Golgotha of the Gospels.


#15

Hands down, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Garden Tomb dates to the 8th Century BCE; it’s not the “newly-hewn tomb” of Joseph of Arimithea. If I am going to lovingly visit a tomb to commemorate Lord, I would prefer the one His corpse most likely touched. (Otherwise, you might as easily commemorate his death in any random cemetary). No pretty scenery would be sufficient cause to abandon the probable tomb of Christ. Besides, Holy Sepulchre brings me in touch with 2,000 years of Christian pilgrimage, prayer, sacrifice, and tears.

In short: I would visit the site traditionally venerated by Christians for 20 centuries as the tomb of Christ, carrying the vast majority of archeological weight.


#16

Tradition? The Holy Sepulchre is tradition. It has nearly 2000 years of history as the place of the crucifixion and entombment. It was not “designated by the Church”, it has been accepted as the correct location by Christians since the first century and that is why the Church accepts it. The “garden tomb” idea has only been around for a comparitive blink of an eye. I don’t think calling it a “tradition” is really proper.


#17

I assume you mean B.C. since B.C.E. is anti-Christian, politically correct nonsense.


#18

Although I dislike it B.C.E. is what modern scholars have foisted on us and what has become common in scholarly discourse. I still use B.C. just because I don’t see a reason to change.

The Garden Tomb is a first temple tomb and there is no archeological evidence that it was ever reused during the first century A.D. I am not aware of any archeological evidence that shows the Garden Tomb might have been in use at the time of Christ’s crucifixion and death.


#19

I’ve heard that the Garden Tomb was chosen because it was outside the then current city walls, which the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was within-- since the Bible says Jesus was crucified and buried outside the city walls, it was concluded that the Holy Sepulchre couldn’t have been it. The main problem with this is that the city walls of the 1800s are not a reliable indicator of where the city walls of the first century were-- in fact, the Holy Sepulchre was outside of those walls.

But I just remember hearing this from a recent talk on the nonsense of the bones of Jesus, etc… that Discovery special. I’m open to correction.

-Rob


#20

Correct, Archelogical findings done during the last renovations proved beyond reasonable doubt the sepulcher was calved out of Rock in the early part of the first century(no surprise really), and the wall in question hadn’t been erected by that time, as it was completed sometime around when Rome sacked Jerusalem in 70AD. The inner 1st century wall, the one that the Sepulcher is outside of, however is a diffrent story.

It’s all in the fantastic book “The Tomb Of Christ”(Plugging not intended!! :thumbsup: )


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